BLACKFOOT – A 26-year-old man was sentenced on Monday after he admitted to stabbing his father to death.
Kayden Neale Ford was sentenced by District Judge Darren Simpson to 25 years to life in prison.
Ford initially pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder but accepted a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead guilty, and the prosecution agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 25 years fixed with life indeterminate.
Ford will now be required to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before being considered for parole by the parole board.
According to a news release from Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Jolley, during sentencing, the prosecution recommended a sentence of a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison, while Ford represented himself and recommended a sentence of a minimum of 10 years in prison with no maximum recommendation.
“As Bingham County’s prosecuting attorney, I would again like to thank all the law enforcement involved in this investigation for their professionalism and hard work,” said Jolley in the news release. “I would also like to extend my condolences to the victim’s family and all those impacted by Mr. Ford’s actions.”
“I felt like impending doom was coming down on me.”
During sentencing, Ford’s attorney, Dennis Wilkinson, started to advocate for Ford, saying that Ford “understands what this loss means” in regard to the death of his father.
“We made the case throughout that Kayden was going through some mental health episodes,” said Wilkinson.
Ford then interrupted his own counsel to disagree with those statements and asked Simpson if he could instead represent himself.
“I disagree,” said Ford. “This is the problem I was having last time with things that were making me look guilty, and things that would incriminate myself and make myself look worse to the courtroom. I wasn’t trying to lie or anything, but I needed to get my feelings across in the way that I feel appropriate, so that I wouldn’t be judged. I’m not a mental case, and I would just like to go back to representing myself.”
Simpson allowed Ford to represent himself for the rest of the sentencing hearing.
The prosecution, led by Jolley, said that the case did involve mental health struggles, but that a man was still dead because of Ford’s actions.
“One thing has been clear as a result of the evaluations, is that the defendant is competent to proceed, and he did know what he was doing on the date when he stabbed his father to death,” said Jolley. “The defendant stabbed his father approximately 23 times, and those wounds were everywhere from his head, the front and back of his neck, his face, his lips, his upper back, his upper and lower chest, his ribs, his shoulders, his arms, and his wrist.”
Ford then was given another opportunity to speak. He said he did not run after the murder to get away from police, but because he was overwhelmed.
“When I fled the crime scene, it wasn’t in a, trying to get away from the crime scene necessarily, I was just overwhelmed and anxious,” said Ford. “I felt like impending doom was coming down on me, and that if somebody found out what had happened, that I had no control over it really, to tell you the truth. I felt like I would go to jail for a really long time.”
Ford then described the entire day of the murder, saying that he was worried that he would “look really guilty” after he left the crime scene.
“Nobody listened to me, so by the time I got hit by the car, they had already called the cops on me,” said Ford. “They were on their way already, and it made me look really guilty that I tried to get away from the house for a minute.”
He then advocated for a lighter sentence, noting his fear of being in prison for a long time.
“If I do get locked up for a long time, I want to make sure that I go, and I study and I stay busy there,” said Ford. “I was trying to point out that the fights I got in while I was locked up was because I was overwhelmed about the case.”
He ended by telling the judge that he believed the murder to have been in self-defense.
“I don’t really have too much more to say, but I just wanted to admit that I wasn’t on drugs, and the gun was visible to me, and that’s what provoked me to killing him,” said Ford.
Before pronouncing sentence, Simpson addressed Ford, bringing up the fact that Ford decided to represent himself last minute.
“I know there’s been a lot of disagreement, even here today, watching people’s reactions to you representing yourself,” said Simpson. “It’s rarely a good thing for a person to come in, in a criminal case, and defend themselves, but that’s what you’ve elected to do.”
Simpson finished by saying that it is clear that Ford has mental health issues and ultimately made the wrong decision that day.
“Your dad had substance abuse issues of his own. I’m not denying that he was abusive,” said Simpson. “But the fact remains, that even if he threatened you, you could’ve walked out the door.”
Background of the case
On March 19, 2020, around 7:15 a.m., Bingham County deputies were called to a camp trailer near Base Line Road in Shelley after Ford reportedly jumped in front of a moving car.
When they arrived, deputies discovered Ford had been struck by a car driven by Andrea Jolley. The sheriff’s office says it appeared Ford had run into the roadway and wanted to be hit by the vehicle.
Just 13 minutes later, family members found Joshua dead under a sleeping bag with a large stab wound in his chest.
Later, officers found a large black-handled kitchen knife covered in blood near Joshua’s body on the ground.
According to documents, Ford told officers at the hospital that he didn’t remember what happened but said he and his father had an argument the night before the stabbing. He also admitted to being in the camper that morning.
Deputies noted a lot of blood spatter on Ford’s face and head.
Later, deputies spoke to a witness who had reportedly been in contact with Ford before Joshua’s death. She allegedly told them that Ford said he’d been arguing with Joshua over smoking in the house, their living arrangements and wrecking a vehicle.
Ford was booked into the Bingham County Jail on a $1 million bond, where he continued to face trouble.
Ford’s other charges while in jail
While in jail, Ford was charged with three felony counts of battery on jailers, felony attempting to remove a gun from a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor resisting.
The charges stem from three separate attacks between March 2020 and June 2021.
The first attack occurred when Bingham County deputies had to take Ford to Bingham Memorial Hospital on March 24 for medical clearance before receiving an evaluation.
According to court documents, while at the hospital, Ford needed to give a urine sample. That’s when Ford grabbed a deputy’s gun. The deputy quickly yelled, “He’s got my gun!” as he prevented it from being removed from a holster.
Another deputy jumped on Ford during the struggle over the gun. One deputy used a Taser to subdue the inmate, but not without an injury to the deputy’s hand.
A few weeks later, on April 3, deputies removed Ford from his cell for medical staff to check on him. While removing him from the cell, deputies say Ford tried to land a punch and deputies took him to the ground. During a scuffle on the ground, Ford is accused of hitting one deputy on the head three times with a closed fist before they could gain control of him.
The latest incident happened June 13, 2021, when Ford allegedly attacked a jailer doing a routine patrol in his jail pod.