Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

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Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:35 pm

Ryan Widmer murder conviction overturned. The local community is somewhat divided on this, but many feel Ryan was wrongly convicted. At first, Sarah's parents did not believe Ryan could do this. They had only been married 4 months. I have a friend that knew Sarah and her family. Friends say she fell asleep a lot and suffered from headaches. From watching the trial, and now this, I still have not been able to come to a decision for myself. It's what the first arriving officer had to report that made me think things did not add up, along with bruises on Sarah's neck. Prosecutors, coroner and police feel foul play was involved, resulting in a murder conviction for Ryan.

The 28-year-old Warren County man was convicted in April of murder in the drowning death of his wife, 24-year-old Sarah Widmer, but a judge overturned that verdict in July due to jury misconduct and ordered a new trial.

Prosecutors said earlier this week that they would not appeal the decision to Ohio's Supreme Court, clearing the way for a new trial that likely will be held in January.

Showcased on Dateline tonight. Sorry, I posted this late Embarassed

http://www.wlwt.com/news/20988628/detail.html


Last edited by Justice4all on Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:52 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : addition)
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:06 pm

Thanks for posting this Piper. I don't know much about this case, but it's hard to believe that somebody could fall asleep, then roll over face down in the water and drown without waking up.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:33 pm

That's just it, j4a......even with a history of falling asleep, prosecutors felt she would have choked, etc and woke herself up. But, then again, maybe she couldn't do that, I just don't know. I've gone back and forth on this one.


Last edited by Piper on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 10:47 pm

Ryan Widmer and new bride of four months, Sarah



Ryan Widmer, a 27 year old man, was charged with murder just 2 days after he found his wife unresponsive in their bathtub, on August 11, 2008. Ryan was downstairs watching TV, when his wife of only 114 days kissed him goodnight and told him she was going upstairs to take a bath. This was part of Sarah Widmer’s regular routine as she loved to take long baths. Ryan went upstairs about ½ hour to 45 minutes later to walk into their bathroom and find Sarah unresponsive in the tub. Ryan tried as best he could to perform CPR. The 911 operator didn’t provide any help whatsoever.

After 45 minutes to 1 hour of rigorous CPR and 5 intubation attempts they transported Sarah to the hospital and she was pronounced dead. There were no signs of struggle, no prior history of relationship issues, etc. However, Sarah had not been feeling well the entire day and had a bad headache. She was also known by family and friends to easily fall asleep and had actually fallen asleep in the tub numerous times, even before she met Ryan (as stated by Sarah’s brother). An expert at the trial spoke that in the U.S. every year about 300,000 people under the age of 35 die and that these people’s autopsies do not show any sign of what they died from. That is 2/3 people/state/month. A staggering statistic.

The local police department jumped to the conclusion immediately that Ryan had taken his wife’s life, even though there were no signs or evidence of this fact. Because of this Ryan wasn’t even permitted to go back to see his wife once she was pronounced dead to say goodbye.

Family and friends said the murder charge was a huge mistake. But, Ryan was arrested and sent to jail just 2 days after Sarah’s death. Sarah’s family held off on the funeral and said that it was pending until they could see if they could clear this up for Ryan.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s bail was set at $1,000,000 and he wasn’t able to attend his own wife’s funeral.

This is how the story begins. His trial was originally set for November, but the prosecution, because of their lack of evidence, motive, etc. asked for an extension and his trial was postponed until March. In March, after 8 days of trial he was convicted of murder and sent to prison to serve a 15 year to life sentence. Even though there was not substantial evidence to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Since the trial some of the jurors have come forward to say that they performed “experiments” during their 22 hour deliberations that impacted the outcome of their verdict of “guilty”. The Judge repeatedly during the 8 day trial advised and warned the jury that these experiments were not allowed.

http://freeryanwidmer.com/ryan-widmer-story
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:00 pm

Bathtub drowning trial delayed until May

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer
Updated 4:56 PM Monday, February 8, 2010


Ryan Widmer is led out of a Warren County courtroom after being found guilty of murder in the August 2008 drowning of his wife, Sarah, April 2 in Lebanon. Widmer's conviction was later thrown out after Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson ruled there was jury misconduct during deliberations. Widmer's second trial has been delayed until May.

LEBANON — The retrial for accused killer Ryan Widmer has been postponed until May.

Widmer’s new attorney Hal Arenstein said the retrial has been rescheduled from March 15 to May 10.

“We needed a little more time to line up some experts,” he said.

Widmer, 29, was convicted of murder for allegedly drowning his bride, Sarah Widmer, in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. home in August 2008. He was sentenced to 15 years to life on April 2, 2009, following a two-week trial and 22 hours of jury deliberations.

After a bizarre series of events, Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Neal Bronson granted Widmer a new trial last fall after he determined jurors committed misconduct.

Some jurors admitted to experimenting at home to see how long it takes to air dry after bathing. The drowning scene was virtually dry, which led jurors to believe Widmer staged his 911 call after he killed his wife.

Bronson had blocked out three weeks for the retrial. He also was going to call all potential jurors in 10 days prior to the trial, to determine whether any jurors have hardships — like child or elder care obligations — that would prevent them from serving in a lengthy trial.

Widmer has been free on a $400,000 bond since the 12th District Court of Appeals refused to consider Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel’s appeal of Bronson’s retrial ruling. Widmer is living with his mother, Jill Widmer, in Mason.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:06 pm

Widmer defense presents key expert at to begin third week of trial

May 24, 12:00 PMCincinnati Crime Examiner Joshua Burns




Dr. Werner U. Spitz, a forensic pathologist who has decades of experience working on some of the nation's most celebrated murder cases, took the stand today as attorneys continued their case in defense of Ryan Widmer in Warren County, Monday. Widmer's retrial on a sole count of murder in the death of his wife has entered its third (and likely final) week of testimony.

Spitz's testimony will center around an autopsy he performed on Sarah Widmer just days after she drowned in her bathtub two years ago. Spitz is testifying on behalf of her husband, Ryan, who is charged with her murder.

Ryan Widmer was convicted of murder last year after a lengthy trial and several days of jury deliberation. However, his conviction was thrown out after Judge Neal Bronson found that several jurors had conducted home experiments in direct violation of jury instructions.

Now, the prosecution again tries to convince a jury that Widmer murdered his wife. The first two weeks of testimony have centered around two theories: the prosecution's theory that Ryan forcibly drowned Sarah in the bathtub; and the defense theory that Sarah had some medical problem (such as a seizure) that caused her to drown without force.

At the first trial, Spitz testified that he found many of the same things that the county coroner (and prosecution expert) found, but there also were some conflicting findings. Most significantly, Spitz last year testified that he disagreed with Dr. Russell Uptegrove's ruling that the manner of Sarah Widmer's death was homicide.

Spitz testified last year that the manner of death was "undetermined", meaning that neither he nor any other expert could discover the manner of Sarah's death.

