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

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

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:59 am

Me too, Estee. He said the jury looked rested and Ryan looked a little better.
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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 11:28 am

I just don't think Ryan killed her...Don't think he had a motive...Life insurance??? They looked like the perfect couple...so happy with a life full of joy ahead of them...
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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 11:29 am

By the way doesn't Travis remind you of where's WALDO ???
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:48 pm

LOL, Estee. He does. Jurors are at lunch right now.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:29 pm

If he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, why would it be so hard for the jury to reach a unanimous verdict? The stalemate tells me that there is plenty of doubt.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:43 pm

And all of the fumblings of the EMT's and the 911 operator. No motive, no life insurance. What a tragedy for all of these people.
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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 5:02 pm

Fail to reach verdict !!!! Now what ????
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:43 pm

Widmer jury hung - dismissed

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • June 1, 2010

UPDATE: Jurors in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial returned to the courtroom just before 5 p.m. Tuesday and told the judge that they are hopelessly deadlocked and cannot reach a verdict.

"We have decided that we cannot agree," jurors told Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson. "There is no useful purpose for deliberating further."

The jury has been dismissed. There is no word yet whether prosecutors will attempt to put Widmer on trial a third time.

From earlier today:

With the Ryan Widmer murder retrial now in its 16th day, trial watchers are puzzled as to what is taking the jury so long to reach a verdict.

Warren County jurors passed 30 hours of deliberations Tuesday afternoon, surpassing the 23 hours that a jury spent last year to convict him of murder.

Widmer, 29, now living in Mason with his mother, is standing trial for a second time in the Hamilton Township bathtub drowning of his wife, Sarah, 24. The first jury's guilty verdict was set aside because of juror misconduct.

Two Widmer supporters can't believe it is taking the jury so long.

Wendy Barger, a former emergency-room nurse whose son went to school in Colerain Township with Widmer, says, "For every point the prosecution made toward his guilt, the defense came back with a scenario that pointed toward his innocence...that's reasonable doubt...and I can't figure out what they don't 'get.'"

Jill Bowman, who formerly worked in the emergency room with Barger at University Hospital and reconnected with Barger during the trial, said she had no prior connection to Widmer but took an interest in the trial because the events happened close to her Deerfield Township home and because she got curious about the medical aspects of the case.

"Then, I learned a little more about Ryan and I found out he wasn't a druggie, he didn't have a rap sheet."

Bowman said she decided to attend much of the retrial and tried to approach it with an open mind. "I wanted to see if I heard anything that would change my mind at all -- and I didn't...Ryan and his supporters have a logical explanation for everything that happened."

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100601/NEWS010702/306010056/Widmer-jury-reports-deadlock
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:51 pm

This link has a news video, I can't get the video posted:

http://www.wlwt.com/news/23752709/detail.html#
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:55 pm

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

Post by Snaz on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:58 pm

I feel so badly for Ryan and his family. I just can't imagine what it would be like to lose the spouse you love and then be charged with and tried for murder.

I was so hoping this jury would acquit him. Has anyone heard yet what the split was?

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

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:05 pm

There is "talk" of 10-2, not guilty...that's just talk though. I am watching the news now, attorneys are under gag order but the jurors are not. They hope to get interviews this evening....I hope they do.

Thanks J4A!
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Snaz on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:07 pm

Judge declares a hung jury in Widmer murder retrial

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer
Updated 5:14 PM Tuesday, June 1, 2010

LEBANON — A jury was not able to reach a verdict in the second trial of Ryan Widmer, who is accused in the 2008 murder of his wife.

The judge declared a hung jury today, June 1, and dismissed the jury that deliberated for four days after listening to 12 days of testimony.

The jury told Judge Neal Bronson they had reached an impasse after 20 hours of deliberations on Friday, May 28, but agreed to keep trying to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury began deliberating at 9 a.m. today.

It appears the prosecution’s strategy of proving Widmer killed Sarah Widmer by drowning her before he called 911 did not work. Widmer was tried and convicted last year of the same crime, but jurors who conducted “drying” experiments at home caused his conviction to be thrown out.

Widmer, 29, did not testify in either trial.

Emergency responders testified in both trials the drowning scene in the bathroom was dry and Sarah Widmer did not appear wet accept for her blonde hair.

Widmer told the 911 dispatcher on Aug. 11, 2008, he believed his wife had fallen asleep in the tub, saying she was prone to do that. The defense in the retrial called several witnesses to attest that Sarah Widmer suffered a medical emergency before she drowned in the tub.

One expert testified that it would be highly unlikely that Sarah Widmer suffered her first seizure in the bathroom that would have killed her. While she complained of headaches to friends and co-workers often, she never reported her migraines to any medical professionals. She also had no personal or family history of strokes or seizures.

And if she had a grand mal seizure occurred, the expert said it is unlikely she would have fallen forward in the tub because when a seizure occurs the body is convulsing and stiffening, not pliant, therefore falling backward is the norm. If she had been standing, seized and fallen, he said she likely would have cracked her head open. There were three bruises on her scalp but all the experts said they were fairly insignificant.

The jurors in the first trial put a lot of stock in the 911 tape. They used a stop watch to time everything out and concluded that Widmer staged the call. During closing arguments, Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux reminded the jury that Widmer dialed 911 twice, once from his phone and then seconds later called on his wife’s cell phone. Vieux said Widmer hung up the first time because he felt he needed to get his story straight.

The defense tried valiantly to discredit first responders and emergency room workers for sloppy work and inaccurate reports. They also hammered on the lead detective, Lt. Jeff Braley from Hamilton Twp., saying he was inexperienced — the township hasn’t had a “fresh” murder in a decade. They said he also neglected to follow proper crime scene protocols, such as securing the home as a crime scene and fully reporting people who came and went from the scene and the evidence he seized.

The defense maintained the livid bruises that appeared on Sarah Widmer’s head and neck were caused by aggressive efforts to save her life. First responders tried unsuccessfully six times to intubate her, they poked holes in both of her arms and the left jugular vein with IV needles and her chest was compressed over 3,000 times.


http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/judge-declares-a-hung-jury-in-widmer-murder-retrial-739168.html

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

Post by Snaz on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:09 pm

Piper, please keep us posted what you hear, ok?

My guess is if it was, indeed, a 10-2 split towards not guilty, the prosecution may elect not to try him again....... unless the judge dismisses all charges... which is what I really hope happens.

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

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:31 pm

I sure will. I have to leave for the airport to pick up my sister about 10:30pm. I really want to hear these jurors comments, I'm hoping all of them do not decline interviews.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:37 pm

Thanks for that link, AJ. One man's comment on there says he believes Ryan held Sarah by her head under water. But there were no defense wounds on Ryan from Sarah, no evidence of a struggle from Sarah. If someone was holding your head under water, being running or a tub full, your first instinct would be to grab their hands and kick your feet, IMO.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Snaz on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:43 pm

Questions linger after judge declares hung jury in Widmer retrial

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer Updated 6:26 PM Tuesday, June 1, 2010

LEBANON — After the judge in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial declared a “hung jury” Tuesday, June 1, the defendant’s family said it has some questions.

“What does this mean?” said Widmer’s stepmother, Kim Widmer. “I guess we should be happy they didn’t find him guilty, but I don’t know what this means ... This is weird, it’s not going to end, is it?”

