Murder victim's family files complaint against Ada County prosecutors

Murder victim's family files complaint against Ada County prosecutors

Credit: KTVB

Judy Gough, 63, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for killing her husband in 1980.



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 1:14 PM

BOISE -- A complaint about how some Ada County prosecutors handled a murder case that's nearly three decades old was filed with the Idaho State Bar Association today.

The children of victim Lloyd Ford say prosecutors did not do enough and their stepmother's punishment does not fit her crime.

Judy Gough, 63, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole last month. She admitted killing her husband with a deer rifle in 1980 and burying the body in the backyard of their Boise home.

In this complaint Ford's family say a decade is not enough.

They mailed the paperwork today and the complaint was supposed to arrive at the Idaho State Bar Association this afternoon.

Inside, they accuse the prosecution of mishandling their father's murder case and not bringing justice.

"In our opinion the prosecution either had no attorney who was able to prosecute the case or who was not afraid to do so, or they simply were not interested in prosecuting a 28 year old case," said Sondra Burke, Ford's daughter.

Gough admitted the details of the crime after being turned into police by her daughter.

"The gun went off, there was a terrible smell and he was dead," said Judy Gough, during court testimony on Jan. 30, 2009.

She blamed her actions on years of abuse by Ford. And it's those allegations that Ford's eldest daughter Sondra Burke says the court focused on.

"They didn't talk about the facts of the murder, that was never brought out in the courtroom. The only thing that was talked about in the courtroom that day, from our opinion, was the fact that Judy allegedly was abused, none of the facts of the murder were brought out in this hearing," said Burke.

In a complaint to the Idaho State Bar Association, Burke claims inadequacies and deceptions on the part of Chief Deputy Prosecutor Roger Bourne and Deputy Prosecutor Joshua Haws.

"I feel like Roger Bourne was the only one totally directing this situation. I do feel like Joshua Haws played puppet to him and he should not have," said Burke.

Along with claims of bad legal advice to the Ford family, the complaint states crucial evidence, like Ford's DNA and her own family's testimony, was disregarded by the prosecution. Burke says prosecutors were more interested in timeliness than fairness.

"To us it's just another instance of the case not being handled properly," said Burke.

Gough is now serving 10 years in the state penitentiary after making a deal with prosecutors; a decision Ford's children say they had no part in.

"I understand that not going to trial her two older children don't have to get up and testify about what a horrible person their mother was. It's not OK that because of that she gets 10 years in prison for the terrible stuff she did," said Burke.

We spoke with Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower about this complaint.

He has not received it yet, but he said his victim witness coordinators have been working with the Ford family on gathering facts for their complaint.

Because he has not seen the complaint, Bower said he could not comment on the accusations.