Ford says negligence, police claim intent

Tyler Murphy

Take a look at the differences of each and see how this murder case has evolved. Evidence now contradicts nearly everything the defendant originally claimed. Both the prosecution and the defense have declared their intent to settle the facts of the case at trial. A jury may have to decide the ultimate truth of the tragedy. Even more developments are pending as a number of sources speculate motive and police continue their search for evidence of sexual violence. None has yet been found … or police have decided not to release it. Time will tell all, but this is what has been acknowledged thus far.

Sources: Ford’s version comes directly from a copy of his officially signed statement given to police and the police version of events comes from a press release and conference held by the Sheriff along with old court testimony.

Statements Ford made following his arrest.

“My wife and I were at a party and I went home.”

“I picked up Jim Somers’ daughter from her house to baby-sit so my wife and I could go back to the party. When my wife got home, she decided not to go back to the party, so I was taking the girl back home. I don’t remember the girl’s name right now, but she is about 13-years-old. She lives about 3/4 to a half mile away from me on State Route 26.

“We were in my truck and talking about the horses that I own. I decided to take her to see them. I board the horses in a pasture on Warner Road that Chris Frantz owns. The pasture is about 3/4 to half a mile from State Route 26. The girl was in the front passenger seat of my truck.”

“We weren’t able to see the horses. I was driving in the road near the pasture and she got out. She was trying to see the horses. I was driving in the road and she was walking on the side of the road. As we were going up the hill, I got stuck in the loose stone. I told her to move so I could turn. I started making a K-turn in the road. There’s a spot up from the pasture that is just wide enough to turn around in.

“ I got stuck again, so I got out to lock in my hubs for four wheel drive. I got out of the truck and when I got to the front, I saw her under the front left driver side tire. I got back in the truck and pulled it forward to get off her. I pulled forward, got out and pulled her out of the way.”

Ford continues to tell investigators he did not put any new socks or underwear and that he left with Somers at “right about midnight.” He also denied any sexual related activity of any kind.

“I pulled in the wrong spot next door. I thought the Hospital driveway was just a driveway, so I made a right onto the next street. I turned around in the parking lot of some kind of medical building. Then I made a left into the hospital parking lot. I made a left in the lot and went around the back. I realized it was the wrong place, so I looped around the back and came back out front.”

What police reported in court.

The story told at Ford’s pretrial hearing by investigators citing their forensic evidence and interviews with the defendant. These are not Ford’s words directly, but investigators testifying as to what he told them.

Ford returned home Saturday evening at around 10:30 p.m. to change clothes. Ford planned on returning to a graduation party he’d been attending all afternoon where his wife and young child still were but wanted to put his child to bed because it was getting late. Before leaving his home he asked his neighbors, the mother of the victim first and then the daughter, if they could baby-sit for him. The young girl agreed and went back with Ford.

Ford’s wife unexpectedly returned home in a separate vehicle with their child and decided she wanted to stay. Ford then allegedly decided to take Somers back home from his seasonal residence on Rt. 26 in South Otselic at approximately 11:30 p.m.

On the way to take Somers home, Ford stopped along Will Warner Road to allow the girl to visit the horses, who police acknowledged she was fond of. Somers got out of the truck to see the horses and walked along the road with the truck running along side her. Unable to see any of the animals, Ford drove up the road to turn around and got it stuck; during the course of these maneuvers he struck and killed the girl with his front bumper and tire.

Police testified the defendant acknowledged himself to be an “ aggressive, crazy driver who liked to peal out and rev his engine.”

While the alleged accident took place Saturday night around midnight, the victim wasn’t transported to the hospital until five hours later at 5 a.m. Sunday.

“He said he was unable to get the victim in his vehicle because of her physical condition, he was too upset to move or touch the body because of the severity of the injuries,” testified Sheriff’s Lt James E. Lloyd.

Ford also claimed he got lost while driving the victim to the hospital, some time later. The drive from the area of the accident to Chenango Memorial Hospital, where Ford eventually took the body around 4:55 a.m., is roughly a 45 minute plus drive from the area.

Police said a few differences in the accounts raised their concern, such as the girl actually being killed nearly 50 yards up a steep hill from the horse fence. Also no phone call had been placed even though Ford’s residence was close by and has a working telephone. Both the defendant and girl where barefoot.

The autopsy conducted by Dr. James Terzian said the girl in all likelihood died quickly from multiple fractures across her body including the skull, sternum, and a number of ribs, in general the body and several internal organs suffered massive hemorrhaging.

No evidence of sexual abuse had been found.

The Sheriff bringing more to light following the indictment

“Contrary to the defendant’s story, he did not take the girl home. Instead the GPS shows his vehicle driving around the back roads for a while before ending up behind an abandoned farm house about a mile and a half from the place where she was run over. And it remained there for nearly three hours,” said Loughren. The house is remote enough from other local residents, surrounded country.

Police said that according to the GPS, Ford’s truck never stopped at the spot where Somers was killed until 3:20 a.m., over three hours later than what Ford told investigators. Police also said Ford’s vehicle only remained at the scene of the incident for several minutes before leaving.

“He had no idea that the GPS was in his truck. I placed it there because George was having an affair. He didn’t know about it until after he took the girl to the hospital,” said Ford’s wife, Cindy.

The information taken from the GPS contradicted nearly all of Ford’s statement given to police and shows his vehicle parked behind an abandoned house for over three hours. During that three hour period police said the 12-year-old victim, Shyanne A. Somers, may have escaped from Ford. Police believe she fled the scene and she was pursued by Ford in his pick-up truck and that he deliberately ran her over at around 3:20 a.m.

Ford appeared at Chenango Memorial Hospital at 5 a.m. that same day and told police he had accidentally run over the girl while showing her his horses. He also told police the accident happened around midnight and he was too shocked by the condition of her body to move it. He also reported he became disoriented and lost on his trip to the hospital.

Police also reported that both the GPS and forensic evidence showed Ford’s truck coming down the Will Warner Road towards the victim’s home. Police allege that Ford may have pursued the girl in his truck and drove over her up onto the bank. “There is no evidence at all to show that the truck was traveling up the hill as the defendant stated,” said Loughren.

Investigators then reported that Ford’s truck traveled to Georgetown, turned around, came back down to Otselic Valley, then traveled on Rt. 80 eventually ending up in Sherburne, following the incident. The vehicle then drove to Norwich right past Chenango Memorial Hospital along Rt. 12, and drove around the downtown city for several minutes before returning to the hospital.

No clear motive has yet been established, but investigators are still looking at the scene behind the abandoned house and waiting for further results from the rape kit and other forensic evidence.

Police said Ford tested positive for traces of cocaine in his blood and that he admitted to drinking some beers and shots at a party the day of the murder. After arriving at the hospital, police also found a bag of marijuana in Ford’s truck.