Widmer is accused in the 2008 murder of his wife, Sarah, by drowning her in the bathtub of their home prior to calling 911.

On Tuesday, Judge Neal Bronson dismissed the jury that deliberated for four days after listening to 12 days of testimony.

The jury told him it had reached an impasse after 20 hours of deliberations on Friday, May 28, but agreed to keep trying to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury began deliberating again at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Neal Bronson thanked the jury of seven women, five men and two alternates and excused them after 31 hours of deliberations.

Bronson kept the gag order in place and the attorneys began polling jury members shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

They were still polling around 6 p.m.

Widmer was tried and convicted last year of the same crime, but jurors who conducted “drying” experiments at home caused his conviction to be thrown out.

What’s next?


The defense team could ask Judge Bronson to outright acquit Ryan Widmer, but Bronson denied the motion in the first trial, and again when the defense asked after they closed their case this time. If he does not free Ryan Widmer, it will be up to the prosecutors to decide whether or not to try him a third time.

When asked if the taxpayers of Warren County should have to pay for another trial, Gary Widmer said his son shouldn’t have been tried at all.

“They shouldn’t have been tasked with paying for a second time around. I don’t think the people of Warren County should have to pay for this,” he said.

Gary Widmer said he was “humbled” by all the people, strangers, who showed up every day in court to support his son.

Dr. Stephen Cruikshank of Hamilton Twp. is a supporter and is disappointed in Monday’s outcome.

I just think this a travesty, what happened today,” he said. “A group that have deliberate for as long as they have should be able to take the evidence and come to some conclusion, based on reasonable doubt and I think there was reasonable doubt,” Cruikshank said.

The trials

Ryan Widmer, 29, did not testify in either trial.

Emergency responders testified in both trials the drowning scene in the bathroom was dry and Sarah Widmer did not appear wet accept for her blonde hair.

Ryan Widmer told the 911 dispatcher on Aug. 11, 2008, he believed his wife had fallen asleep in the tub, saying she was prone to do that. The defense in the retrial called several witnesses to attest that Sarah Widmer suffered a medical emergency before she drowned in the tub.

One expert testified that it would be highly unlikely that Sarah Widmer suffered her first seizure in the bathroom that would have killed her. While she complained of headaches to friends and co-workers often, she never reported her migraines to any medical professionals. She also had no personal or family history of strokes or seizures.

And if a grand mal seizure occurred, the expert said it is unlikely she would have fallen forward in the tub because when a seizure occurs the body is convulsing and stiffening, not pliant, therefore falling backward is the norm. If she had been standing, seized and fallen, he said she likely would have cracked her head open. There were three bruises on her scalp, but all the experts said they were fairly insignificant.

The jurors in the first trial put a lot of stock in the 911 tape. They used a stop watch to time everything out and concluded that Widmer staged the call. During closing arguments, Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux reminded the jury that Widmer dialed 911 twice, once from his phone and then seconds later called on his wife’s cell phone. Vieux said Widmer hung up the first time because he felt he needed to get his story straight.

The defense tried valiantly to discredit first responders and emergency room workers for sloppy work and inaccurate reports. They also hammered on the lead detective, Lt. Jeff Braley from Hamilton Twp., saying he was inexperienced — the township hasn’t had a “fresh” murder in a decade. They said he also neglected to follow proper crime scene protocols, such as securing the home as a crime scene and fully reporting people who came and went from the scene and the evidence he seized.

The defense maintained the livid bruises that appeared on Sarah Widmer’s head and neck were caused by aggressive efforts to save her life. First responders tried unsuccessfully six times to intubate her, they poked holes in both of her arms and the left jugular vein with IV needles and her chest was compressed over 3,000 times.


http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/questions-linger-after-judge-declares-hung-jury-in-widmer-retrial-739168.html

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

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:53 pm

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Hung Jury Ends Retrial in Ohio Bathtub Murder Case

Post by KariBear on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:40 pm

Hung Jury Ends Retrial in Ohio Bathtub Murder Case

June 1, 2010

Ending a four-week trial that had captured national media attention, an Ohio jury today announced it was unable to reach a verdict in the case of Ryan Widmer, a 29-year-old man accused of drowning his wife in their bathtub nearly two years ago.

"We have decided that we cannot agree," the jurors told Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson.

When the case first went to trial last year, Widmer was convicted of murder; however, that verdict was later thrown out after three of the jurors admitted to misconduct.

An Ohio jury announced Tuesday that it could not reach a verdict in Ryan Widmer's case. Widmer, here in court last month, is accused of killing his wife in August 2008.

Now prosecutors will have to decide if they want to try Widmer a third time.

The case began on the evening of Aug. 11, 2008, when Widmer called 911 and said he had found his wife, 24-year-old Sarah Widmer, lifeless in the bathtub at their Hamilton Township home. When paramedics arrived, they intubated Sarah and performed CPR but were unable to revive her.

When questioned by police, Widmer said he believed his wife's death was an accident and said it was not uncommon for her to fall asleep in the bathtub. Suspicions were raised, though, when paramedics told police the bathtub was dry when they arrived.

Three days later, authorities ruled Sarah's drowning a homicide, claiming evidence found at the scene contradicted Widmer's version of events. As a result, he was arrested and charged with murder.

Widmer was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, but the verdict was overturned when three jurors admitted to conducting their own experiments to see how long it would take for a tub to dry after bathing.

When the case went back to trial last month, Widmer's defense attorneys claimed the small-town police force -- which had not investigated a homicide in at least 10 years -- was not sufficiently well versed in murder investigations.

In an effort to show Sarah's death was accidental, defense attorney Hal Arenstein presented testimony from forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, who has testified in several high-profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases. Spitz said he conducted a second autopsy on Sarah and determined that while the cause of death was drowning, the manner of death was "undeterminable."

In addition, several of Sarah's friends took the stand and related to the jury how she had been complaining of head and neck pain in the weeks leading up to her death. They also said she had suffered bouts of sleepiness, migraines and blurry vision.

In wrapping up the case for the defense, Arenstein said no one really knows what happened to Sarah Widmer.

"We have to deal with the frightening reality that people die, and we sometimes don't know why that happens," he said.

In arguing his case, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Travis Vieux relied on testimony from Dr. James Moore, director of the electroencephalography lab at Ohio State University. Moore told the jury he had examined Sarah's medical records and found no evidence she was suffering from a medical condition or was a candidate for a seizure.

As further evidence of murder, the prosecution pointed to bruising on Sarah's body as indication of a struggle. (The defense claimed the injuries were caused by resuscitation efforts.)

Another key witness for the prosecution was Sarah's mother, Ruth Ann Steward, who testified that Widmer and her daughter had been bickering before their marriage and that Widmer kept too close an eye on Sarah's spending habits.

"We would be out shopping and as soon as she would buy something, he would call her on her cell phone and ask her why she bought it and did she really need it," Steward said.

Prosecutors were hoping Steward's testimony would help show motive in the case, as Hamilton Township Police Department's lead detective, Lt. Jeff Braley, previously testified he was unable to determine one.

During closing arguments, Vieux said the dry conditions around the drowning scene were likely a result of Widmer's delaying his 911 call so he could stage the scene.

The seven-woman and five-man jury began deliberating the case on May 26 and continued to do so until today, when they notified the judge they were at an impasse.

