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Troubled inmate judged unfit to face charges

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mark Ford
A Salem man, who faces charges of attacking his girlfriend and a Sheriff's Deputy, has been ruled mentally unfit, for now, to stand trial on the charges against him.

Mark Ford, 23, was arrested in October of 2010, after he allegedly critically injured his girlfriend, by stabbing her numerous times.

Ford also suffered serious injuries from a self-inflicted knife wound during the incident at West Side Apartments.

Ford was charged with Domestic Battery in the First Degree.

On May 4, Judge Tim Weaver signed a "Not Fit to Proceed" Commitment Order in Ford's case.

According to the order, a mental health evaluation performed by Health Resources of Arkansas "determined that the defendant lacks the fitness to proceed at this time."

Judge Weaver suspended the proceedings against Ford and committed him "to the custody of the Department of Human Services for detention, care and treatment until restoration of fitness to proceed."

Despite the order, Ford has remained in the Fulton County Jail awaiting space in a state mental health facility.

On Monday, May 16, Sheriff Foley was hopeful that Ford would be placed this week at a facility where he can receive the professional help he needs

Ford has been in jail since October 23, 2010 but was charged with new violations in March and April.

On March 24, Ford was charged with having a weapon in the Fulton County Jail after a razor blade was found in his cell.

On April 12, Judge Tim Weaver ordered Ford removed from his courtroom, after Ford talked back to Weaver when the judge chastized him for laughing in the courtroom.

Told he was facing additional jail time for Contempt of Court, Ford said, "I don't care," several times, as the judge raised his time to serve from 90 days to 120 days to six months.

After being returned to jail, Ford allegedly attacked Deputy William Fawcett when his handcuffs were removed.

Fawcett received minor injuries in the scuffle and Ford was charged with assault.

Under the commitment order, the Department of Human Resources is to notify the court if Ford "regains his fitness to proceed."

After 10 months, the state is to report on whether, "The defendant's mental disease or defect is of a nature precluding restoration of fitness to proceed..." and whether, "The defendant presents a danger to himself or to the person or property of others."

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