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  1. #1
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    Capital Murder Trial Begins for Melinda Muniz in 2014 TX Murder of Two-Year-Old Grace Ford


    Melinda Lynn Muniz, 25, allegedly lied when she told investigators an intruder attacked her fiancé’s 2-year-old daughter before she was arrested for the murder.


    An autopsy determined that 2-year-old Grace Lillian Ford died from being suffocated. Her father’s fiancée, Melinda Lynn Muniz, was later arrested for the murder.


    Slain Plano toddler's mom speaks out about accused killer

    By SHON GABLES
    WFAA

    PLANO — Mitch Ford, the father of slain two-year-old Grace Ford, went to the Collin County jail Wednesday night to visit his fiancée, Melinda Muniz. She is accused of capital murder in Grace's death.

    Speaking to News 8 earlier Wednesday, Ford was emotional, and told us he felt Muniz had been lying to him during their entire relationship. He said it was his fault he had fallen for it.

    Ford's ex-wife and Grace's mother, Emily Ward, is talking only to News 8. While she admits she was not the perfect mother, she said there was a bitter custody battle over Grace.

    Now Ward is suffering.

    "I don't deserve any more heartache," she said, while still managing a smile. She attributes it to her faith in God, and the hope that she can one day forgive the woman accused of killing her daughter.

    "I'm going to have to do it — not because she deserves forgiveness, but because I deserve peace," Ward said.

    Ward said since 2012, she and ex-husband Mitch Ford fought bitterly over his fiancée, Melinda Muniz. Ward claims Muniz had been abusing Grace. She said Ford refused to listen.

    "He has eyes; he can see what was going on," Ward said.

    Since 2012, Child Protective Services investigated four allegations of child abuse involving Grace; two were for physical abuse, two for neglect.

    Ward claims that in one case, Grace suffered bruises to her ears, arms and legs.

    On Halloween night, Ward said CPS was called to another scare after Grace was admitted to the hospital for a Benadryl overdose.

    Then in December, Ward said CPS was summoned to investigate bruises on Grace's arms. CPS told News 8 in each case the allegations were either ruled out or agents were unable to substantiate them.

    "We have to look at all the facts," said CPS spokeswoman Shari Pulliam. "We need to go back and see what we could have done better; what we did wrong, correct it next time."

    Ward said on January 9 — when her daughter was found unconscious inside a Plano apartment with her mouth duct-taped — she instantly suspected Muniz.

    "I knew right away it was Melinda that did it, and I was saying that from the beginning," Ward said, adding that she never believed Muniz or her daughter had been assaulted by strangers.

    Ward said she is happy to know Muniz has been charged with Grace's murder.

    "The death penalty? I don't think we have the right to play God and take someone's life, even though she took my baby's life," Ward said. "I also feel like the death penalty would be too easy."

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Slain...242693181.html

  2. #2
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    TEXAS WOMEN KILLED FINANCES TODDLER, LIED ABOUT ATTACK

    BY JOE KEMP / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Melinda Lynn Muniz, 25, initially told cops an intruder attacked her and killed 2-year-old Grace Lillian Ford after the woman was found tied up inside the Plano home on Jan. 9, according to reports. But cops allegedly found surveillance video showing the woman took the toddler to a dollar store, where she bought the supplies needed to commit the murder and cover up the crime.

    A Texas woman was arrested for killing her fiancé’s 2-year-old daughter after cops found a surveillance video showing her buy the supplies needed to commit the sickening murder — during a shopping trip with her tiny victim.

    Melinda Lynn Muniz, 25, initially told police that an intruder attacked her and little Grace Lillian Ford after the woman was found tied up with her pants down inside her fiancé’s Plano home on Jan. 12, the Dallas Morning News reported.

    Grace, her mouth covered in duct tape, was lying unconscious in her crib. She was rushed to a hospital, but could not be saved.

    An autopsy determined that 2-year-old Grace Lillian Ford died from being suffocated. Her father’s fiancée, Melinda Lynn Muniz, was later arrested for the murder.

    The child’s death was ruled a homicide days later, after a medical examiner determined she was suffocated.

    Muniz told investigators that the suspect — who she described as having dark hair, black gloves and black boots — sexually assaulted her during the attack, but the evidence didn’t support her claim, KTVT reported.

    After speaking to Grace’s father, Mitch Ford, police learned the couple — who were engaged in December — had a fight that morning and that Muniz was told to move out of the home in the Eastside Villages Apartment complex, KDFW-TV reported.

    Grace Lillian Ford, 2 died days after she was found unconscious in her crib on Jan. 9.

    Police retraced Muniz’s steps before the alleged attack and found that she took the little girl to a nearby dollar store, where the woman was captured on a security camera buying several disturbing items: duct tape, zip ties, kitchen shears and cotton swabs.

    “She took the child with her to purchase the items that she was going to use during the commission of the crime,” Plano police spokesman David Tilley told WFAA-TV. “Clearly premeditated.”

    Once cops had enough evidence to prove Muniz staged the crime scene, they made the collar.

    Muniz was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail after she was charged with the murder on Tuesday.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz2rtA152Hf
    Last edited by Helen69; 01-31-2014 at 11:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Death penalty off the table in duct tape murder case

    The state of Texas will not seek the death penalty for the woman accused of killing her fiancé's daughter with duct tape.

    Collin Count First Assistant District Attorney Bill Dobiyanski confirmed the decision, but would not answer questions about it.