Following the hearing, none of the parties involved was able to discuss the ruling because of a gag order that remains in effect. However, Widmer did share his reaction as the jury left the courtroom.

"I just want this to be over," Widmer said. "I'm disappointed. Obviously, I should be found not guilty."

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

Post by Piper on Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:55 pm

Prosecutor has 'tough call' whether to try Ryan Widmer again

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • June 2, 2010

Now that Ryan Widmer's second trial ended in a hung jury, Warren County authorities must make a "tough call" in deciding whether Widmer will face a third trial in the bathtub drowning of his wife, says Mike Allen, former Hamilton County prosecutor.

"Somebody’s going to have the guts to step up to the plate and make a tough call," said Allen, who is now a defense lawyer. "Whether that’s Judge (Neal) Bronson or Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel, I don’t know. But someone needs to put an end to this."

While defense lawyers almost certainly will be asking Bronson to acquit Widmer, Hutzel will be weighing competing interests to decide whether to dismiss the murder charge that Widmer, 29, has faced since his wife, Sarah, 24, drowned almost two years ago in their Hamilton Township bathtub.

Those factors include how the hung jury's vote was divided for conviction and acquittal, the wishes of Sarah Widmer's family, and public opinion about devoting taxpayers' dollars and resources to a third trial, Allen said.

Everyone wants to know: How many jurors were voting for acquittal and how many for conviction?

So far, the jury's split has not been divulged. Allen said it's critical for defense lawyers and prosecutors to know what the vote was. If the vote strongly favored conviction, that could push prosecutors to believe chances would be good for a guilty verdict. If the vote strongly favored acquittal, prosecutors might be less gung-ho about pursuing a third trial, Allen said.

As a practical matter, both sides also face the fact that, as time passes, witnesses' memories can fade and that could affect their testimony. Also, "good luck getting them to court for the third time, too," Allen said.

Although prosecutors can and do take actions against the wishes of crime victims' families, Allen said that, when he was prosecutor, "I felt that family's feelings were important and I certainly think that Rachel Hutzel would take that into consideration....I think you give it a lot of weight. I know I did. But at the end of the day, though, the decision has to be made by the elected prosecutor."

Hutzel and others connected to the case cannot discuss it with reporters under a gag order that Bronson issued at prosecutors' request.

Hutzel is unopposed in November her bid to become a judge on the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown, which handles cases from an eight-county area, including Warren County. The six-year term as appeals judge begins Feb. 10, 2011.

Hutzel almost certainly must consider the cost of a retrial, Allen said.

"It's not the determining factor but it is a factor," he said, estimating that the amount expended already must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A guilty verdict following a nine-day trial in 2009 was thrown out because of juror misconduct, and the 16-day retrial ended in a hung jury Tuesday.

As for public opinion, Allen said, "A prosecutor may not admit that it’s part of the equation but it certainly is. Prosecutors have to stand in front of the voters every four years…public sentiment, I do think is a part of this."

Public opinion also could push the case out of Warren County, Allen said. If prosecutors decide to re-try the case, it will be even more difficult to seat an impartial jury for a third trial because Widmer's case has saturated local TV, radio and newspaper coverage.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20100602/NEWS010702/306020050/
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:02 pm

Juror says vote in Widmer trial was likely 10-2 to convict

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer
Updated 6:15 PM Wednesday, June 2, 2010

LEBANON — The jury in the Ryan Widmer murder retrial never took a final vote, but one juror said the count was likely 10 to 2 to convict.

The woman, a former paramedic who asked not be identified, said two jurors were staunchly behind a not guilty verdict the entire time.

After 12 days of testimony and 31 hours of deliberations, the jury in the Widmer retrial told Judge Neal Bronson it could not make a decision on the verdict. Widmer is accused of drowning his wife, Sarah Widmer, in the bathtub of their home on Aug. 11, 2008. He was convicted of the murder last year, but the conviction was thrown out after jury misconduct was found.

She said when the jury took its first vote on Friday, May 28, there were five votes for guilt, three for acquittal and four on the fence when it first reported the jury was at an impasse.

The on-the-fence jurors and one of the not guilty jurors seemed to be swaying over to the guilty side, but two women were firmly entrenched in Widmer’s innocence, she said.

“There was no smoking gun that said yes Ryan did it,” she said. “And they could not get past that.”

The juror said they were not impressed with either of the defense’s star witnesses, Dr. Werner Spitz, a world-renowned forensic pathologist, and Dr. Chandler Phillips, an engineer, medical doctor and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

The jury asked to see Spitz’s textbook about an hour after they started deliberating and again an hour before they announced they were deadlocked. The jury was denied both times because the book wasn’t entered into evidence.

The juror said some jurors wanted the text book to study Spitz’s theory of hemodilution and how water suffused blood could have exacerbated the bruising on Sarah Widmer’s neck.

“Some of us didn’t find him as credible, even though he had an awesome resume. He is 80-some years old and in a lot of his testimony he said the injuries were on the wrong side of her body,” she said. “He did other things that he kind of lost credibility. We wanted to see the book, but I never personally wanted it because I thought it would confuse people with the terminology and these people would have had no clue what it meant.”

She recommended the prosecution retry Widmer a third time.

“I would like to see Sarah and her family get the justice,” she said. “And a hung jury doesn’t get them that justice.”

As a former medic, the juror said when they examined autopsy photos of the bruises on Sarah Widmer’s neck and chest, the hemorrhages were just too deep to have been caused by heroic efforts to save her. The defense claimed that the bruising was caused when medics stuck an IV needle into her jugular vein, and both arms, when they tried unsuccessfully to intubate her six times.

“They wanted to try and blame it on the resuscitation,” she said. “People kept wanting to talk about the Sellicks maneuver and cricoid pressure. I have done it personally and for that bruise to be all the way to thyroid cartilage on the front of her neck, that person would have had to try to shove her trachea out the back end of her neck to get that kind of bruise, that deep, right to the bone.”

This time around defense lawyers also showed ghastly bruises on Sarah Widmer’s arms that the first jury never saw. The juror said she was leaning toward a not guilty verdict when she saw those, but on further examination, she said those bruises didn’t appear to be as deep as the ones on the neck.

“Those arms really said something to me at first,” she said. “But that does not explain the throat and the chest. I just don’t buy that.”

The defense also pointed out several inconsistencies in first responder’s testimonies and incomplete and incorrect records the medics and hospital filed. As a former medic she said she wasn’t pleased with the sloppiness, but Sarah Widmer was already dead when they arrived on the scene.

Jurors in the first trial and the retrial also found the 911 call Widmer made suspicious.

“The first words out of a man’s mouth should be please come help, my wife is dead,” she said. “The first words out of his mouth was she fell asleep.”

The juror said they elected the statistician from Procter & Gamble as their foreman and he was devastated when they couldn’t render a decision.

“He took it personally on the chin that he did not do his job by us being a hung jury,” she said. “He was phenomenal at his job.”

When contacted at his office today, the jury foreman said he didn’t want to talk about the trial.

Widmer’s defense has 14 days to file a motion for an acquittal. Rob Dziech, who was co-counsel on the first trial — when the jury found him not guilty of aggravated murder but guilty of murder — says if any judge might decide to free Widmer, it would be Judge Neal Bronson.

“From what I know of him, he is willing to do hard things,” he said. “I can say that probably out of all the judges out there, he is probably the most likely to rule on a motion to acquit.”

