The Baltimore man convicted of fatally shooting his wife on a rural Loudoun road will spend 38 years in prison.
Circuit Court Judge Jeanette Irby handed down that sentence for Kelvin N. Forde this morning, almost three years after the killing.
Forde fatally shot his wife, Ruby Forde, on a gravel cul-de-sac off Rt. 15 north of Leesburg on March 11, 2014, her 55th birthday.
During a three-day trial in May, county prosecutors said Forde planned the shooting after becoming upset after being told a day earlier about his wife’s plans to file for a marital separation and to travel with her family to visit relatives in Jamaica. Forde was driving her to Dulles Airport when he pulled over, parked and fired three shots from a pistol. Two rounds struck her in the face, killing her.
At the March 2 sentencing hearing, two of Ruby Forde’s sisters and her niece urged Irby to impose the maximum sentence—life in prison. They said the murder left them grief stricken, physically ill and wondering whether they could have done something to prevent the tragedy. Marion Marshall, Ruby’s oldest sister, said that the stress from the murder also may have contributed to the fatal stroke suffered by Ruby Forde’s oldest daughter, who died in Jamaica within a year of the shooting.
The two daughters of Ruby and Kelvin Forde also testified during the sentencing hearing, saying they loved both their parents. They asked for leniency in their father’s sentence and that he not spend the rest of his life in prison.
In Forde’s testimony, he objected to characterizations during the trial that he was a controlling, abusive and jealous husband. “Anybody who knows me knows that isn’t true,” he said.
Under questioning from Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan, Forde claimed he couldn’t remember what happened inside the parked car three years ago. And when Morgan asked if he would trade places with his wife if it would bring her back, Forde said only that he wished he hadn’t come back from New York, where he was working, to be with her that day.
In pressing for a life sentence, Morgan said Forde was a selfish, cold, calculated killer who showed no remorse for the crime.
Public Defender Lorie O’Donnell said Forde loved his wife and his children. As a 50-year-old man with no prior criminal history, she said he shouldn’t be sentenced to life in prison. She asked Irby to impose a prison term on the lower end of the state’s sentencing guidelines, one that would allow release in about 25 years.
In her remarks, Irby said she was struck by Forde’s lack of remorse and refusal to take responsibility for the killing, important factors in the consideration of leniency.
“What I didn’t hear was that he was sorry,” she said.
Irby handed down a sentence of 35 years for the of first-degree murder conviction and three years for the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The sentences are to be served consecutively, meaning Forde will be 88 years old before his release.