Accused WF murder has long criminal history

Local News

More information has been released on the man charged with the capital murder of a 91-year-old woman on April 28.

According to the arrest affidavits of Byron Jack Rickard, 42, he is charged with capital murder and aggravated assault family violence. 

A witness called 911 just before 4:30 p.m. Sunday when they saw the victim, Ruby Ditto, passed out on a lawn in the 200 block of North Beverly.

When officers arrived, they found AMR officials treating Ditto bleeding from her head.

Officers on the scene then interviewed the witness who said they saw Ditto talking with the suspect that day but when they went back outside, the witness did not see Ditto or Rickard and Ditto’s truck was gone.

After Ditto didn’t return in about 20 minutes, the witness went back outside and saw Ditto on the ground.

The witness told officials Ditto had been allowing Rickard to stay in her property while he helped her with some yard work.

At this time, officials took Ditto to the hospital in reportedly “very bad shape” with two head injuries that are believed to be caused by a blunt object.

The affidavit stated Ditto died at the hospital from her injuries and was sent to Southwest Institute for autopsy. The results revealed Ditto has been struck in the head with an object like a hammer either seven or eight times. The forensic pathologist reportedly said Ditto would have died from the force of the blows regardless of her age.

Rickard is also charged with aggravated assault family violence and his bonds total $1.75 million.

In December 2018, Rickard was also charged with aggravated assault family violence in an incident that sent one man to the hospital for emergency surgery after receiving blunt force to the head.

According to that affidavit, Wichita Falls police officers responded to a stolen vehicle call in the 2100 block of Hayes Street on Dec. 7, 2018 at 4:30 a.m. 

As officers arrived, they went to the neighbor’s house and found a man on the floor bleeding from his head. Officials took the man to the hospital for emergency surgery. According to the affidavit, Rickard had been staying at the residence but wasn’t there when officers arrived.

While the man was in the hospital, Rickard visited him according to the affidavit. As he waited in the waiting room with the man’s family, Rickard reportedly admitted he had hit the man in the head with a tire tool.

When officials spoke with Rickard about the incident, Rickard reportedly admitted he had taken drugs and drank alcohol, so he had no recollection of the incident.

The suspect in Ditto’s death has a lengthy criminal record in Wichita County.

Byron Rickard’s first conviction was in 1995 for a burglary and was placed on five years probation. He also received probation for theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and got jail or prison sentences for additional thefts, assault and numerous other crimes. He has served several prison and parole terms.   

Records list several aliases and nicknames of “Ace” and “The Shadow.”

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