Mark Krumbein, a seasoned defense attorney who spent a good deal of time in the courtroom during the 16 days of trial, said Bronson, though he has rejected prior requests for acquittal in this case, could free Widmer. Bronson is one of eight judges in the state to go against a jury recommendation for the death penalty, he said.

However, David Fornshell, who has indicated he might throw his hat in the ring to replace Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel when she eventually leaves to become a judge on the 12th District of Appeals, disagreed.

“I would think the judge will likely let the prosecution make the decision on whether they feel confident enough in their case to tee it up for a third time,” he said. “They won one and they lost one.”

Author of the “Free Ryan Widmer” website, Mike Mayleben, said they will not stop their fight.

“Now it’s just full court press on the prosecutor’s office to show them a lot of people don’t want them to have a third trial,” Mayleben said.


http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/juror-says-vote-in-widmer-trial-was-likely-10-2-to-convict-742070.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:03 pm

Widmer Juror Calls Willie
Juror says most jurors were in favor of conviction, believes Ryan Widmer should face a third trial.

By 700WLW News
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

( The Big One ) - A member of the Ryan Widmer retrial jury called in to Bill Cunningham's show on Wednesday. She declined to identify herself, but said she does have emergency medical training, and she believes Ryan Widmer killed his wife.

She says after the Memorial Day weekend, the jury was divided 10 to 2 in favor of conviction on Tuesday, before they told the judge they didn't believe they'd ever reach a unanimous decision.

Listen to the interview: Part 1 | Part 2


http://www.700wlw.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=119585&article=7189476
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:32 pm

It looks like Ryan will most likely go through a third trial............if it was 10 - 2 to convict as this woman stated, they won't acquit........
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:45 pm

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

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:47 pm

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

Post by Piper on Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:17 am

I'm glad the jurors spoke out, I was anxious to hear their thoughts.

So it's the bruising that made their decision to vote guilty. I can't get past the fact that she didn't defend herself if being held underwater........that's my problem with it. I think you would instinctively reach for the killer's hands/arms and kick your feet. He couldn't have held both of her arms and her neck unless he was on top of her and used his knees to hold her arms down. What was his motive to kill her?
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:51 pm

Jurors: Widmer jury split was closer

By Janice Morse
June 5, 2010

A pair of jurors in the Ryan Widmer retrial say they want to set the record straight: Seven of 12 jurors were convinced of his guilt, while four would have voted to acquit and one remained undecided.

In interviews Saturday, two Warren County women spoke on condition of anonymity, saying other jurors were inaccurate when they estimated a 10-2 split in favor of conviction.

"I think they had the mistaken impression that the people that were undecided -- or kind of quieter -- were leaning toward guilty," said a legal assistant who lives in Hamilton Township.

That woman and four other jurors granted interviews to WKRC-TV Channel 12 as a group Friday evening, confirming that four of them favored acquittal and one was undecided. At least two jurors who were in favor of guilt have also spoken publicly.

There was no formal final vote among jurors, but one guilty-voting juror estimated a 10-2 split and encouraged prosecutors to "go for it" and take Widmer to a third trial.

"I was really bothered that people had come out and gave an actual count that we never took," said a juror who lives in Mason and works as a manufacturing manager.

Even without a vote, it was clear that the jury was hopelessly deadlocked after 31 hours of deliberations, jurors said.

The Hamilton Township woman said she wants authorities to take the accurate juror tally into consideration when weighing whether to hold a third trial for Widmer. "Even the general public should know: It wasn't so cut-and-dried like that," she said.

The second juror, the manufacturing manager who lives in Mason, argues against a third trial.

"I don't think that they should (hold a third trial). I don't think there was enough evidence. It's going to be a huge drain on that whole family to have to go through all that, and I imagine a huge drain on Sarah's family, too," she said. "With the evidence that was presented, you're always going to have somebody on there that thinks there's too much doubt."
'He was convicted before'

That's just the way the evidence in this puzzling case is, the Mason woman said.

She's also concerned that some jurors' prior knowledge of the case may have exerted an unfair influence.

While the jury was lamenting that they might never be able to reach a unanimous agreement, someone piped up and said that another jury had unanimously agreed and "he was convicted before."

"That just didn't sit well with me," she said.

Jurors who admitted previous knowledge about the case were instructed to set aside all of that and rely solely on information presented in court.

The Mason juror said on Saturday it just occurred to her that the previous jury that convicted Widmer had done so after failing to follow instructions.

"I don't think anybody in our jury room considered that. They (the previous jurors) were out doing their own experiments and tests, and it really wasn't based on the evidence represented. That sheds doubt on that whole trial and it was thrown out -and it should have been."

Though she was not convinced of Widmer's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the Mason juror concedes there are odd things about the situation surrounding Sarah Widmer's death. But there also are non-sinister ways of looking at virtually all of the allegedly incriminating evidence, she said.

"With her (Sarah Widmer's body) being dry and the bathroom being dry, if he drowned her, she would be fighting, so there would be water everywhere. The prosecution was trying to rest everything on her being dry and I thought that worked against them as much as it worked for them," the Mason woman said. "I just couldn't make that leap...

"Everybody seemed so rehearsed. The first thing out of their mouth as soon as the prosecutor asked the question, it was: She was dry."

The Mason juror said she couldn't go along with fellow jurors who were voting guilty because, "I just couldn't make all the inferences they were making."

Under the jury rules, described in the accompanying article, a juror may make one inference based upon a fact, but cannot build inferences upon other inferences.

"I just felt they were making up too many of those scenarios. I kept saying, 'We don't know that's what happened; there's no evidence showing that," the Mason woman said.

One juror, a former paramedic, described a detailed "theory" of a possible drowning scenario on WLW radio earlier this week.

But the Mason woman says she thinks coming up with scenarios goes beyond what she was supposed to do as a juror.

"There was just so much speculation in this trial...and people were able to convince themselves that their thought process was the way this could have happened," she said. "I think everybody was trying to do a good job. People perceive things differently. I just couldn't see it the way they saw it."
'I'm never going to figure this out'

As some jurors were speculating whether Sarah Widmer could have suffered a sudden heart problem or seizure -- as defense lawyers argued was possible -- the Mason woman said she realized, "We are not here to decide that. We are here to decide whether he forcefully drowned her in the water."

The Mason woman said the unrebutted testimony of Chandler Phillips, a professor in human factors and Nobel Prize nominee, resonated with her when he talked about the cramped conditions of the bathroom, the measurements of the couple's arms and legs, and other factors.

"I'm trying to imagine in that little bitty bathroom how great big Ryan Widmer could be in there with little bitty Sarah, and end up with no injuries on Ryan and no visible external injuries on Sarah, at least not on the initial autopsy."

The Mason woman said she has heard news accounts of "people that seem to be healthy and they die."

At one point, she felt exasperated: "I'm never going to figure this out. Then I realized, 'I don't have to.'"

"All I was there to do was to see if the state proved their case."

The Mason woman says the experience of being a juror has affected her deeply.

"It scares me a lot about our justice system," she said. "If something happened to one of our kids or somebody in my house, I hate to think that the first thought of somebody is to think that I must have done something bad. Everybody's looking for a reason to blame someone else. Bad things happen. It doesn't always have to be somebody else's fault."


http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100605/NEWS010702/6060334/Jurors-Widmer-split-closer
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:05 pm

Will a local jury ever be able to try Widmer?

