Rickard found guilty, sentenced for 2019 murder
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A man accused of killing an elderly woman was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Thursday.
A Wichita County jury deliberated for under an hour before finding Byron Jack Rickard guilty of capital murder while remuneration in the death of Ruby Ditto, 91.
Ditto was found laying in her yard on the 200 block of N. Beverly on April 18, 2019, after a concerned neighbor called the police. She was rushed to the hospital but died the following Tuesday. An autopsy report concluded the cause of death was a blunt force trauma wound on Ditto’s head.
During the investigation, a neighbor reportedly told police a man she only knew as “BJ” had been helping Ditto clean up a property of hers. According to the neighbor, Ditto was allowing this man to stay in a trailer house on the property.
The neighbor allegedly told police she last saw Ditto talking with “BJ” in the yard. When she looked out her window, she couldn’t see either person, and Ditto’s truck was gone. 20 minutes later, the neighbor reportedly went outside and found Ditto lying on the ground bleeding from her head; the neighbor told officers that Ditto was also missing a fanny pack she used as a purse.
Officers were familiar with Rickard and went to his last known address in the 2100 block of Garfield, according to court documents, They reportedly caught up with Rickard in Ditto’s truck and her fanny pack was inside.
Rickard allegedly said he met Ditto the day before when he found a tree fallen over in her yard. He told officers he had begun cutting up the tree when Ditto came out of the home and told him she could not pay him for his work. Instead, she offered him a place to stay at an address in the 200 block of N. Beverly, which was one of her rental properties. Rickard said he stayed the night there on Saturday and woke up on Sunday and began doing work around the property.
Rickard said Ditto brought him lunch sometime around 11 a.m. He then allegedly told detectives after lunch he borrowed Ditto’s truck to go to his old residence on Garfield to get more of his belongings around noon and never returned.
A photo lineup was shown to the neighbor with a photo of Rickard. She allegedly identified Rickard as the person she saw with Ditto but said she was only 80% sure.
Officers reportedly found suspected blood spatter on the side and seat portion of the driver seat, steering wheel and inside panel of the driver’s door. A presumptive test was positive for blood, according to police.
An affidavit states Rickard and his legal team expressed back in 2019 that he was “incompetent to stand trial.”
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