You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

No 4th trial for Ryan Widmer


In a strongly worded opinion, the 12th District Court of Appeals denied convicted bathtub killer Ryan Widmer’s attempt to get a fourth trial in Warren County and even chided his attorney over some of her assertions.

The 12th District Court of Appeals released its opinion in Widmer’s second appeal Monday morning. The appeals court renewed its opinion that Judge Neal Bronson ruled correctly that information about lead detective Jeff Braley’s penchant for dishonesty wasn’t crucial to the case. The same court denied Widmer’s first appeal, which focused heavily on what the defense claimed was an illegal seizure of the infamous bathtub.

Widmer’s attorney, Michele Berry-Godsey, touched on Braley’s dishonesty in the first appeal, but the court of appeals determined Judge Neal Bronson was not wrong to disallow evidence that Braley lied on a 14-year-old job application. The judges reiterated that stance, saying the knowledge of Braley’s apparent dishonesty would not have changed the verdict.

“Braley was not on trial for fraud or misconduct,” the opinion reads. “Widmer was on trial for murder and examining this part of Braley’s past would only lead to surprise, jury confusion and a waste of time, which are the very reasons for the rule against impeachment on collateral matters.”

Braley resigned last year after an investigation revealed he lied on his job application about his educational and employment experience. Berry-Godsey said Braley lied about his service in the “ultra-elite” Special Forces unit of the U.S. Air Force — which helped him get promoted —and jurors should have been told that.

Berry-Godsey claimed Widmer deserved a new trial based on “new” evidence in the form of a report generated by attorney Douglas Miller, with Donnellon, Donnellon & Miller (DD&M) who was hired by Hamilton Twp. trustees to look into Braley’s situation and an affidavit by Dennis Waller, an expert on police practices.

Prosecutors have said Braley was a bit-player in the Widmer case and the court agreed, saying plenty of other witnesses’s testimony backed up Braley’s. The court also ruled Widmer had no right under the law to have his wife’s DNA tested for some previously undiagnosed medical issue.

The 32-year-old is serving 15 years to life for drowning his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub in August 2008. In Widmer’s first trial, he was found guilty of murder, but that verdict was thrown out after jurors admitted to conducting at-home experiments and discussed their results during deliberations. They admitted to bathing and timing how long it took to dry. Only Sarah’s hair was damp when first responders arrived, and no wet towels or rags could be found.

The second trial ended with a hung jury after jurors said they could not make a decision after 2 1/2 days. The third verdict came after 13 days of testimony from 44 witnesses and a dozen hours of deliberations.

The court also noted when they asked Berry-Godsey during oral argument if there is any evidence Braley mishandled evidence, she implied the tub may have been tampered with. The judges said this “troubled” them because there was no evidence tampering.

“Widmer’s counsel seemed to embellish the record in order to excite the passions of the media and public on this issue,” Hendrickson wrote in a footnote. “We feel compelled to note that this almost crosses the line from permissible appellate advocacy to impermissible hyperbole that so distorts the evidence that it borders upon the absurd.”

Prosecutor David Fornshell said he was not surprised that the 55-page ruling sided with Bronson on actions he took in the case.

“These, from a legal standpoint, from our perspective, were not really close calls,” he said. “They threw a lot at the court and asked them to consider a number of different issues, but each of them individually, there really was no merit.”

Berry-Godsey said she will appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court and said she disagreed with the judges’ comment about her.

“It appears that the court overlooked important parts of the court records, and as a result, failed to understand our argument about why the bathtub isn’t reliable evidence,” she said. “We strongly disagree with the Court’s assessment and will continue fighting for justice for Ryan.”

The high court has yet to decide if it will accept her first appeal.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Last man to walk on the moon has died
Last man to walk on the moon has died

The last man to walk on the moon has died, according to NASA. The government agency took to Twitter to remember retired astronaut Gene Cernan on Monday. Cernan was awarded the Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award in October at the enshrinement ceremony of the National Hall of Fame inside the Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base...
CNN breaks its silence on reporter called out by Donald Trump for being 'fake news'
CNN breaks its silence on reporter called out by Donald Trump for being 'fake news'

President-elect Donald Trump singled out CNN reporter Jim Acosta last week during his first news conference of the year and denied him the opportunity to ask a question, saying “You are fake news.” >> Read more trending stories 
Gene Cernan, last man to walk on the moon, dead at 82
Gene Cernan, last man to walk on the moon, dead at 82

The government agency took to Twitter to remember retired astronaut Gene Cernan on Monday. We are saddened by the loss of retired NASA astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon. https://t.co/Q9OSdRewI5 pic.twitter.com/gPdFTnXF2C— NASA (@NASA) January 16, 2017 NASA said that Cernan logged more than 566 hours in space, 73 of which...
Downtown Springfield building added to National Register
Downtown Springfield building added to National Register

A downtown Springfield building has been added to National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The 1921 Edward Wren Co. Building, also known as McAdams Building, is located at 31 E. High St. and owned by a real estate arm of the Turner Foundation. RELATED: $4.8M raised for downtown Springfield redevelopment “It...
Parents warn others of mold inside popular teething toy
Parents warn others of mold inside popular teething toy

A popular teething toy for infants is susceptible to mold, according to some parents who took a closer look at the inside of the toy. >> Read more trending stories   Pediatric dentist Dana Chianese said she used to recommend the Sophie the Giraffe teething toy to parents regularly. But that was before she made a discovery in her own...
More Stories