Janice Morse
June 5, 2010
Last Updated: 5:18 pm

Will it ever be possible for a local jury to determine the guilt or innocence of newlywed Ryan Widmer in the bathtub drowning of his young wife?

That's the key question after his murder retrial ended in a hung jury Tuesday, leaving Warren County prosecutors and a judge to ponder if the Hamilton Township murder case will head to a third trial.

The jury, hopelessly deadlocked but leaning toward guilt, provided the latest twist in a case that spawned spirited public debate on several fronts:

Did Widmer do it? If he did, is there enough evidence to prove his guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt?"

Did authorities handle the case properly?

Do juries fully grasp the concepts of "reasonable doubt" and "innocent until proven guilty?"

The two Widmer trials - his 2009 conviction was set aside because of juror misconduct - infiltrated the lives of untold numbers of people who usually pay little or no attention to news or court cases.

The intrigue arises from hotly debated circumstantial evidence combined with a newlywed, college-educated couple torn apart - either by homicide or a bizarre tragedy - in suburbia.

People from all walks of life followed the case, showing up in court, posting opinions on Internet comment boards, and some even joining a "Free Ryan Widmer" group. That website reports 800,000 page views since its inception.

Among the frequent spectators at the retrial was longtime Cincinnati lawyer Mark Krumbein. He was surprised at how many people - including strangers to Widmer - took off time from their jobs to watch the retrial in Lebanon.

"I've never seen this phenomenon before - and I've handled dozens and dozens of homicides...and I've not seen it in anyone else's cases," said Krumbein, a lawyer for 27 years who also served briefly as a prosecutor. "It's strongly polarized the community."

Attorney Mike Allen, a former police officer, municipal judge and Hamilton County prosecutor, agrees the case has drawn wider public interest than just about any that he can recall - and an unprecedented show of support for the accused rather than "revulsion."

That may be because people could envision themselves in the position of Ryan Widmer, or of his wife, Sarah, a 24-year-old dental hygienist in Fort Thomas. Widmer, 29, remains accused of murder but is free on $400,000 bond, under orders that he live with his mother in Mason.

Now living in Botany Hills, Ky., former Warren County resident Mike Mayleben says he knows of men who worry that, if their wives suddenly died, might they be accused of murder "just because they're the only other person there?"

Mayleben, who founded FreeRyanWidmer.com when he was a stranger to the Widmer family, wonders: "If Sarah's mother had been there instead of Ryan, would we be here today?"

"I think this case just kind of hits close to home with people - that something like this could happen pretty much to anyone," he said.

Krumbein notes some women seem to easily identify with Sarah Widmer.

"A lot of women are telling me they think he was guilty," Krumbein said, including an EMT who said, "You just don't die with no medical reason."

Because of the pervasive publicity and sharply divided opinions, Allen now thinks seating an unbiased jury may be next to impossible.

If prosecutors forge ahead with a third trial, the case might have to be retried outside Warren County, he said.

Prospective jurors are asked if they have read or heard anything about the case, then they are asked if they can set that aside and decide the case solely on courtroom evidence.

"They can mouth those words," Allen said, "but if I'm the judge, I have to wonder whether that's actually possible."

It's also a superhuman effort to set aside ingrained biases, Krumbein said.

"Once we hear someone has been indicted for murder, a lot of us have been brought up to think, 'He must be guilty,'" he said.

During jury selection, some prospective Widmer jurors made statements showing they didn't understand the presumption of innocence, prompting Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson to explain further.

One woman who initially stated that defense lawyers must prove their client was innocent "beyond all doubt" ended up on the Widmer jury. Her ultimate opinion of the evidence is undisclosed; she is not among the jurors who have granted post-trial interviews.

Presumption of innocence goes hand-in-hand with the concept of reasonable doubt, Krumbein said.

Judges instruct jurors about reasonable doubt, and they ask the jurors: "Can you follow the law?"

"Everybody nods their heads and says, 'Yes,' " Krumbein said. "But many people don't fully believe it in their hearts or fully accept it. They always think that the defendant has to prove his innocence. That's why people on the street are saying, 'Why didn't Ryan Widmer take the stand?'"

Widmer did not testify in either trial.

In both trials, prosecutors argued that whatever doubt exists was not reasonable doubt. They said it was far-fetched to believe that a seemingly healthy 24-year-old woman would suffer a sudden medical problem and drown in her bathtub, as defense lawyers claim. They say Sarah Widmer's drowning had to be forced, based on injuries on her head and neck areas - and a suspiciously dry drowning scene that they argue was "staged."

But the defense witnesses testified that those the injuries could have been caused by life-saving efforts, and that Sarah Widmer's bouts of sleepiness, seeing spots and having headaches could have shown she suffered an undiagnosed malady.

Defense lawyers also attacked authorities, alleging they rushed to judgment without fully investigating first. They also hammered on investigative mistakes such as police leaving the alleged crime scene unguarded for two days before returning to gather more evidence. But prosecutors said "nitpicking" such mistakes didn't change the facts surrounding Sarah Widmer's death.

Allen said he knows of "darned few" citizens who think Widmer should have been convicted.

And people appear heavily opposed to a retrial, based on unscientific polls of three local news websites.

Yet among 24 jurors in two trials, as many as 22 may have thought Widmer was guilty or were leaning that way.

So there's a disconnect between public opinion and jurors' opinions.

"It shows that people may be losing faith in our criminal justice system," Allen said.

Jurors see and hear every bit of testimony, whereas the public relies on news summaries and comments from legal experts.

But spectators who sat through much or all of Widmer's trial say they saw reasons to acquit Widmer, and they're having a hard time understanding why so many jurors felt otherwise.

Krumbein notes: "If the jurors knew he had been convicted of murder once already, that could have been a subconscious influence...that's a lot to put out of your mind."

Prosecutors fought hard for a conviction, saying they were seeking justice for Sarah Widmer.

The judge's gag order prevents prosecutors, defense lawyers and witnesses, including Sarah Widmer's mother and brother, from commenting now.

The case could head any of several directions.

Defense lawyers are expected to ask the judge to acquit Widmer - a long shot, most observers say.

At the same time, Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel will be deciding whether to retry the case a third time, weighing multiple factors including the wishes of Sarah Widmer's family and what she believes is in the best interest of justice.

Whatever happens, the case left an indelible mark on those who have followed it closely.

Mollie Mihalik of West Chester, who attended the entire retrial, said: "Long after this case is over, I still will have serious doubts about the judicial system in this country."


http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100605/NEWS010702/6060303/Will-a-local-jury-ever-be-able-to-try-Widmer-
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Julie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:26 am

Thanks AJ for the update, I hope his mother, Jill, will be released soon.

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

Post by Piper on Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:19 am

Thanks AJ.....here's the latest:

Ryan Widmer trial judge sets dates for motions
Will he be acquitted? Will there be third trial? Decisions months away

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • June 8, 2010

It will be at least two months before we learn what happens next in the Ryan Widmer case, court documents filed Tuesday reveal.

Do you think the Warren County prosecutor's office should have a third trial for Ryan Widmer in the drowning death of his wife Sarah in 2008?

