ANGOLA — An Angola man who was found incompetent to stand trial after trying to kill his wife has died in a state mental institution.
Samuel Albert Ford, 89, died of apparent natural causes at the Evansville State Hospital where he had been placed after having been ruled incompetent to assist in his defense at trial in 2019, said Steuben County Prosecutor Jeremy Musser.
Ford was charged with attempted murder, a Level 1 felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison, for shooting his wife three times in their Angola home on Aug. 31, 2017.
On Monday, Steuben Circuit Court Judge Allen Wheat granted a motion by Musser to dismiss the case due to the fact that Ford had died.
In a second competency proceeding, Wheat determined Ford did not fully comprehend the charges against him.
“He was found incompetent to stand trial on April 15, 2019, and never regained competency,” Musser said.
On Aug. 31, 2017, Angola Police officers and Steuben County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who had heard loud bangs in the neighboring duplex.
When officers arrived on the scene in the 1500 block of Henney Street shortly before 2:30 p.m., they found an 81-year-old woman sitting on a chair inside the house, bleeding from her head, neck and face, say court documents. Investigators found a .380-caliber handgun on the kitchen counter and blood nearby.
The woman was able to answer questions by the police before she was taken to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola the Parkview Medical Center in Fort Wayne. The woman was able to attend hearings in the matter, and during one of the competency hearings asked that the procedures move as quickly as possible.
Ford was lodged in the Steuben County Jail, where he remained until he was transferred to Evansville State Hospital.
After Ford was determined not to be competent to stand trial, Wheat ordered he be held at Evansville. Regular checks have been made to determine if he was able to stand trial, but that has never occurred, court records said.