Spitz, who speaks with a heavy German accent and regularly has both jurors and court-watchers in laughter, has been considered a world-renowned forensic pathologist for decades. He has been an expert in the investigations of the JFK and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations, was a witness in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder and the O.J. Simpson civil trial. He is the author of multiple textbooks and treatises on forensic pathology and testified that he has conducted many studies on drowning.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:17 pm

Sarah Widmer's Mom Among Prosecution's Final Witnesses
Gettys: Ryan Widmer's Mother Won't Be Called To Testify

updated 8:15 a.m. ET, Thurs., May 20, 2010



LEBANON - WLWT.com

The prosecution is expected to rest Thursday at the retrial of Ryan Widmer, after calling its last witnesses Wednesday. Widmer's defense team is expected to begin calling witnesses Thursday morning.

Widmer was convicted of drowning his wife, Sarah, in April 2009, but the conviction was set aside by a judge after allegations surfaced of juror misconduct during deliberations. Widmer was found not guilty of aggravated murder and cannot be retried on that charge.

Read more:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37230581
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:36 pm

Defense expected to rest its case in Widmer retrial

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer
Updated 9:17 PM Monday, May 24, 2010

LEBANON — The defense is expected to rest its case Tuesday, May 25, in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial after testimony from a key witness.

After nearly five hours on the stand, renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz again concluded Monday, May 24, that Sarah Widmer’s manner of death is undeterminable.

Spitz testified that Sarah Widmer died from drowning, but does not agree with the prosecution’s premise that Ryan Widmer caused her death.

He said the livid bruises Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove found on her head and neck were caused by aggressive efforts to revive her, using intubation, IV sticks in her jugular and both arms and constant chest compressions.

The drowning process itself exacerbated the bruising because the water diluted her blood and increased volume and pressure, Spitz said.

Widmer, 29, was found guilty of drowning his wife, Sarah, on Aug. 11, 2008, in their Hamilton Twp. home. The conviction was overturned and a new trial granted because of juror misconduct.

The retrial is in its third week of testimony. The final defense expert is Dr. Chandler Phillips, who is expected to testify the dimensions of both Widmers and the cramped bathroom, plus the lack of defensive wounds, make it impossible Widmer drowned his wife in the bathtub.

Closing statements could conceivably take place Tuesday and the jury could begin deliberations.

Spitz spent nearly an hour Monday morning discussing his extensive background, certification and writings. Spitz was involved in O.J. Simpson’s civil trial and the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne after then U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge. He also testified before Congress in the assassinations of former President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Spitz testified he is paid $400 per hour and received $10,000 for his court appearance.

Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux sparred with the doctor using Spitz’s own textbook to challenge some of his testimony.

Judge Neal Bronson at one point during testimony yelled out, “whoa, whoa,” as Vieux and Spitz were arguing over an interview he conducted with him prior to the first trial. “When you ask a question you have to wait for an answer,” he told Vieux. He told Spitz to wait for questions to be asked before responding.

A crucial component of Spitz’s testimony was that besides the bruising he found on Sarah Widmer’s neck and head, he also discovered bruising on her inner arms where medics poked the IV needle in twice in one arm and once in the other. He cut the skin to reveal a four inch hemorrhage on the right arm and a seven inch bruise under the skin on the left arm.

“The bruising is extremely excessive because she drowned,” he said. “It is due to hemodilution and increased volume and blood pressure.”

Earlier in the trial, Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove testified that a dead body can’t bruise and the bruises must have happened before she died. Sarah Widmer had no vital signs when first responders arrived and she never was revived.

Under questioning by the defense, Spitz, who has supervised and performed about 60,000 autopsies in his long career, recounted two of his cases where bodies showed bruising that occurred a day after the person died.

In cross examination, Vieux quizzed Spitz on why prior to the first trial he told prosecutors he had no opinion as to the manner of Sarah Widmer’s death. Spitz said he offered testimony in the first trial that he deemed it undeterminable, meaning neither he nor anyone else can say for sure what caused her drowning.

The defense also called Dr. David Smile a emergency medicine expert who works with Premiere Healthcare Services based in Dayton. He is also the medical director for the West Chester Twp. Fire Department.

Smile agreed with defense attorney Jay Clark that the intubation and other efforts made to save Sarah Widmer would have been difficult given the fact some of them were performed in a moving ambulance.

He said medics performing the Sellick maneuver, to ostensibly give intubators a clearer view of her airway, would have been using three to five pounds of pressure on her trachea. The idea he said is to press on the top ring of the trachea to collapse the esophagus so no stomach contents come up.

“If you push down of the bridge of your nose until it starts to hurt, it’s a fairly good amount of pressure,” he said. “It’s fairly firm pressure.”

Smile testified there are 300,000 cardiac deaths that occur every year that can’t be explained. He said one to two percent of those are people under the age of 35.

The prosecution will cross examine Smile Tuesday, May 25.

http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/defense-expected-to-rest-its-case-in-widmer-retrial-724915.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:39 pm

Sarah Widmer wasn't victim of bathtub murder, defense experts say
Repeated attempts at CPR likely caused bruises, injuries

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • May 24, 2010

LEBANON - There are innocent explanations for the injuries on drowning victim Sarah Widmer, expert witnesses testified Monday.

One witness agreed she could have fallen asleep in the tub, been startled awake, then suffered a rapid, irregular heartbeat that contributed to her death.

Testimony of the two witnesses – a world-renowned death investigator and a local emergency-room doctor – consumed all day Monday, the 11th day of the murder retrial of Ryan Widmer in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

He is accused of drowning his new wife, Sarah, in their Hamilton Township bathtub in 2008.

“This was a good day for the defense – and it should be,” said Cincinnati lawyer Mark Krumbein, who attended the proceedings Monday. “These are some of their star witnesses.”

Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz of Michigan launched the technical, medical testimony of the defense team’s case as the Widmer retrial entered its third week.

Spitz also testified at last year’s trial for Widmer, 29, of Mason.

That trial lasted less than two weeks and ended in a guilty verdict that was thrown out because of jury misconduct. If convicted, Widmer faces 15 years to life in prison.

Spitz testified that diluted blood in drowning victims such as Sarah Widmer, 24, makes any bruising look far worse than it would otherwise – and that explains why tiny needle pricks in the crooks of her arms caused large bruises.

And in another significant point, a Dayton emergency room physician and medical director for West Chester’s paramedics, Dr. David Smile, said the injuries found on Sarah Widmer were “all compatible with CPR…resuscitation in general.”

“I actually would have expected more injuries,” Smile said, considering she underwent more than 45 minutes of chest compressions, at least two attempts to manipulate her throat, six attempts to insert a breathing tube in her windpipe and multiple attempts to insert needles.

Smile also described a number of syndromes that can be associated with seemingly healthy young people, even athletes, giving them an “electrically unstable heart” – and he said many people are walking around with these conditions without knowing it.