Yes

(1325) 18.33%

No

(5641) 78.04%

Unsure

(262) 3.62%


Total Votes: 7228


After two mistrials, Warren County authorities have begun considering whether Widmer, 29, will be acquitted outright or will face a third trial on a murder charge in the 2008 bathtub drowning of his new wife, Sarah, 24, at their home in Hamilton Township. She worked as a dental hygienist in Fort Thomas and her husband had been a sports-marketing manager in Mason.

On Tuesday, Judge Neal Bronson filed a scheduling order that shows he has extended the deadline for defense lawyers to file a motion for acquittal, in which they will be asking Bronson to find Widmer not guilty, cutting off any further prosecution of their client.

Such a motion normally would have to be filed within 14 days of the date that the mistrial was declared; in this case, that would have been next Tuesday.

But Bronson's order set June 30 as the new deadline; prosecutors have until July 20 to respond.

If the lawyers have any new points to argue, they will be presented in a hearing Bronson set for Aug. 3 in Common Pleas Court, Lebanon.

Mike Allen, former Hamilton County prosecutor and current defense lawyer, says he is "a little surprised" the acquittal-hearing date is that far away, but says the judge must have good reasons for the delay.

Allen said he expects the judge to take some additional time after the hearing to render his decision - possibly a week or two - although the judge could issue his ruling at any time.

If Bronson turns down defense lawyers' motion for acquittal, Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel must decide whether to send the case to a third trial.

Should the case go to a third trial, the parties would have to decide whether to move the trial outside Warren County.

Allen has been offering comment on the case since Bronson issued a gag order preventing lawyers and witnesses from discussing the case with reporters.

He says it would be extremely difficult to seat an impartial jury for a third trial because of the publicity.

At least one juror has revealed that, during deliberations, a fellow juror mentioned Widmer had previously been convicted - a fact that should not have entered into the deliberations because jurors promised to base their decision solely on facts about the case from court and to set aside all other information they had gathered from news media, social discussions or other sources.

Widmer's 2009 trial ended in a guilty verdict but Bronson threw out the conviction, saying jury misconduct tainted the trial's result. Some jurors conducted experiments on how long it takes a wet body to air-dry.

Widmer's retrial, which began May 10, ended June 1 after jurors reported they were hopelessly deadlocked after almost 31 hours of deliberations.

The jury vote, if one had been taken, was sharply divided, but was leaning toward guilty: seven votes guilty, four not guilty and one undecided, jurors said in post-trial interviews.

Bronson lifted the gag order from jurors as he dismissed them, but as of Tuesday the gag order remained in force for everyone else connected to the case, including Sarah Widmer's mother and brother. Her father, Michael, died the year before Sarah did.

Under a previous court order, Widmer, who grew up in Colerain Township, is free on $400,000 bond and is required to live with his mother, Jill, in Mason.

She was hospitalized last week for health problems believed to be related to the stress of her son's case, but was recently released from the hospital, family friends said Tuesday.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100608/NEWS010702/6090366/Widmer-case-Big-decisions-ahead
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:00 pm

Widmer jurors say more were in favor of not guilty verdict

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer
7:35 PM Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LEBANON — More jurors from the Ryan Widmer murder trial have come forward and said additional jury members were against convicting the accused than earlier reported.

Jurors said no vote was taken, but last week a former paramedic who served on the jury said it would have been likely 10-2 in favor of convicting Widmer, who is accused of drowning his young wife, Sarah Widmer, in 2008.

However, a manufacturing manager from Mason who served on the jury said Wednesday, June 9, she and three other people were in favor of a not guilty verdict. The juror said she called five other jurors at home to confirm how they were leaning.

“We just want to get the right count out there because we don’t want Judge Bronson to have the wrong information,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of time and energy invested in this trial and I feel like it’s unfair in the end to take all the work we did and twist it. I don’t think she did anything purposefully, but I don’t want it to be misrepresented to the court.”

The jury declared itself hung after 31 hours of deliberations and a 16 day trial on June 1. It was the second trial for Widmer. He was convicted in his first trial a year go, but he the verdict was thrown out after jury misconduct was found.

The jurors in favor of the not guilty verdict said they made their decision based on the prosecution not being able to show discord in the Widmer’s four-month old marriage and that there was no “smoking gun.”

A legal assistant from Hamilton Twp., who was one of two who would not budge from her opinion of not guilty, said a number of factors weighed in her decision.

“I just didn’t see any evidence he killed her,” she said. “There was no sign of a struggle, no defensive wounds on either of them and none of his DNA was under her fingernails. That’s plenty for me for reasonable doubt.”

The legal assistant said she hopes Bronson, who never asked the vote tally, ends the case with an acquittal for Widmer.

“For me, the evidence just was not there and I do not think he should be retried,” she said.

Another juror from Lebanon said the prosecution’s case was “weak” and renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, who has written more than a dozen papers on drowning, should have been given more credence than Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove, who has done no similar studies.

She also said the prosecution “flat out lied” when they said the magazines strewn about the bathroom were dry. When they got in the jury room, she said it was obvious the periodicals were crinkled and had been wet.

Several jurors knew about the case going into the trial and the juror from Mason said she thinks that knowledge may have infiltrated the deliberations.

“I think people had reservations about thinking that he wasn’t guilty because he had already been convicted,” she said.

The former paramedic juror could not be reached for comment regarding the other juror’s revelations about the jury vote.

http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/widmer-jurors-say-more-were-in-favor-of-not-guilty-verdict-754706.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:16 pm

Ryan Widmer's Attorneys File Request For Acquittal

July 1, 2010

Late this afternoon, Ryan Widmer's attorneys filed this 26-page motion asking a Warren County judge to throw out the murder case and acquit their client.

Widmer's murder retrial ended in a hung jury last month. He's accused of drowning his wife, Sarah, in their Hamilton Township home in 2008.

In the motion, Widmer's attorneys argue it would be impossible for any future jury to reach a unanimous decision in this case.

They accuse prosecutors of not offering a concrete theory of how the crime occurred, saying prosecutors instead floated several speculative theories of how Ryan may have drowned his wife.

They also point out the jury in Widmer's first trial only convicted him after considering improper information and conducting their own tests. That decision was thrown out by the judge.

The prosecution has until July 21 to file a response to this motion.


http://www.local12.com/content/breaking_news/story/Ryan-Widmers-Attorneys-File-Request-For-Acquittal/gqozmjZL-k63USk5Ek28sQ.cspx
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:39 pm

Widmer defense: Drowning victim had undisclosed heart condition
Attorneys file motion asking for an acquittal for Ryan Widmer after mistrial.

Updated 8:15 AM Friday, July 2, 2010

LEBANON — Sarah Widmer, whose husband is accused in her drowning death, had a previously undisclosed heart condition, Ryan Widmer’s defense team said Thursday, July 1, in a motion asking a Warren County judge to acquit him.

Widmer, 29, stands accused of drowning his wife in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. home in August 2008.

Medical records obtained from Sarah Widmer’s employer showed she had a heart murmur as a child, even though her mother, Ruth Ann Steward, testified that she had no prior heart condition or history, according to a motion filed by attorneys Jay Clark, Lindsey Gutierrez and Hal Arenstein.

In a medical history questionnaire Sarah Widmer filled out Oct. 5, 2006, for her employer John Becker, Widmer, then using her maiden name Sarah Steward, circled ‘yes’ to the question, “Have you ever been told by a physician that you have a heart murmur?” then scribbled “as a child” in the margin.

