On Monday, April 4, 1977, Jody Susan Ford died in an altercation outside the Vestavia Hills Motor Lodge. Jody went to the movies at Brookwood Mall that night. After leaving the theater, around 11:30 p.m., Jody exchanged harsh words with a man named Larry Maddox, the Motor Lodge’s owner. Some accounts say Maddox started the ruckus by yelling homophobic remarks.
Maddox sped off, and Ford gave chase down the Old Montgomery Highway in her yellow Cadillac. When Jody reached the Vestavia Motor Lodge, Maddox ran into his office and came out with a .16 gauge automatic shotgun. District Attorney Ken Gomany said Ford threw up her hands to surrender. Maddox claimed that he feared Ford would attack. Defense attorney Russell McDonald argued that Maddox defended “his home, a man’s highest ground.” The jury sided with Maddox, finding him not guilty of murder.