Further, the act of falling asleep in the bathtub, then being startled awake – or being startled by anything – could set off a rapid, irregular heartbeat that could turn fatal, Smile said.

Spitz couldn’t say whether or not Sarah Widmer could have had a sudden heart problem or a seizure, because tests that detect electrical activity problems in the heart and brain can be done only while people are alive, and his investigations are limited to the dead.

Spitz agreed that injuries on Sarah Widmer could have been caused by life-saving efforts.

Specifically, injuries to her neck and throat – which the county coroner blamed on blunt force or compression – actually appeared to emanate from needle punctures and blood thinned by the water she inhaled.

Spitz explained that, in drowning victims, the salty blood attracts non-salty water. As a result, the blood is diluted and is flowing at an increased volume with greater pressure through veins. At the same time, red blood cells are overfilled and burst, thus causing bruising to appear exaggerated.

“In a drowning victim, any injury is magnified,” said Spitz, a forensic pathologist who has decades of experience working on some of the nation’s most celebrated murder cases.

Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux repeatedly confronted Spitz with his own words, pages from an authoritative text he edited: "Medicolegal Investigation of Death."

Although Vieux got the doctor to agree with selected passages from the text, at one point the white-haired doctor in his 80s showed some chutzpah and accused Vieux: “You are misleading me.”

That was after Vieux read a passage from the book referencing multiple points of bleeding in the whites of a person’s eyes, stating that would be cause for suspicion -- not one such area, which was detected in Sarah Widmer.

Spitz said seeing one such sign in a victim and concluding that was evidence of foul play would be like seeing one bird flying in the air and concluding that summer therefore has arrived.

Spitz, who estimates he has performed upwards of 55,000 autopsies dating to the 1950s, testified to Congress about the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

More recently, he investigated the death of Colorado child beauty queen Jon Benet Ramsey and also was involved in the civil trial against ex-football star O.J. Simpson.

Spitz says he has done studies on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and drowning, and has done 14 articles on drowning alone. One of the articles addressed what types of wounds can be expected in drowning victims.

Spitz got involved in the Widmer case after Widmer’s first lawyer, Charlie Rittgers, sought his expertise.

At Rittgers’ request, Spitz conducted an autopsy on 24-year-old Sarah Widmer on Aug. 15, four days after her death. Spitz agrees she drowned.

He found “at least one, maybe two needle marks on the left side of her neck over the jugular vein,” as well as needle punctures in both arms. In all three areas, there was “extensive” bruising or bleeding under the skin, he said.

Spitz pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket, and with the help of two attorneys flanking him to hold its edges, demonstrated for the jury how a triangular-shaped flap of skin was pulled upward to reveal the inside of Sarah Widmer’s chest and throat areas.

Then he explained how that demonstration translated to a photograph done during an autopsy of Sarah Widmer.

“You see a vast hemorrhage that goes from the neck, down over the central portion of the chest, extending to the left and going beyond the horizontal line, down in the muscle,” Spitz said, “...and this is all one hemorrhage.”

“Is it a lot of hemorrhage? Of course it’s a lot…but there was a lot of CPR here," he said, referring to all the life-saving efforts that were employed.

Spitz also said there was a tear in Sarah Widmer’s liver that could have been associated with the CPR.

In his autopsy, the county coroner made no notation of a liver laceration.

Again Monday, as he did last year, Spitz testified that the cause of Sarah Widmer’s death was drowning – and the manner of death “undeterminable” – that no one would be capable of determining how she drowned. That opinion conflicts county coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove’s ruling that the manner of Sarah Widmer’s death was homicide.

Spitz also testified that if a person is described as "hot to touch," as Sarah Widmer was, that could be associated with a seizure in which a person’s muscles contract spastically and that can generate heat. He also said that 70 percent of people who die of a seizure have no sign in the brain; the same is true of many people who suffer a heart-rhythm disruption.

Defense lawyers are arguing that Sarah Widmer may have experienced a sudden medical problem that contributed to her drowning, and that injuries found on her body came from life-saving efforts.

Spitz said that it was possible that the symptoms other witnesses reported -- headaches, seeing spots, odd sleeping habits -- could be signs of an underlying medical problem or sleep disorder that went undiagnosed.

Prosecutors allege injuries found on Sarah Widmer’s body were indicators of a forced drowning, and that chances of a seemingly healthy young woman suffering a sudden medical problem were remote.

Because of a gag order, lawyers are forbidden from discussing the case, so it’s unclear why one of the three alternate jurors was gone from the jury box Monday.

The defense team appears to be close to wrapping up its case, based on available remaining witnesses.

At a minimum, Smile will be recalled to testify today under cross-examination by prosecutors, and the defense has yet to call at least one other key witness -- Dr. Chandler Phillips, a medical doctor who is an expert in human factors, the way humans and their environment interact.

Legal analysts are divided on whether they think Widmer will take the stand in his own defense. He did not testify during the last trial.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100524/NEWS0107/305240068/1167/NEWS/Key-Widmer-witness-testifies
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Mon May 24, 2010 11:45 pm

Follow the trial and posts:

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100524/NEWS0107/305240068/1167/NEWS/Key-Widmer-witness-testifies

http://freeryanwidmer.com/ryan-widmer

Covered by Dateline:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32860588/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/

Ryan Widmer's mother Jill talks about his decision to get an attorney after his wife, Sarah, died... Dateline NBC

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Tue May 25, 2010 10:22 am

I'll betcha the next time we hear about Dr. Spitz it will be in the Kathleen Salvio/Drew Peterson case...Mr. Brodsky has probably already contacted him...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue May 25, 2010 11:39 am

Sarah Widmer's health debated
Defense lawyers contend that other factors led to drowning

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • May 20, 2010


Because of her tendency to fall asleep at odd times, Sarah Widmer ended up with the nickname “Sleeper” on her name tag at a baby shower, according to testimony from a former co-worker.

LEBANON - Sarah Widmer suffered bouts of sleepiness, migraines and blurry vision in the months before her she drowned in her Hamilton Township bathtub, witnesses say. They also testified she suffered from a headache and stomachache hours before her death.

The testimony Thursday in the retrial of her husband, Ryan, was intended to support defense lawyers’ contention that Sarah, 24, may have suffered from an undiagnosed condition that contributed to her drowning in August 2008. Prosecutors allege the drowning was murder, and Widmer faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted. The trial enters its 10th day Friday and could last all next week.

Ryan Widmer met his wife-to-be around August 2006, family members have previously said.

Known then as Sarah Steward, she gushed, friends said.

“She thought he was ‘the one,’” testified Dana Parker-Kist of Alexandria. Parker-Kist and her husband, Christopher Kist, introduced the couple to each other, then served as attendants in their April 2008 wedding.

Before Sarah Widmer drowned four months later, Parker-Kist said her friend seemed very happy.

“She said she finally met the man of her dreams, pretty much,” Parker-Kist said.