“Ruth Ann Steward will have to explain forgetting Sarah’s heart murmur,” the Widmer defense team wrote. “Future jurors who are also mothers may find it difficult to believe a mother forgetting their child has a heart murmur... In light of this information, the prosecution can no longer claim Sarah did not have any prior heart problems or condition. Both of these factors weaken the prosecution’s case in any future trial.”

The motion filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court comes a month after the jury of five men and seven women were deadlocked after 31 hours of deliberations and a 16-day trial in Judge Neal Bronson’s courtroom.

The defense team called the prosecution’s presentation “shot-gun” “see-what-sticks” and a “lack-of-a-theory-of-the-case” in its motion for acquittal.

The defense team noted the prosecution presented “two non-board certified forensic pathologists” who “contradicted each other on several key points.”

Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove admitted under cross examination that the bruising on Sarah Widmer’s neck was not consistent with strangling, while Dr. C. Jeffrey Lee maintained it was.

The defense also cited the lack of motive, the lack of injuries on Sarah’s body, “shoddy police investigation (that) was led by an inexperienced detective with questionable credibility for a police department which had not investigated a homicide in over a decade” and the lack of DNA or defensive wounds on Ryan Widmer that experts said would normally be present during an attack.

A jury a year ago found Widmer guilty of murder and he was sentenced to prison for 15 years to life. That conviction was overturned and a new trial ordered because of jury misconduct during deliberations.

Widmer was released from prison last September and has been living with his mother in Mason under a $400,000 bond.

Because of the intense publicity about the case, Bronson imposed a gag order, so the attorneys can only speak through their motions.

Now that the defense filed its motion, prosecutors have until July 21 to file a response; Bronson already scheduled an Aug. 3 hearing. If Bronson denies the acquittal motion, Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel will have decide whether to try Widmer for a third time.

“The state’s case is nothing more than speculation based on assumptions. Despite a lack of supporting evidence, the prosecution argues since Ryan was the only person at the house at the time Sarah drowned, Ryan must have forcibly drowned her,” the defense team stated.


http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/widmer-defense-drowning-victim-had-undisclosed-heart-condition-793136.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Snaz on Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:17 pm

I so hope the judge acquits Ryan and lets him try to move on with his life and begin to heal from this tragedy.

Enough is enough already.

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

Post by Justice4all on Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:05 pm

It's too bad the defense didn't come across the information about Sarah's heart murmur before now. The judge should go ahead and grant the acquittal. Now that this information has come to light, there is no way that a third jury will convict Ryan when two other juries didn't convict him without this information.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:36 pm

I think it's very odd her mother didn't remember she had a heart murmur.
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Julie on Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:45 pm

As the mom of a son who has (and always will have) a (slight) heart murmur, that is something you don't just forget.

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

Post by Justice4all on Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:57 pm

I think the mother might hold Ryan responsible for Sarah's death in spite of the heart murmur and may have withheld the information because she didn't want to help him get acquitted. I guess it's also possible that Sarah remembered wrong and didn't really have a heart murmur. Shouldn't all her medical records have been pulled by now since there have already been two trials?
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:36 pm

Judge releases sealed records from Widmer murder trial

By Denise G. Callahan, Staff Writer Updated 3:38 PM Tuesday, July 6, 2010

LEBANON — The judge in the Ryan Widmer murder trial has released previously sealed records regarding the lead detective in the drowning investigation.

A motion by the defense team in the case, asking for past employment records for the Hamilton Twp. detective Jeff Braley, was sealed prior to the trial. Judge Neal Bronson unsealed the documents on Friday, July 2, saying in his order that since the trial is over, the records and transcripts of closed door hearings could be released.

Widmer, 29, is accused of drowning his wife Sarah Widmer in the bathtub of their home on Crested Owl Court in Hamilton Twp. In the first trial, a guilty verdict was thrown out after jury misconduct was found. The jury in the retrial was deadlocked and could not return a verdict.

Braley’s attorneys successfully kept the defense from discussing the detective’s employment records during the trial. The defense wanted to use Braley’s employment records against him during the trial to discredit him.

“Counsel intends to use the documents to impeach Braley pursuant to Evidence Rule 613,” the memorandum reads. “This attack is designed to demonstrate his lack of credibility. As the lead detective in this case, Braley’s credibility is critical to the state’s case. A successful attack on Braley’s credibility alone, may be sufficient for a verdict of not guilty.”

The defense planned to present Braley’s employment records from the United States Postal Service and a Hamilton Twp. fire and emergency services application the detective allegedly filled out.

The application lists Braley attending two years at the University of Florida and Wright State. It also says he has a master’s degree. Copies of letters from both universities state Braley did not attend the schools.

The application also lists Braley’s position at General Electric, from 1985 to 1993, as “engineering” and that he was a postal inspector. A document from the postal service lists his position as part time clerk.

In a letter to the township, Braley wrote he has never “represented” that he has a master’s degree, went to the University of Florida, claimed he was a postal inspector or held an engineering position at General Electric.

“Any such claims are completely fraudulent and not made by myself,” he wrote.

Braley said he is still under a gag order, like everyone else connected to the case, and could not comment on the release of records.

When police and paramedics arrived on the scene minutes after Widmer dialed 911, they noticed the drowning scene was unusually dry. They called Braley in and he conducted an investigation.

The defense filed a motion for acquittal late last week, in which they attacked Braley again saying, “The shoddy police investigation was led by an inexperienced detective with questionable credibility,” the motion reads.


http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/judge-releases-sealed-records-from-widmer-murder-trial-799147.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:30 pm

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

Post by Piper on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:39 pm

Prosecutors To Respond To Widmer Request For Acquittal
Defense Team Says Document Shows Wife Had Medical Issues

POSTED: 8:43 am EDT July 21, 2010
UPDATED: 10:42 am EDT July 21, 2010

LEBANON -- An important deadline in the case of a man accused of drowning his wife comes today.

Earlier this month, Ryan Widmer's attorneys filed a motion for acquittal.

In it, they revealed new information that was not revealed at trial -- Sarah Widmer had a heart murmur.

Sarah Widmer filled out some work records in 2006, and in them she said she had been diagnosed with a heart murmur as a child.

Ryan Widmer's attorneys have argued all along that they believe Sarah Widmer suffered from an undiagnosed medical problem that led to her death in the bathtub at the couple's home.

They have argued that this information will make it even more difficult for prosecutors to ever win a conviction against Ryan Widmer.

The prosecutor's office has until today to respond to the motion for acquittal, and spell out why they think the charges should stand.

It would set the stage for a possible third trial, after the first verdict was tossed for juror misconduct and the trial earlier this year ended in a hung jury.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/24336629/detail.html
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:01 pm

Prosecution: Widmer admitted killing wife

By Janice Morse • jmorse@enquirer.com • July 21, 2010

LEBANON - Warren County prosecutors unleashed a bombshell in the Ryan Widmer murder case Wednesday: A new witness alleges Widmer admitted he killed his 24-year-old wife.

The witness, whose identity has been revealed to Widmer’s lawyers but no one else, surfaced after two mistrials in the much-debated Hamilton Township bathtub-drowning of Sarah Widmer, prosecutors said in a court document filed Wednesday.

Prosecutors urged Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson to allow the charges against Widmer, 29, to stand and head to a third trial.

