Loudoun County Circuit Judge Jeanette Irby sentenced Kelvin Nathaniel Forde to 38 years in prison for one count of first degree murder and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony for the shooting death of his wife, Ruby Forde, in 2014.
On the morning of March 11, 2014, Forde and his wife left their home in Baltimore to go to Ruby’s sister’s home in Ashburn. Ruby Forde had arranged to meet her sister, Marion Marshall, in Ashburn and then together, the two were to travel to Jamaica to celebrate Ruby’s birthday and visit family.
Instead of driving his wife to her sister’s home, Forde drove her to a secluded cul-de-sac in northern Loudoun County where he shot her at least twice with a handgun, according to a Loudoun Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney release. Ruby Forde had told her husband she wanted to separate from him shortly before the trip.
During the trial, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Meredith Burke presented evidence that included the handgun used to kill Ruby Forde, photographs, a map of the area, a firearms expert, expert testimony regarding cell phone towers and signals, witness testimony from Ruby Forde’s co-workers and family and Kelvin Forde’s recorded interview with law enforcement, according to the release.
Irby found Forde guilty of all charges after a four-day bench trial on May 27, 2016. When Forde was found guilty, Irby said she found that Kelvin Forde attempted to assert control over his wife by monitoring her phone calls, her emails, and making unannounced visits to her place of employment. When Ruby Forde made plans to travel out of the country on her birthday, Forde’s final act of control was to prevent that trip by taking her life, Irby said.
The court found there was “no legal excuse for the killing,” and noted that witness testimony showed that the defendant was calm leading up to the murder. During his interview with law enforcement, Forde repeatedly said he had no excuse for killing his wife.
The victim’s family testified at the March 2 sentencing hearing on how the killing impacted their lives. Marshall told the court how Ruby was the “center of the family.”
“This is all very hard and seems like a bad dream,” Marshall said.
The victim’s niece, Jasmine Cumberbatch, asked the court not to show the defendant leniency. She said she wanted justice done so that her aunt could rest peacefully.
Burke told the court Ruby Forde committed no crime, but suffered “the ultimate punishment.”
“Ruby’s death will have ripple effects felt for generations,” Burke said.
Irby agreed, and before imposing the sentence said this is a case where the family has been devastated and suffers daily from unrelenting sadness, according to the release.
If Forde, now 53, serves his full sentence, he will be 91 when he gets out of prison. Afterward he would also serve three years of post-release supervision.