Parker-Kist, however, expressed concerns about her friend’s health.

During 2006-07, the two women worked at a Fort Thomas dental practice, and “once every other week or so, she would have a migraine,” Parker-Kist said. Sometimes Sarah Widmer would report seeing spots and having blurred vision, too, Parker-Kist said.

When those symptoms struck, Parker-Kist recalled sometimes guiding Sarah Widmer to a small, darkened room at the office to lie down for a while.

Parker-Kist, who is now a registered nurse and was then undergoing nursing training, said she advised her friend to take Tylenol and to see a physician about the problem.

“At one point, she had a checkup,” Parker-Kist said, but she was not asked if she knew the results.

One medical record introduced during the trial said Sarah Widmer complained to her doctor that she was tired all the time and sleeping a lot during the day, but prosecutors associated the sleepiness with her grief over her father’s death in 2007.

However, Dr. Benjamin Messmer, a dentist working in the same office where Sarah Widmer was a dental hygienist, said her sleepiness remained unchanged during the two years he worked with her before her death. She was known to take naps before work and at lunch breaks, Messmer said.

He also testified that, at the office on the day she died, “I was aware that she did have a headache and some stomach issues.”

Kimberly Liles of Liberty Township, best friend of Ryan Widmer’s mother, Jill, backed that up. Liles testified that she received a text message from Sarah Widmer on the day she died: “She said her head hurt.”

Parker-Kist, who left the dental office after landing a nursing job in mid-2007, said her friend was known to fall asleep at unusual times. “She would often fall asleep before we even began (watching) movies,” Parker-Kist.

Partly because of that history, Sarah Widmer ended up with the nickname “Sleeper” on her name tag at a baby shower once, Parker-Kist said.

Parker-Kist was among the first seven witnesses whom defense lawyers called in rapid-fire succession to launch their case Thursday. Before prosecutors rested their case, they had called 21 witnesses.

Thursday’s defense witnesses were mostly laypeople who spoke in plain language – and they ended the day early, giving jurors a break from the long, drawn-out medical testimony that had dominated the trial thus far.

Besides discussing Sarah Widmer’s unusual bouts of sleepiness and headaches, defense witnesses also described Ryan Widmer as a kind, gentle, good-natured person, with no tendency toward flashes of anger and no issues with drinking to excess.

Liles, the Widmer family friend, described Ryan Widmer as “a very nice young man” and “a gentle soul.”

She also remembered meeting Ryan’s wife-to-be for the first time at Jill Widmer’s home. “She was a very sweet, loveable girl.”

She testified the couple acted “very loving” to each other.

Somewhat countering the testimony offered by Sarah Widmer’s mother, Ruth Ann Steward, hinting at financial disputes, Liles said that during a discussion about shopping Sarah and Ryan Widmer were both laughing about the fact that it seemed impossible to make a trip to Target without spending $100.

Defense witnesses also described the newlyweds’ relationship as happy and conflict-free. The couple had been married only four months at the time Sarah drowned. Sarah’s mother testified Wednesday that she was aware of a few spats.

Under prosecutors’ questioning, several of the witnesses acknowledged that they never witnessed Sarah Widmer suffering from seizures or chest pains – an apparent attempt to counter defense lawyers’ contentions that a medical condition could have played a role in the drowning.

Earlier in the day, defense lawyers attempted to get Judge Neal Bronson to dismiss the case, arguing that court rules do not allow a jury to make “an inference on an inference.”

Attorney Hal Arenstein said that the prosecution had basically indicated that because Ryan Widmer was the only other person in the home, he must have killed his wife.

“The state has failed to establish that there was a purposeful killing,” Arenstein said.

It’s common for defense lawyers to make such a motion at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case.

But judges are required to view the evidence in the most favorable light to the prosecution, so those motions usually fail, and Bronson denied the motion in this case.

The defense’s first witness, Hamilton Township firefighter/paramedic Max Roy Smith, testified about driving the ambulance that took Sarah Widmer to Bethesda Medical Center at Arrow Springs the night she died.

He testified about Ryan Widmer’s demeanor on the trip there: “He was very upset and crying the entire time to the hospital.”

He also indicated that it’s difficult to perform CPR and try to place breathing tubes in patients while inside a moving ambulance and that sometimes medics can lose their hand positioning during those procedures.

Defense lawyers are trying to establish that Sarah Widmer’s injuries may have happened during efforts to revive her.

Smith also testified that sometimes patients and their relatives give “off-the-wall information” or mix facts up in emergency situations because they are upset.

Defense lawyers, through their questioning of other witnesses, have implied that Ryan Widmer was so upset, he may have gotten facts mixed up in some of his statements on the night of Sarah Widmer’s death.

A nurse testified that she was certain Widmer had told her that he found his wife “face-up” in the bathtub, but other witnesses said he indicated she was “face-down.”

Prosecutors, through their questioning, have implied that the discrepancy is evidence that Widmer purposely changed his account.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100520/NEWS01/305200023/Sarah-Widmer-s-health-debated
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue May 25, 2010 4:18 pm

The defense is likely to rest today. Below is an article from when Ryan was found guilty in his first trial April 2009. It's long, but interesting to read.

Prosecutor Says Ryan Widmer Had Motive To Kill
Hutzel: Widmer Visited 'Swingers' Web Site

POSTED: 4:47 pm EDT April 3, 2009
UPDATED: 6:57 pm EDT April 3, 2009

CINCINNATI -- Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel told News 5 Friday that she believed Ryan Widmer did have a motive to kill his wife, even though one was never presented during his trial.

Hutzel said Ryan Widmer frequented an adult porn Web site called "Adult Friend Finder," described as the world's largest site for swingers seeking anonymous sex.

Hutzel said she believed Ryan Widmer's wife, Sarah, found out about the Web site and that caused the two to have a big blow-out.

"Ryan was on that Web site a number of times, including the weekend before she died. That's contrary to claims of the defense that this was a happily married couple," said Hutzel.

The prosecution was prevented from introducing the theory about the Web site because it could not show that Sarah knew about the site.

Hutzel, who was not present for the trial, was in court for the verdict.

"I'm pleased with the jury's decision," she said Thursday night. "This was a very difficult case with a lot of expert testimony, but I think that justice has been served."

The Verdict

Ryan Widmer was found guilty Thursday night of murder in the death of his wife. He was acquitted of a more serious charge of aggravated murder.

When the first verdict was read -- not guilty of aggravated murder -- WLWT.com's Travis Gettys said Ryan Widmer exhaled, bent over at the waist and pressed his palms together near his thighs. When the second verdict was read -- guilty of murder -- Ryan Widmer hung his head and began to weep.

The reading of the verdict was followed by several emotional outbursts from spectators in the courtroom, Ryan Widmer's relatives among them.

Ryan Widmer's uncle was ordered taken into custody after slamming open the door while leaving the courtroom.

