WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The appeal process for a man found guilty of the beating murder of a 91-year-old Wichita Falls woman will resume after it evidently fell through the cracks and was never filed after his trial.
Byron Rickard was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison last August. His appointed attorney was supposed to file the appeal by March 27. The 2nd Court of Appeals notified the 30th District Court they had not received it, or a response to their prior notification, and thus, sent the case back with instructions to hold a hearing.
The hearing was to determine why Rickard’s attorney did not file it and whether he had abandoned it or wished to continue the appeal. Also to determine if new counsel should be appointed and whether the attorney should face contempt proceedings from the appeals court.
The result of that hearing appears to be the court accepted the attorney’s explanation and apology and the time has been extended to file the appeal.
Rickard was found guilty by the jury in less than one hour of deliberation.
The victim, Ruby Ditto was found badly beaten in her yard on North Beverly in 2019.
The defense claimed Rickard suffers from mental illness and was having “an out-of-body experience” when he murdered Ditto. Because of Rickard’s background of alleged mental issues, the prosecution did not seek the death penalty.