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Lyon-DeWitt to be paid for officer's funeral

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By Calen McKinney

The late David Ford's funeral will be paid for out of his insurance proceeds, but what will be done with the rest of the money has yet to be determined.

In May, a judge dismissed the insurance company from a lawsuit it filed asking for a decision as to what should be done with Ford's policy. As a result, $40,000 was deposited with the Taylor Circuit Court to be kept until a decision is made as to who gets the money.

On Sept. 17, Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram signed an order directing that $10,057.50 in funeral expenses be paid to Lyon DeWitt Funeral Home out of the $40,000. The order was entered into court records Sept. 25.

The order denies Lyon DeWitt's request for $3,899.27 in interest, should the Fords in the case be awarded as Officer's Ford's beneficiaries. If Tonya Ford is named the beneficiary, the order states, Lyon DeWitt can ask again for that interest.

Local attorney David Nunery, who is representing Lyon DeWitt in the lawsuit, said he believes the order unofficially finalizes the lawsuit. However, he said, since Ford's wife, Tonya Ford, has been convicted of murdering him but has filed an appeal of her prison sentence, there could be more action in the case if she wins her appeal.

Louisville attorneys P. Douglas Barr and Brad S. Keeton filed a complaint on behalf of Connecticut-based United Healthcare Insurance Co. on Sept. 14, 2011, in Taylor Circuit Court.

Named as defendants are Tonya Simpson Ford of Roland Street in Campbellsville, Ashley Simpson, who is the guardian of A.F., a minor child of Officer Ford's; Darrell Ford, who served as administrator of Officer Ford's estate; David A. Ford, Bryan C. Ford, Adam J. Ford and Lyon-DeWitt Funeral Home of East Main Street in Campbellsville.

According to the complaint, David Ford, who served as a police officer in Lebanon, had a $20,000 life insurance policy with UHIC. Tonya Ford was listed as the beneficiary. An additional $20,000 in accidental death coverage brings Officer Ford's policy to $40,000.

After Officer Ford's death, according to the complaint, Tonya Ford assigned $10,057.50 of the $40,000 to go to Lyon-DeWitt as payment for funeral expenses.

In March 2009, shortly after Officer Ford's death on Feb. 10, 2009, Ford submitted a request to receive her husband's remaining insurance proceeds.

Shortly after the company began its investigation into that request, the complaint states, it found Ford was considered a person of interest in her husband's death.

The complaint states that Kentucky law says anyone convicted of killing their spouse can't receive that spouse's insurance benefits.

Ford was charged with committing the murder and a jury found her guilty of the crime in August 2012. She was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison. An appeal of that sentence is pending with the Kentucky Supreme Court. She is expected to be incarcerated until at least May 7, 2032, though she will be eligible for parole on Aug. 1, 2029.

Local attorneys David Nunery and Casey Call filed a response and counterclaim to the complaint on Sept. 28, 2011, on Lyon-DeWitt Funeral Home's behalf asking to be paid for Officer Ford's funeral. They claim Ford implied with her signature that the cost would be paid out of her husband's insurance policy.

On Tuesday, Nunery said he expects that the remaining $29,942.50 in Officer Ford's policy will go to his heirs and likely not his wife.

Nunery said Lyon DeWitt's interest in the case has concluded and now those still involved will have to wait until Ford's appeal is decided to know who will receive that money.

If Ford's appeal is successful, Nunery said, a decision will have to be made as to whether she is entitled to the policy.

Local attorney Jon Hieneman, who Bertram appointed to represent Tonya Ford in the case, declined to comment for this story.

Phone calls to Keeton and local attorney Bryan Bennett, who is representing the Fords in the case, weren't returned before press time.

The case is set for a case management conference on Jan. 21.