When the judge asked Ryan Widmer if he would like to make any statements, he said, "I loved my wife. I did not hurt her. I was never given a chance. The day after she passes away, they charge me with murder. I didn't even… If I had an answer, I would give the answer of what happened to her, but I can't. I was not in the bathroom with her." The judge recommended a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Ryan Widmer was taken into custody after the reading of the verdict. Gettys said Widmer's face was red and he looked back at his mother when he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Family and friends of Ryan Widmer appeared in shock after the verdict.

After Ryan Widmer was taken away, his family quickly left the courtroom and did not speak to anyone. Some cried openly, other sat stunned outside the courtroom.

Sarah Widmer's family chose not to be in the courtroom for the reading of the verdict. Thursday night on WLWT.com's live blog, what appears to be a statement from Sarah's family was posted.

The statement read:

"Travis, wanted to let you know that the Steward Family isn't interested in talking to the media currently and that any others that make a comment do so without consent of the family and do not reflect our thoughts or feelings. The only comment we have this evening is no matter what happened tonight, none of this will bring back Sarah. Thank you for your unbiased representation of this nightmare."

The statement was signed Mike Steward, who is Sarah's brother.

The Jury


The jury received the case just before noon on Thursday and deliberated for more than 22 hours before reaching its verdict.

The prosecution argued that Ryan Widmer held his wife's head under water in the couple's bathtub until she drowned. The defense argued that Sarah Widmer fell asleep in the bathtub and that's how she drowned.

Raw Interview: Juror Ray Diss

Ray Diss was one of the jurors who found Ryan Widmer guilty. He spoke with News 5's Karin Johnson Friday.

Diss said that at the beginning of deliberations, jurors took a secret ballot and determined there were two categories of people, those who were leaning toward guilt and those who were undecided.

Diss said that he felt Widmer was guilty halfway through the second day of testimony, when sleep expert Dr. Aneesa Marie Das testified that it was extremely rare for anyone to fall asleep in the bathtub and drown. Diss said the other jurors also found her testimony convincing.

Diss said the jury also paid close attention to the call Ryan Widmer made to 911.

Diss said he believed Ryan Widmer faked giving his wife CPR. He also questioned the timeline and Ryan's behavior during the call.

"I don't think anybody felt they would have left their wife in that water, called 911 and said 'My wife's drowned. She fell asleep in the bathtub,' and left her in the water."

Diss said the jury felt it could only make one of two decisions -- find him guilty of murder or find him innocent.

"There was no motive … That's why we didn't go with aggravated murder. If we had more choices we might have considered them, but we had two choices," he said.

Diss said he believed Ryan Widmer loved his wife and that he might have felt differently if the defendant had taken the stand.

As for the verdict, Diss said all of the jurors were upset afterward.

"It tore my heart out to vote guilty," he said.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/19089437/detail.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue May 25, 2010 7:18 pm

Here's the 911 call...

http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/audio-ryan-widmers-911-call-667748.html

or:



Last edited by Piper on Tue May 25, 2010 7:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Tue May 25, 2010 7:29 pm

I haven't fallen asleep in a full bathtub but I have dozed off on the throne and standing in the shower...caught myself just in time or I could have broken my neck...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue May 25, 2010 7:35 pm

The dispatcher was accused of being asleep when the call came in, and has been accused of sleeping on the job before. He asked Ryan "Are you her mother?"......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLxv9Cc2po&feature=fvsr
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 8:14 am

Will He Or Won't He? Ryan Widmer Could Testify

Last Update: 5:48 am May 26, 2010

LEBANON, Ohio -- There's a possibility the jury in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial could start deliberations as early as Wednesday afternoon if Ryan Widmer does not testify in his own defense.

While jurors won't be back at the Warren County Courthouse until 10 a.m. Wednesday, lawyers for both sides in the Widmer bathtub murder retrial are expected in court an hour earlier to discuss how the case should proceed.

The open question is whether defense attorneys will call defendant Ryan Widmer to the witness stand before they rest their case.

Widmer did not take the stand during the initial trial last year and several legal analysts say they probably don't need to take that risk.

Ryan Widmer is charged with murdering his wife, 24-year-old Sarah Widmer, who drowned in the bathroom of their Hamilton Township home in August 2008.

A guilty verdict from the first trial last year was thrown out by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson because of juror misconduct.

More medical testimony was heard from two doctors Tuesday. A human factors engineering expert from Wright State University says he saw no signs of any possible struggle between Ryan and Sarah Widmer, but Dr. David Smile, a Butler County emergency room director, admitted that Sarah Widmer could have been put in a "sleeper hold" and then strangled. Smile also told jurors that Sarah could have died from undiagnosed heart or seizure problems.

If convicted by this jury, Widmer could face a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

http://www.wcpo.com/news/local/story/Will-He-Or-Wont-He-Ryan-Widmer-Could-Testify/qA1Ryf_ZBUGj4rCZelkxcw.cspx
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 11:31 am

Widmer does not testify, defense rests

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • May 26, 2010

LEBANON -- Ryan Widmer did not take the stand in his own defense in his murder retrial.

His defense team rested its case Wednesday without calling Widmer, accused of murder in the 2008 bathtub drowning of his wife, Sarah, at their Hamilton Township home.

Widmer, 29, was convicted of muder in 2009, but the verdict was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

The prosecution did not call rebuttal witnesses, so the trial moved into closing arguments. The jury could begin deliberations later today.

Widmer also did not testify in his first trial last year.

Sarah Widmer's mother, who has been absent from the retrial except when she was called to testify, was in court when proceedings got underway Wednesday.

Ruth Ann Steward and her companion, a Butler County sheriff's deputy, arrived just minutes before the jury was scheduled to report for duty in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

She sat in the front row next to a victim's advocate from the county prosecutor's office, a half-dozen seats away from Ryan Widmer's parents, Jill and Gary, who are divorced but have presented a united front on their son's behalf since he was accused of drowning Sarah, 24, after just four months of marriage.

Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel - who has sewn up an appellate judgeship - is observing the proceedings from a media observation room.

She initially was very outspoken about the case, but no one from her office has said much about it since Judge Neal Bronson granted a retrial last summer.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20100526/NEWS0107/305260067/&GID=g8KsMYJKG8kedPRNHSknsZRCld4ODh8qLXMUpQI/xmg%3D
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 1:30 pm

Something was not right with Sarah, the nodding off and frequent migraines are not normal. It's really sad she wasn't properly diagnosed and treated for whatever it was that caused these issues. Her boss and others stated Sarah was sick the day she died. It's a shame.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 1:55 pm

Live blog with Travis Gettys from inside the courtroom:

http://livewire.wlwt.com/Event/Ryan_Widmer_Trial_Day_11
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 2:11 pm

Videos of testimonies here:

http://www.wlwt.com/ryan-widmer-retrial/index.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 3:08 pm

The bathtub sitting close to the jury box, still deliberating.......

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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 6:33 pm

Thanks AJ, I sure hope he's right as well.

