NORWICH – An expert witness plotted the path accused murderer George Ford Jr.’s truck took on the night of his babysitter’s death in exacting detail in Chenango County Court Monday.
In a two-hour demonstration, District Attorney Joseph A. McBride had Steven Moehling, vice president of Land Air Sea Systems, the company which made the GPS in Ford’s truck, describe in detail the speed, altitude, location and stops recorded by the tracking device. The court watched the recordings made from 10:49 p.m. on July 7, 2007 to 10:27 a.m. on July 8, 2007, the night 12-year-old Shyanne Somers died.
On a projector screen displaying a clock, speedometer and maps, Broome County Court Judge Joseph Cawley watched the GPS tick by at one-second intervals in the four hours leading up to the incident and then the following 90-minute trip to Chenango Memorial Hospital.
It is during this span of time the prosecution claims 43-year-old Ford murdered his neighbor’s daughter, who was supposed to be baby-sitting for him.
Ford claims the incident was a tragic accident, but police investigators disagreed after discovering a key piece of evidence that contradicted his whole story – a GPS tracking unit placed in the truck by Ford’s suspicious wife. The device allegedly traced Ford’s exact route on the night in question and was in the back seat of his truck.
Moehling said that after lingering in the victim’s driveway for seven minutes, the ‘tracking key’ shows Ford’s first stop after picking up Somers was not at his residence, but over a mile in the opposite direction. The truck then came to a rest at an empty parcel of open field along Pleasant Valley Road. The truck stayed at the property owned by Ford for 3 minutes, 42 seconds at 11:20 p.m. The truck then returned to Ford’s residence by 11:40 p.m., where it sat for 11 minutes, 47 seconds.
This is when Ford’s wife, Cindy, testified that she decided against returning to the graduation party the couple was attending and instead went to bed. According to Cindy, George Ford then left to take Shyanne home. She also noted that it was not uncommon for her husband to remain out all night and that the couple’s relationship had become “estranged.”