A Wichita Falls man with a lengthy criminal history is charged in the capital murder of Ruby Ditto, 91, with a bond of $1.5 million.
Byron Jack Rickard, 42, was in custody at the Wichita County jail on an unrelated assault charge when detectives served a capital murder warrant on him Wednesday afternoon.
According to the affidavit obtained Thursday afternoon, Ditto was struck seven or eight times in the head Sunday with a blunt instrument, consistent with a hammer, at Ditto’s rent property on North Beverly.
The pathologist stated those injuries would have killed Ditto, regardless of her age.
Police officers said a friend of Ditto said she met a man known as B.J. the day before.
She said Ditto she was allowing him to stay in a trailer on her property on North Beverly.
The friend said she saw Ditto and that man talking in the yard of the property Sunday morning.
She later saw Ditto’s white truck leave, and a short time later, went to check on her and found Ditto’s body in the yard and said Ditto’s black fanny pack she always wore was missing.
Officers said they located Rickard at a home on Garfield later Sunday, and Ditto’s truck was found nearby, and there was blood spatter in it.
They also said they found the fanny pack, Ditto’s keys and other property in her truck or hidden in the house on Garfield.
Officers said Rickard told them he offered to help Ditto because she was elderly and handicapped and he left the Beverly house at noon Sunday.
Police officers said surveillance video shows he left there around 4 p.m.
When confronted with the time discrepancy, police officers said Rickard said he had always had problems losing time, and he had no idea what happened to Ditto.
Ditto owned and managed properties in Wichita Falls. In the past, she worked to beautify her neighborhood on Buchanan and was on the League of Women Voters and also helped the Literacy Council sort books for their sale.
Services are set for Ditto.
There will be a visitation on Monday at 6 p.m. and the funeral service will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. Both the visitation and service will take place at Owens and Brumley Funeral Home in Wichita Falls.
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.”