The last I heard today was that the jury had asked for the bathtub. And that they would probably stop at 6:30 this evening and continue at 9am tomorrow.

This is such a tragedy for all of these folks. I feel bad for all involved. You have a mother that lost her daughter, a husband that lost his wife and a mother possibly losing her son to life in prison. Considering Sarah's health issues that everyone was very well aware of and no apparent motive that they could find, it's really sad. His life is now hanging in limbo. What a horrible 2 years these families have suffered. I couldn't believe he was convicted the first time. The defense had started to fight for a retrial after his first conviction. I wonder where it would stand today had the first jury's home experiments not been exposed?
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Sherry on Wed May 26, 2010 10:51 pm

Migraines, falling asleep, seeing spots, blurred vision. All of these symptoms I had suffered from the time I was 19 years old along with paralysis of my limbs, one at a time to my whole body, temporarily. Finally, a paralyzing episode scary enough happened to me to warrant the ER, not just making a doctor's appointment. For 25 years I was told it was hormonal imbalance and panic attacks. But they were not my problem; all along I was suffering minor strokes. I wonder if this was what Sarah suffered from. Many young people suffer these minor strokes and are misdiagnosed because of their age and health habits-many do not smoke and eat right.

I hope Ryan is acquited. I can't see how a jury had come to that decision in the first trial. AW made a good point as to why its not good that Ryan take the stand, but the previous jury said they wished they could have heard from him in that trial. I think Ryan would have handled it okay.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 11:08 pm

Ryan Widmer jury left to consider final twist in bathtub murder case
Prosecution suggests his wife may not have been in the bathtub after all

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • May 26, 2010

LEBANON - The jury began its deliberations in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial without reaching a verdict by Wednesday night. But in their closing arguments to the jury, lawyers provided some new twists on some of the evidence.

After the defense rested its case without calling Widmer, 29, to testify in Warren County Common Pleas Court, prosecutors suggested that 24-year-old Sarah Widmer may have never even been in the bathtub, or at least not her whole body, the night she drowned in 2008.

Nevertheless, prosecutors emphasized evidence found in and around the tub, including a pair of unidentified, undated hand streaks. They say those prints showed Sarah Widmer desperately tried to claw her way out of the bath water while she was being drowned.

To counter, defense lawyers noted that prosecutors spent much of their closing argument highlighting facts that they said the defense had failed to prove. The defense emphasized to jurors that the burden of proof falls on the prosecution, not the defense.

Defense lawyers also hammered on investigative and medical mistakes that they said created “holes” in the prosecution’s case, creating reasonable doubt, and calling for Widmer’s acquittal.

But Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Travis Vieux repeated several times: “accept the reasonable and reject the unreasonable.”

That phrase was also a fixture during Vieux’s opening statement and during prosecutors’ closing arguments in Widmer’s 2009 trial. A jury’s guilty verdict from that trial was set aside because of juror misconduct.

On Wednesday, Vieux told the jury that either Sarah Widmer had drowned way before her husband called 911, “or she never was in that bathtub at all – at least not her whole body.”

He stopped short of a specific description of an alternate drowning scenario and also didn’t directly allege there was a violent struggle between the couple.

Vieux said it was likely that Ryan Widmer delayed calling 911 so he could “re-set and put things back into place,” such as toiletry bottles on the bathtub’s edge. The alleged delay also would account for the suspiciously dry conditions around the drowning scene, he said.

Vieux also suggested that two bloodstains on the carpet – attributable to the bloody froth known to flow from a drowning victim’s mouth – indicated Widmer moved his wife’s body at some point.

Defense lawyer Hal Arenstein said there’s an innocent explanation for that.

“Why is it so hard to believe he had to move (her) further from the room to try to save his wife’s life?” Arenstein said, noting the cramped doorway of the bathroom adjacent to the master bedroom carpet where Sarah Widmer lay when medics found her.

Vieux discounted the defense experts’ opinions that Sarah Widmer could have suffered a sudden heart problem or seizure that contributed to her death. Defense experts were unable to diagnose Sarah Widmer “with any ailment at all,” Vieux said. “It is a mere possibility. … It only exists if you reject that it was murder.”

Widmer’s defense team asserts that the injuries found on Sarah Widmer’s head and neck areas can be explained by life-saving efforts. Under the defense theory, “these big goons are roughing her up,” as medics performed CPR, Vieux said. But many of the injuries typically associated with CPR, such as cracked ribs or broken teeth, were absent from Sarah Widmer’s body, Vieux said.

He said the only reasonable conclusion is that Sarah Widmer was murdered.

To begin his closing argument, Arenstein stood behind his client with a hand on Widmer’s shoulder. Arenstein described the romance that blossomed between Ryan Widmer and the former Sarah Steward, leading to their marriage, their purchase of a house, their plans to travel to Cancun, Mexico, and to adopt a puppy.

”It was surely the stuff that dreams are made of. It was their time to shine,” Arenstein said.

But on Aug. 11, 2008, 114 days into their marriage, “the dreams that Ryan and Sarah shared at that point turned into a nightmare,” Arenstein said, when she climbed into the bathtub and drowned.

Her bouts with migraines were well-known to her friends, co-workers and her husband, but not to the authorities that accused Widmer.

Since then, Widmer “has heard the whispers and the innuendo for a crime that never happened,” Arenstein said.

No one really knows what happened to Sarah Widmer, Arenstein said, not even the police and the prosecutors who accuse Widmer of murder.

“We have to deal with the frightening reality that people die, and we sometimes don’t know why that happens,” Arenstein said. “The State’s case is based upon assumptions, speculation and is nothing more than an invitation for you to use your imaginations.”

He said Vieux “spent the better part of an hour telling you what we didn’t prove instead of what they did prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Something unusual happened to Sarah Widmer, but authorities “assumed it must be the husband” who caused her death because he was the only other person there, Arenstein said.

The investigation was headed by Hamilton Township Lt. Jeff Braley, whom Arenstein described as having little experience in death investigations in a small community that hadn’t seen a fresh homicide in a decade.

Braley had explained that officers removed crime-scene tape and left the home, returning two days later to gather more evidence, because they didn’t realize they were dealing with a crime yet.

But Arenstein shot down that explanation.

“They took 40 items of evidence out of that house” the night Sarah drowned, Arenstein said, incredulous that would happen unless the authorities were convinced there had been a crime.

“They simply locked the door and they left,” he said. “That’s what they call ‘securing the crime scene.’”

Photographs showed items had been removed in the intervening two days, Arenstein pointed out – proof that “someone was in the bathroom,” and it’s unknown what may have been disturbed or contaminated before additional evidence was collected.

Police who failed to follow basic investigative principles cannot be relied upon, Arenstein said, adding, “If you can’t rely on the messengers, you can’t rely on the message.”