    Melinda Muniz, 25, is charged with capital murder for the death of 2-year-old Grace Ford.

    She allegedly suffocated the little girl by covering her face with duct tape.

    Police said Muniz staged the Plano apartment she shared with Grace's father to make it look like she and Grace were attacked.

    Store surveillance shows her buying the duct tape less than an hour before the phony attack, police said.

    Family members said Grace's father had broken up with Muniz earlier that day.

    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/258898...pe-murder-case
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  4. #4
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    Edited

    High-profile trials kick off 2015 in Collin County courts

    Jan. 26

    Melinda Muniz

    Charge: capital murder of person under 10 years old

    On Jan. 28, the Plano Police Department arrested Plano resident Melinda Lynn Muniz, 25, and charged her with capital murder in the suffocation death of her fiancé’s 2-year-old daughter, Grace Lillian Ford.

    According to an arrest affidavit, Muniz staged a home invasion on Jan. 9 at the Eastside Village apartment she shared with Mitch Ford, Grace’s father, in an attempt to cover up the crime.

    Grace was found unconscious in her bed, her mouth covered with duct tape. She was taken to The Medical Center of Plano in critical condition before being transferred to Children’s Medical Center Dallas, where she was pronounced dead Jan. 12.

    Officers found Muniz unresponsive in the living room with her pants and underwear pulled down. Duct tape also covered her mouth, according to the affidavit.

    The affidavit said Ford intended to break up with Muniz and that he asked her to move out of their shared apartment on the day of the incident.

    The affidavit indicated that Child Protective Services had been called to Ford’s home July 20, Nov. 1 and Dec. 19, 2013, but allegations of abuse could not be confirmed.

    According to the Collin County court schedule, Muniz’ pretrial is set for Jan. 7, and the jury trial is set for Jan. 26. Mark Rusch is listed as the presiding judge over the case.

    http://starlocalmedia.com/planocouri...4083831a1.html
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  5. #5
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    Trial starts today for Plano woman accused of suffocating toddler after breakup with fiance

    Opening arguments start today in Collin County in the capital murder trial for Melinda Lynn Muniz. The 26-year-old from Plano is accused in the suffocation death last January of 2-year-old Grace Lillian Ford.

    If convicted of capital murder, Muniz faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    Muniz has pleaded not guilty.

    District Judge Mark Rusch and attorneys on both sides spent the day Monday questioning 114 potential jurors (the 115th juror was immediately dismissed because she is the prosecutor’s sister). The jurors also filled out a questionnaire about what they knew about the case from the media. The concern was that the extensive media coverage might influence their verdicts.

    The 12 jurors and two alternates – six men and eight women - were chosen just after 5:30 p.m. They will be sworn in before the trial kicks off today with opening arguments.

    Prosecutors Zeke Fortenberry and Lisa King have 46 witnesses they are looking to call in the trial, which is expected to last into next week. Defense attorneys Robbie McClung and Richard Franklin are then expected to present their case.

    Grace was an adorable little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes who loved animal crackers and Minnie Mouse. She was at the center of a custody battle in district court between her parents. Gracie was also the focus of three investigations by Child

    Protective Services over allegations of abuse and neglect in the six months prior to her death. The allegations were all either ruled out or unable to determine.

    A state report filed after Grace’s death concluded CPS failed to flag the multiple allegations for further review as required. The report, by the Office of Inspector General for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, found Grace’s cases weren’t flagged by computer because of a system failure.

    Two days before Grace’s death, her grandfather, Doug Reeves, delivered a letter to CPS asking that the agency take another look at the cases. He feared Grace was in danger.

    On the morning of Jan. 9, 2014, Plano police were called to do a welfare check at the Plano apartment where Grace lived with her father, Mitch Ford, and his finacee, Muniz. Muniz cared full-time for the toddler while Ford worked. The couple had fought over a cell phone video showing Muniz dancing topless, according to the probable cause affidavit that accompanied Muniz’s arrest warrant. The couple were in the process of breaking up, the affidavit stated.

    Plano police say Muniz was talking on the phone with Ford when he heard what he said sounded like an attack. He called 911. When police arrived, Muniz and Grace were found lying face-down in separate rooms. Each had their pants pulled down and their mouths covered with silver duct tape, according to the affidavit.

    Grace wasn’t breathing when police found her. She was revived and rushed to the hospital but died three days later. Her autopsy found she had suffocated.

    Muniz reported being sexually assaulted by an intruder wearing black gloves and black boots minutes after arriving home that afternoon, the affidavit stated. But police said they found several inconsistencies in her statements.

    Exams afterward at the hospital along with DNA tests found no evidence of sexual assault by a stranger on either Muniz or Grace.

    Detectives also discovered that Muniz bought silver duct tape, nylon cable ties, kitchen shears and cotton swabs at a Dollar Store less than an hour before the attack. Video surveillance showed that Grace was with Muniz at the store when she purchased the items. Police said the tape used on their mouths was similar to what Muniz bought at the store. Police also found two cable ties at the apartment. Nowhere did they find a full roll of tape, an unopened package of cable ties or the shears. Police believe Muniz discarded them before calling Ford.

    Grace’s mother, Emily Ward, has said her daughter got caught in the middle of a complicated relationship between Ford and Muniz. She has said her goal is to get justice for her daughter.

    On Monday, the grieving mother posted her favorite photo of a laughing little Gracie on Facebook along with the words: “Only God knows how much I miss you…”

    http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015...h-fiance.html/
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