Gretna man on trial in murder case

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By Erin Hill

Jury selection for Dekendrick Ford’s trial took place Monday morning, followed by opening statements from prosecutors and the defense attorneys later that afternoon.  
Ford, who turns 29 on Thursday, Aug. 10, is accused of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of his girlfriend, 23-year-old Teresa Manuel.
On Tuesday, prosecutors called witnesses to the stand to give their testimonies.
Manuel’s body was found on Aug. 10, 2011, in the Rocky Comfort Management Area on Magnolia Farms Road in Quincy a day after Ford filed a missing persons report with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office.  
According to the arrest report, Ford said he and Manuel had argued about him fathering a child with another woman.  Ford told investigators he dropped Manuel off near Walmart in Quincy.  He said he drove off and left Manuel but decided to turn around near Golden Falcon convenience store on Pat Thomas Parkway to go back and get her.  Ford said he then began looking for her and calling her phone but never made contact, according to the report.
An autopsy determined Manuel died from three gunshot wounds to the face and head.
The defense will begin calling witnesses later Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 9, or Thursday morning, Aug. 10.  
Attorneys from both sides said the trial should wrap up Friday morning, with closing arguments being heard.
Ford also faces charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.