Prosecution Claims Sexual Abuse In Murder Case, Judge Rules They Lack Evidence
Published: February 4th, 2009
By: Tyler Murphy

Prosecution claims sexual abuse in murder case, judge rules they lack evidence

UPDATE: The George Ford murder trial was adjourned today until Monday, to give the defense the opportunity to review new GPS evidence.

NORWICH – Transcripts released Tuesday from the George Ford Jr. murder trial included the hushed debates of attorneys that shed more light on the judge’s decision not to allow allegations of a sex crime into the courtroom.

Ford, 43, of Piscataway, N.J., is charged with the July 2007 murder of 12-year-old Shyanne Somers of Otselic, who was his baby-sitter. Ford waived his right to a jury trial and requested to have the case decided solely by the judge in a bench trial instead.

Presiding Broome County Court Judge Joseph F. Cawley called the two attorneys to the bench after defense attorney Randel Scharf of Cooperstown objected to District Attorney Joseph A. McBride’s line of questioning on the very first witness called Monday – the victim’s father, James Somers.

In his opening statement to the court, McBride alluded to something happening between Ford and the young girl while the two were allegedly at an abandoned house on Will Warner Road on the night of the incident. McBride claimed Somers ran from Ford in the early hours of July 8, 2007, but did not say for what reason. He claimed Ford pursued the girl, eventually killing her because “he did not want to go back to prison.”

In a hearing before the trial, McBride revealed that Ford had served time in Arizona State Prison in the early 1990s for a drug felony.

“At the seasonal residence at 3 a.m., for three hours, during that time he was doing something inappropriate with this young girl,” McBride said in his opening remarks.

McBride had asked Mr. Somers if he had talks with his daughter about inappropriate touching, inquiring if she had been told what “good-touch, bad-touch” was. The question was immediately objected to by Scharf, who told the court, “There isn’t a single stitch or thread of evidence that any sexual abuse took place.”

Cawley called the two attorneys to the bench to hear their follow-up arguments.


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