Bronson has set a hearing for Aug. 3 to consider whether to acquit Widmer.

The judge’s gag order forbids out-of-court comments from anyone directly tied to the widely publicized case.

Long article, read the rest here...

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100721/NEWS0107/307210112/Witness-Widmer-admitted-killing-wife
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Estee on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:08 pm

Ohhh...I so hope that this supposed friend of Ryan's is not right...That perhaps he misunderstood Ryan's statement...If it does go to trial again maybe the defense can discredit him....After all why did he wait so long to bring this to the forefront???
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:22 pm

That's my question too, Estee........why wait all of this time before coming forward?
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Justice4all on Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:45 pm







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

Post by Piper on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:47 pm

Yep, you called it AJ. It doesn't surprise me either...

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

Post by Estee on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:33 pm

Sorry AJ...My Bad!!!...I ASSUMED...never should have done that, that it was a "friend"...Anyway it must have been an aquaintance as I'm sure he wouldn't talk to a stranger about his relationship unless it was a shrink, or LE...
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Snaz on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:43 pm

If this goes to a third trial, wouldn't the prosecution have to reveal this person to the defense as a witness? I'm pretty sure the defense would want to depose this guy..... if he is lying, they might be able to snake him out.....

As far as Sarah's family FIRMLY believing that Ryan killed her.... they want SOMEONE to be held accountable. He is the easiest one to blame. They do not want to believe she died of natural causes.

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

Post by Justice4all on Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:40 pm

Ryan Widmer case a wild ride, getting wilder

By Janice Morse
July 24, 2010

LEBANON - The Ryan Widmer murder case has twisted and turned more than a roller coaster - and the latest course change has thrown everyone for a loop.

"If this case were a Hollywood movie script, it would have been rejected for being utterly unbelievable. I mean, how many shocking twists and turns can happen in a single case?" said Mark Krumbein, a longtime Cincinnati lawyer who is fascinated by the case.

After two mistrials, a new witness surfaced and reported that Widmer confessed to killing his newlywed wife, Sarah, Warren County prosecutors revealed last week. Prosecutors say the witness, whose identity is being withheld, told them that Widmer even described an argument that led up to the drowning of his 24-year-old wife in their Hamilton Township bathtub in 2008.

That jarring new disclosure propels the much-debated case in a new, uncertain direction.

If the case does head to a third trial, prosecutors promise the new witness will testify - and defense lawyers will be expected to grill the witness mercilessly, said Mike Allen, former judge and Hamilton County prosecutor and now a defense attorney.

Even so, that testimony would virtually compel Widmer to take the witness stand for the first time, Allen said. Jurors in both previous trials publicly stated they would have liked to have heard from Widmer, although rules forbade them from holding his silence against him. He wanted to testify, family friends have said, but didn't on advice of his lawyers.

PDF: Read the Certification of Nondisclosure
PDF: Read the Memorandum

As Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson weighs Widmer's request to be acquitted and avoid a third trial, legal opinions suggest that Ohio law forbids Bronson from considering this new witness or any other evidence that surfaced after the May-June retrial, experts note. That's foremost among several issues still simmering in the case that has Widmer, 29, of Mason, facing 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Acquittal requests are supposed to be evaluated solely on the trial record, and judges are supposed to weigh whether that record contains sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict.

Prosecutors already cited that standard, arguing Bronson cannot take into account the defense team's recent discovery: records showing Sarah Widmer was diagnosed with a heart murmur during childhood. That records were part of her medical history as a dental patient at the Fort Thomas office where she worked as a hygienist.

Defense lawyers argue the heart condition may have contributed to her death, but prosecutors wrote last week: "This court is prohibited, as a matter of law, from considering these records in deciding the defendant's motion (for acquittal)."

The defense could cite that same reason and argue that Bronson cannot consider the new witness, either, experts say.

But Allen says, "As a judge, you really aren't supposed to consider those things in a situation like this - that's correct. But as a practical matter, this information is now out there, and everyone knows it - and as a human being, you just can't ignore it."

He thinks Bronson will do his best to follow the legal standards but Allen still believes the new witness disclosure "virtually cements a third trial."

Photos: Ryan Widmer retrial
Audio: Listen to Ryan Widmer's 911 call
Key events in Widmer case

Absent an acquittal from the judge, a third trial could be derailed if Widmer decides the new witness is credible and he negotiates a plea deal, Allen said. It's undisclosed whether Widmer offered to plead before. Allen thinks prosecutors would accept "a reasonable plea offer."

Among other issues affecting a potential third trial: Would the heart murmur records be included for a jury to consider? And would disputed documents about the lead investigator, Hamilton Township police Lt. Jeff Braley, be allowed? If so, would a jury consider either issue significant?

Court records show Bronson learned about the heart murmur May 21, in the midst of Widmer's retrial, but he ruled the jury couldn't hear about it after a closed-door hearing. It's unclear whether a transcript was made of that hearing. The three-week retrial ended in a hung jury June 1.

Other records kept out of the retrial include misrepresentations about Braley's education and employment history. Braley says someone else fabricated them. A handwriting expert hired on Braley's behalf says he cannot conclude whether Braley filled in the inaccurate work and education history. But the expert did say he thinks Braley's signature is on the job application that Braley says he never filled out.

Bronson refused to allow Widmer's defense team to use those records during trial to attack Braley's credibility.

A recently released transcript of a closed-door, pre-trial hearing about the Braley records reveals Bronson's reasoning for that ruling. The judge notes the disputed documents are 14 years old and "there are significant questions as to the veracity" of them. Bronson said he feared the issue, which consumed a full day in his chambers, "would be misleading to a jury," and confusion over the records would outweigh the records' usefulness to a jury.

Krumbein said it's unusual to see such a situation crop up in a case - but that's true of so many other circumstances in the Widmer case. He called it one of the most intriguing he's ever seen in nearly three decades of law practice.

"It's even more intriguing to speculate even if there was a murder at all - or just a strange death," Krumbein said. "It truly is a phenomenal mystery."

He chronicled the twists and turns:

• A guilty verdict on murder in 2009, thrown out because jurors violated court rules. They did home experiments on how long it takes a body to air-dry.

• The retrial and hung jury.

• The revelations about the Braley records and the heart murmur.

"And now the latest blockbuster is there is supposedly a confession and a motive - wow," he said.

"I really feel for the families of both Ryan and Sarah. Both families have been through their own version of 'Dante's Inferno.'" That literary work chronicles a journey through layers of hell.

"After all of this," Krumbein said, "you have to wonder how much more those families can take."


http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100724/NEWS010702/7250305/Widmer-case-a-wild-ride-getting-wilder
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

Post by Piper on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:13 am

Hearing Tuesday on third Widmer trial

Posted: 08/02/2010
Last Updated: 53 minutes ago
By: Deb Silverman

LEBANON, Ohio - The judge who will decide whether or not Ryan Widmer will have a third trial will hear from both sides of the case during a hearing on Tuesday.

Widmer, 29, is accused of drowning his wife in their Hamilton Township home in August 2008.

Widmer's attorneys will present their arguments for why their client should not be tried again.




http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/region_north_cincinnati/lebanon/widmer-hearing-on-third-trial-set-for-tuesday_4958108


Last edited by Piper on Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added link)
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Re: Ryan Widmer - Bathtub Murder Trial of Bride of 4 Months, Sarah Widmer

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