He urged the jury to believe the defense experts: Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist who said the injuries on Sarah Widmer were compatible with vigorous CPR – and Dr. Chandler Phillips, a Nobel Prize nominee who analyzed the dimensions of the bathrooms and the Widmers’ bodies and decided that “none of the State’s scenarios make any sense.”

He implored the jury: “Have your reasonable doubt today. … Send Ryan Widmer home to his family so he can finally begin to mourn the loss of his wife. … Do justice to the memory of Sarah Widmer and find Ryan Widmer not guilty.”

Assistant Prosecutor John Arnold wrapped up the prosecution’s closing argument by reminding the jury that the case is called “The State of Ohio vs. Ryan Widmer. … It is not the State of Ohio vs. the first responders, the police or the doctors and the nurses in the ER.”

Arnold also fired a volley at Spitz: “He just did not live up to the fanfare and the hype. … Even as professional witness for $5,000 a day, Dr. Spitz … could only speculate and offer you possibilities.”

Next, Arnold took aim at Phillips for reaching “his paid-for opinion” before he went to see the Widmer home in person.

Arnold said it was “beyond reasonable” to believe that Sarah Widmer suffered a problem that was “undiagnosed, unpredicted, untraceable – and it happened at just the right time.”

The jury deliberated for about 4½ hours Wednesday and will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Thursday. The jury in the first Widmer trial deliberated for 23 hours before reaching a verdict.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100526/NEWS0107/305260067/1055/NEWS/Widmer-trial-ends-with-twist
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed May 26, 2010 11:33 pm

Sherry wrote:Migraines, falling asleep, seeing spots, blurred vision. All of these symptoms I had suffered from the time I was 19 years old along with paralysis of my limbs, one at a time to my whole body, temporarily. Finally, a paralyzing episode scary enough happened to me to warrant the ER, not just making a doctor's appointment. For 25 years I was told it was hormonal imbalance and panic attacks. But they were not my problem; all along I was suffering minor strokes. I wonder if this was what Sarah suffered from. Many young people suffer these minor strokes and are misdiagnosed because of their age and health habits-many do not smoke and eat right.

I hope Ryan is acquited. I can't see how a jury had come to that decision in the first trial. AW made a good point as to why its not good that Ryan take the stand, but the previous jury said they wished they could have heard from him in that trial. I think Ryan would have handled it okay.

Thank you for sharing your story, Sherry, big hugs to you. I hope all is okay with you now.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Sherry on Thu May 27, 2010 12:39 am

Thanks, Piper~

Yes, I'm pretty much fine with a bit of lifestyle changes. Very Happy

I wonder if that would show up in an autopsy, that a major stroke happened to cause her drowning. When they did tests on me they couldn't find anything and started testing me for multiple sclerosis. They did find a tiny speck of plaque in the brain but many older people have that. Sarah wasn't old enough to have that in her brain.

There's also other reasons for falling asleep for no reason, but what was described of her symptoms made me think she may have had a stroke.

Not a bad defense closing argument-I hope the jury was convinced because, if not, I feel an innocent man is about to sit in a prison cell. Sad
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Sherry on Thu May 27, 2010 9:00 am

Estee, you mentioned the Savio case~

I found that Dr. Daniel Spitz, son of Dr. Werner U. Spitz, did have a bit part in the Savio autopsy report. He looked it over for the National Enquirer and gave his opinion. Here is an exerpt of the article at nationalenquirer.com

Forensic pathologist Dr. Daniel Spitz, medical examiner in Macomb County, Mich., examined the autopsy and inquest transcript for The ENQUIRER – and was stunned by the ruling.

“People don’t drown in bathtubs,” said Dr. Spitz. “I would have told the police I think this is a homicide. You need to go and investigate this like a homicide.”
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Thu May 27, 2010 9:05 am

Jury deliberating the fate of Ryan Widmer

Updated 8:55 AM Thursday, May 27, 2010

LEBANON — Jury deliberations begin today, May 27, for the second day in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial.

After about four hours on Wednesday, the jury elected to go home at 6:30 p.m. and start fresh this morning. The first time Widmer was on trial a year ago, the jury pressed on during the first day until almost midnight.

Bronson on Wednesday admonished the jury to stay away from newspapers, television and the Internet, but there were no restrictions on bathing. Widmer is accused of drowning his wife of four months, Sarah Widmer, in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. home on Aug. 11, 2008.

During deliberations in the first trial, jury members told others they experimented to see how long it would take them to air dry after bathing. Jury misconduct was found and Widmer was granted a new trial after he was convicted and sent to prison.

This is the third week of the retrial, which began on May 10. The first trial lasted nine days.

About an hour and a half after beginning deliberations Wednesday, the jury asked to look at the bathtub and a copy of Dr. Werner Spitz’s book, “Spitz And Fisher’s Medicolegal Investigation Of Death: Guidelines For The Application Of Pathology To Crime Investigation.”

The jury was not allowed a copy of Spitz’s book because it was not entered into evidence.

Defense attorney Lindsey Guitierrez left after closing statements and won’t be returning because her fiance’s mother died a few days ago and she had to travel to Kentucky for the funeral.

The judge told the jury of this development and said they should not think she is unconcerned about the outcome of the trial.

After 23 hours of deliberations in the first trial, the jury found Widmer guilty of murder. He also was charged with aggravated murder but the jury acquitted him of that charge. The gallery in the courtroom quickly turned from triumph to tears as the verdicts were read. One of Widmer’s uncles stormed out of court saying “small town justice.”

Widmer faces 15 years to life if convicted.

During closing statements, Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux reminded the jury of the theme he presented during his opening statement: “accept what is reasonable and reject what is unreasonable.” He then played the tape of the 911 call Widmer made after he reported finding his wife face down in their bathtub. Vieux urged the jury to remember that witnesses said the drowning scene was completely dry, including clothes, towels and a rug.

Prosecutors have maintained, and the jury in the first trial believed, Widmer drowned his wife and then staged the 911 call. Either there was an additional period of time or she was never in tub at all,” Vieux said. “At least not her whole body.

Vieux also asked the jurors to remember that Sarah Widmer had no family or personal history of cardiac or neurological problems, so it was unlikely she suffered a seizure or cardiac event.

“You must find beyond a reasonable doubt that Ryan Widmer purposefully took her life,” he said “Go over your notes, talk about the witnesses ... and look at the evidence. After you retire, you will return a just verdict, you will find him guilty.”

Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove found bruising on Sarah Widmer’s head and neck when he autopsied her the next day. He concluded her death was a homicide.

The defense maintains the bruising was caused by aggressive attempts to revive her. Medics stuck intravenous needles in both arms and her jugular vein, performed at least 3,000 chest compressions and tried to intubate her six times.

Vieux told the jury it wasn’t the people who were trying to save Sarah Widmer’s life who did the damage to her body. Ryan Widmer did, he said.

“There was no injury to her teeth or her trachea. Are we to believe that these big goons are roughing her up?” he said. “There was no injury to her sternum where hands are placed during compressions and there were no fractured ribs. The places we know force was being applied, there is no injury.”

