Accused murderer bails out, turns himself in to Helena, Mont., police

An Oak Harbor man accused of committing a 2011 murder in Montana posted a $500,000 bail bond last week and was released from Island County Jail, where he was being held for possible extradition.

However, Leon Ford turned himself into police in Helena, Mont., where he appeared in court Monday.

Prosecutors in Montana charged Ford Aug. 14 with deliberate homicide and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence

Ford is accused of murdering John M. Crites and burying his body parts at two wooded locations. Ford and Crites owned adjacent properties in Montana and had allegedly been fighting for years over an access road, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Investigators from Montana previously interviewed Ford about the case. It was unclear from court documents why he was charged at this point.

Investigators wrote that game cameras showed Ford had driven to Crites’ property on the day in June 2011 that the murder allegedly occurred.

Crites’ headless remains were found three months later inside plastic garbage bags that were partially buried in a forested area. A year later, his head was also found in a different forested area many miles away.

Investigators found cable ties at both of the burial sites that allegedly came from a company in Oak Harbor where both Ford and his wife had worked, the affidavit of probable cause alleges.

The medical examiner determined that Crites died from gunshot wounds to the head.

More in News

Lt. j.g. William McIlvaine, left, celebrates after graduating from flight school. He was killed in a training accident in March 2013. His uncle, Phelps McIlvaine, donated a monument to Oak Harbor in honor of all service members who died while serving in Prowler squadrons. Photo courtesy Phelps McIlvaine
Prowler aircraft monument still in works years later

The Oak Harbor Park Board learned the donated monument will probably be installed this year.

Woman sues Uber over injury suffered in 2018

The woman is suing the car-for-hire company over an injury that occurred in Oak Harbor in 2018.

Legislature opens with call for cooperation on COVID-19 relief

The state legislature launched its virtual session this week.

Low-cost crab pots available at fundraiser Jan. 17

The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron is offering crab pots with… Continue reading

Oak Harbor council decides on marina environmental restoration plan

The boat ramp will be getting a makeover, but no pocket beach is planned for Catalina Park.

The Tokitae ferry pulls into the new Mukilteo ferry terminal Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
State ferries ridership reaches a 50-year low

Total ridership in 2020 was about 14 million, or 41 percent, less than the 10 million in 2019.

A tree on Highway 20 on the north side of the Deception Pass bridge held up traffic until it could be cleared early on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Photo by China Hageman
Windstorm wreaks havoc across island

Power was knocked out to thousands of customers in the first big storm of the year.

State health officer temporarily helping county

Dr. Lindquist has been serving on an emergency basis since Dec. 31 and will continue until Jan. 20.

Firefighter Jeff Rhodes (left), Firefighter Keith Dawson (center, back), Acting Lieutenant Alex Majestic (right) practice a CPR response without the LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System the agency wants to buy. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
District turns to crowdfunding for CPR tool

Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue is looking to raise $18,580 to buy a CPR tool.

Most Read