Jurors deliberated for more than two hours before finding Ford guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a young child, the highest level charge submitted to the jury.
During the punishment phase of trial, the defense introduced evidence that the defendant had served for eight years in the United States Army and had received numerous commendations and medals.
“At the end of the day, while his service in the army was admirable, what he did to this little girl was deplorable and deserving of a severe sentence,” Swain said.
During closing arguments on punishment, Swain asked jurors to compare their earliest childhood memories and first sexual experiences with those that the victim will have to live with for the rest of her life.
Jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning with a 37-year prison sentence.
“Since there is no parole allowed for this kind of offense, Ford will not be released from prison until 2049,” said District Attorney Don Schnebly. “We appreciate the jury’s work on this case and the strong message that they sent on behalf of our community.”