The fact that Sarah Widmer may have complained to friends and co-workers about migraines, but not report the pain during several doctor visits in the last two years of her life should be considered, Vieux said. .

Defense attorney Hal Arenstein took aim at the prosecution’s case during closing statements, saying it was full of holes.

“The state’s case was based on assumptions and speculation and they offered you an invitation to use your imagination,” he said. “If you can’t rely on messengers, you can’t rely on the message.”

He pointed to mistakes made in the investigation, including police not securing the house, errors and omissions medics and hospital staff made on forms and inconsistent testimony from witnesses at the home.

Arenstein reminded the jury that Widmer drained the tub before he dialed 911 so there wouldn’t have been water splashing all about.He also noted inconsistencies in some of the state’s witnesses, but that all of the Widmers’ friends and co-workers said they were a perfect happy couple.

He asked the jurors to give both Widmers justice.

“You hold this young man’s life in your hands,” he said. “Please don’t have a reasonable doubt tomorrow or the next day or next week, have it today. Send him home to his family so he can finally grieve for his wife.”

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/crime/jury-deliberating-the-fate-of-ryan-widmer-731062.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Thu May 27, 2010 9:07 am

Sherry, I'm glad you're okay. How scary.

I see the jury also asked for Dr. Spitz's book....
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Thu May 27, 2010 10:47 am

Ryan Widmer Trial: Jury Deliberations LIVE

Travis Gettys is in court as the jury deliberates Ryan Widmer's fate

http://livewire.wlwt.com/Event/Ryan_Widmer_Trial_Jury_Deliberations
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Sherry on Thu May 27, 2010 10:58 am

Yes, they were denied that book, too, since it wasn't considered evidence. They must be taking the doctor's words seriously.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Thu May 27, 2010 11:19 am

My thoughts exactly, Sherry.

They are also chatting on Ryan's site:

http://freeryanwidmer.com/ryan-widmer

Dateline's cameras are inside the courtroom.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Sherry on Thu May 27, 2010 5:54 pm

Thanks, Piper~
I just got yourt message. I'll head over there now.

I take it nothing has been decided yet.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Fri May 28, 2010 10:45 am

nothing up on the courtroom blog...where is Travis and what is going on here???
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 11:06 am

Morning, Estee!

Here's Travis:
http://livewire.wlwt.com/Event/Ryan_Widmer_Trial_Jury_Deliberations_

There is no live chat on Ryan's site this morning, I don't know why.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Fri May 28, 2010 11:36 am

Thanks...I guess I was jumping the gun...to early for him to start...Going OK now...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 1:20 pm

Nothing going on, the jury has buzzed three times today. I think smoke breaks and now they are waiting on their lunch to be delivered.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 3:28 pm

Jury is split..........They've got to bring the jury back in and basically see if they think they can come to an agreement. Have to put an Allen charge on the record....summoning Ryan to court....

In United States jurisprudence, an Allen charge, named for the case Allen v. United States,164 U.S. 492, 501-502, 17 S.Ct. 154, 41 L.Ed. 528 (1896), is the set of instructions given to a jury when, after deliberation, it reports that it is deadlocked and unable to decide on a verdict. The purpose of the instruction is to encourage jurors to re-examine their opinions and attempt to reach a unanimous verdict if possible.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Fri May 28, 2010 3:39 pm

The Judge sent jury back to see if they can come to an agreement or if it will remain a stalemate...Tension is high...Might end in Hung Jury...time will tell....I'm sure this jury has plans for the holiday weekend and doesn't want to have to convene over the weekend...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 3:43 pm

Here's what the judge read to them:
This is a new and difficult assignment for you. The process of discussion and deliberation in the jury room is necessarily slow and requires consideration and patience. The secrecy which surrounds your efforts prevents others, including the court, from knowing when your efforts will result in a verdict.


2 VERDICT POSSIBLE-DEADLOCKED JURY. In a large proportion of cases, absolute certainty cannot be attained or expected. Although the verdict must reflect the verdict of each individual juror and not mere acquiescence in the conclusion of other jurors, each question submitted to you should be examined with proper regard and deference to the opinions of others. It is desirable that the case be decided. You are selected in the same manner, and from the same source, as any future jury would be. There is no reason to believe the case will ever be submitted to a jury more capable, impartial, or intelligent than this one. Likewise, there is no reason to believe that more or clearer evidence will be produced by either side. It is your duty to decide the case, if you can conscientiously do so. You should listen to one another's opinions with a disposition to be persuaded. Do not hesitate to reexamine your views and change your position if you are convinced it is erroneous. If there is disagreement, all jurors should reexamine their positions, given that a unanimous verdict has not been reached. Jurors for acquittal should consider whether their doubt is reasonable, considering that it is not shared by others, equally honest, who have heard the same evidence, with the same desire to arrive at the truth, and under the same oath. Likewise, jurors for conviction should ask themselves whether they might not reasonably doubt the correctness of a judgment not concurred in by all other jurors.



3 VERDICT IMPOSSIBLE. It is conceivable that after a reasonable length of time honest differences of opinion on the evidence may prevent an agreement upon a verdict. When that condition exists you may consider whether further deliberations will serve a useful purpose. If you decide that you cannot agree and that further deliberations will not serve a useful purpose you may ask to be returned to the courtroom and report that fact to the court. If there is a possibility of reaching a verdict you should continue your deliberations.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 3:45 pm

I wonder what the split ratio is?
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 3:55 pm

This is not good! If they cannot agree, I really don't see Rachel Hutzel dropping this......I don't know how these families could go through a third trial. The prosecution did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt!!

This is awful....
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 4:13 pm

I hope that's the situation......I appreciate you guys hanging in there with me on this.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 6:38 pm

Two buzzers.........courtroom filling back up.......attorneys and Ryan back in the courtroom. Rachel Hutzel in the room, the Warren County Prosecutor......
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 6:42 pm

Jury is willing to continue deliberations.

Judge says they have decided to come back Tuesday at 9am

Judge reminds them how important it is that they not talk to anyone or look at media reports of this case.

Says he's going to ask them Tuesday whether they complied with those orders.

Ryan looks as nervous as he's seen him, per Travis.

Urges them to have a great weekend.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Fri May 28, 2010 6:47 pm

OK so now we have 2 things to look forward to on Tuesday...I hope these jurors follow his instructions to the letter...Hopefully they can agree to agree on Tuesday...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri May 28, 2010 6:49 pm

I almost feel maybe these jurors should have been sequestered for the long weekend. Not to take away from a holiday weekend, I think considering this being a second trial and a man's life at stake, it may have been a good idea. I don't know. Maybe it's a good sign the judge felt comfortable with it.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Sun May 30, 2010 3:04 pm

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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:21 am

Travis is there already and blogging away...just waiting for the jury to agree to agree...I hope something happens today...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

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