Tonya Ford’s story won’t be broadcast for millions of television viewers just yet.
Originally set to air on Sunday, an episode of “Snapped,” a crime documentary television show that airs on the Oxygen network, featuring Ford is now set to air on Jan. 20.
Ford, 39, was accused of shooting and killing her husband, Lebanon Police Officer David Ford, on Feb. 10, 2009. She pleaded not guilty in November 2010.
Ford’s trial began Aug. 20 in Taylor Circuit Court. After hearing opening and closing statements and from several witnesses, jurors spent 12 hours deliberating Ford’s guilt. After deliberating for about five minutes, jurors recommended that she spend 20 years in prison for her crime, which she is now serving.
Ford has maintained her innocence and an appeal is pending in her case at the Kentucky Supreme Court. Since murder is a violent crime, Ford will serve 85 percent of her prison sentence, about 17 years, before being eligible for parole. The episode about Ford will feature interviews with prosecutors, investigators, police officers, friends and family members. Ford was not interviewed.
According to show producers, the episode is now slated to begin during the show’s next season.
Sharon Martin, supervising producer of “Snapped” and narrator of the show, said the network considered the show’s schedule through the Christmas holiday and executives opted to hold the episode until the start of the show’s 10th season.
Martin said executives say the Jan. 20 date is firm. The show will begin at 9 p.m. She said the Ford case was chosen for “Snapped” because of the nature of the allegations.
“We saw it as a case that would interest our viewers,” Martin said. “She was a scorned wife accused of killing her husband who had left her for another woman. The investigation into her alibi and the long journey to bring her to trial made it a strong episode.” Each episode of “Snapped” profiles the case of a woman who has been accused of a violent crime. “Snapped is a documentary show detailing the cases of women accused of murder. The show explores the woman’s life, the crime she’s accused of and the aftermath. With interviews from the key players in each case, each episode asks the questions did she do it? And if so, why? For viewers, it’s a glimpse into what drives an ordinary woman to commit a crime,” Martin said.
Officer Ford, 40, was found shot to death in the head at his Graham Road home in Campbellsville.
Tonya Ford called the Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911 Center and said she had arrived at the home and found that her husband had been shot.
Taylor County Coroner Terry Dabney said in 2009 that an autopsy confirmed Officer Ford’s death as a homicide.
A year and a half after Officer Ford’s death, on Oct. 19, 2010, a Taylor County grand jury convened in special session to hear from 17 witnesses and then issued an indictment charging Tonya Ford with murder. She was arrested the following day.
She was released from the Taylor County Detention Center on Nov. 9, 2010, after family members posted a $30,000 cash bond. She remained free on bond until her conviction.
Mindy Yarberry, a former field producer for Jupiter Entertainment, the company that produces “Snapped,” filmed Ford’s trial for inclusion in her episode.
Following the trial, Yarberry and two other Jupiter Entertainment crew members, Paul Foster, director of photography, and Christopher Gurney, location sound technician, spent several days in Campbellsville. The three did several interviews and filmed several locations in Campbellsville and surrounding towns.
After filming was complete, Martin said, Jupiter Entertainment’s post-production team combined interviews with trial footage and other materials to create the episode.
“It is complete and has been delivered to the network,” Martin said.
“Snapped” premiered in 2004 and is currently airing its ninth season. Several seasons are available for purchase on DVD.
According to the show’s website, oxygen.com/tvshows/snapped, about 16,000 people are killed each year in the United States. Seven percent of killers are female.
Wise scheduled for ‘Snapped’ episode in June
Tonya Ford won’t be the only Campbellsville woman featured on “Snapped.”
Kathleen Wise, who admitted to killing her husband, will be featured in an episode next summer.
Wise, 61, formerly of 4203 Bengal Road in Campbellsville, is serving life in prison after a jury found her guilty during a one-day trial in July. Jurors unanimously agreed that Wise killed her husband, Joseph Kenneth Wise, with a morphine overdose.
Though she received a life sentence, Wise will be eligible to appear before a parole board after serving 20 years of her sentence. She will be 81.
Donna Dudek, a supervision producer for “Snapped,” said the case was chosen for an episode of “Snapped” because Wise is a seemingly ordinary woman who was accused of committing a violent crime.
“We believe our viewers — the majority of whom are women — watch our show because they want to understand how seemingly ordinary people can end up accused of extraordinary crimes.
“With that in mind, we choose the cases of women like Kathleen Wise, who was not a career criminal, but could represent any one of our viewers, or their mothers, sisters, friends or neighbors.
Our goal is to try to understand both what problems may have led her to that ‘Snapped’ moment, and why she chose such a horrific way to solve them.”
Filming for Wise’s episode will begin next month. Dudek said a field producer will travel to Campbellsville and interview people who were involved in the case, from prosecutors to family members to witnesses and friends, to give insight into the Wises’ lives and relationship.
“While in the field, the producer will also scan photographs, collect court and police documents and shoot video of the locations involved in the case,” Dudek said. “Right now, we have a field producer tentatively scheduled to be in the Campbellsville area starting the week of January 21.” Though no specific date has been set, Dudek said Wise’s episode is tentatively planned to air in June.
Wise was indicted in July 2011 by a Taylor County grand jury and charged with the first-degree murder of her husband. She pleaded not guilty to the crime. The prosecution did not seek the death penalty.
According to witness testimony, Wise admitted that she put liquid morphine into her husband’s drinking water on June 7, 2011. He died the following day. Wise had denied killing her husband, however, throughout her trial.
Wise is a former registered nurse at Medco Nursing Home, now named Campbellsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
The criminal charge against Wise stemmed from a toxicology investigation into her husband’s death. Mr. Wise died from a supposed heart attack. Routine toxicology tests, however, revealed he consumed a fatal dose of morphine.
Court records state that a toxicology report found 5,738 ng/ml of morphine in his blood and 1,359 ng/ml in his urine. Normal therapeutic ranges, according to court records, are from 10 to 80 ng/ml.
Butler made a motion to suppress a conversation during which Wise confessed to putting morphine in her husband’s water, which Taylor County Circuit Court Judge Dan Kelly denied.
Wise’s case is currently on appeal at the Kentucky Supreme Court.