You are watching: The bathtub mystery dateline
Nearly a decade after buy it Widmer drowning in the bathtub of she Hamilton Township home, she husband is quiet fighting come overturn his murder conviction.
Ryan Widmer is in prison serving a 15-year come life sentence. He to be convicted in 2011 after three trials the riveted the community and received nationwide attention.
As Saturday Aug. 11 marked the 10-year anniversary of buy it Widmer’s death, her husband is tho appealing because that a brand-new trial. A federal judge"s decision might come at any type of time.
Ryan Widmer is offer a 15-year to life sentence for his wife"s 2008 murder.
“Ten year after the truth I tho have civilization stop me at Kroger and say, ‘Hey, those going ~ above in the Widmer case?’” said previous Hamilton ar prosecutor Mike Allen. “It’s simply something the sticks in the public’s imagination.”
SEE why Ryan Widmer"s supporters rallied to have actually his wife"s DNA released.
The publicly fascination through this case stretches past the sad finishing of the 24-year-old newlywed woman’s life 10 years ago. The unusual means that buy it Widmer died, and the reality that no clear motive because that murder has ever before emerged, are what renders this situation so polarizing even now, attorneys say.
Former Hamilton ar prosecutor Mike Allen discusses the Ryan Widmer very nice on Aug. 1, 2018. Picture by lot of Tan | carolannpeacock.com
“There’s yes, really no middle ground," stated Allen, who watched few of the 3 trials. "Those the feel he’s innocent -- you’re not going come budge them. Those the feel he’s guilty, the same kind of thing,”
The very first trial to be overturned due to juror misconduct because that conducting their own experiments on exactly how long it take it a human body to dried after a bath. The second ended in a hung jury. The third trial ended with a conviction for Widmer, after ~ a Warren county jury deliberated because that 12 hours.
“It really has polarized the community, yes no question about it,” Allen said. “In mine listening to all three trials, I never ever really witnessed a motive. Yet then again, the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove the … it’s just really unusual in a homicide instance not to have some sort of motive.”
So far Widmer has actually been not successful in appeals because that a 4th trial, also asking the U.S. Can be fried Court to evaluation it.
His latest appeal – a petition because that a writ of habeas corpus – to be filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in February 2014.
A 2011 jury convicted Ryan Widmer that the 2008 murder of his wife, sarah Widmer. It was his 3rd trial.
Legal specialists say Widmer has an uphill battle.
“It’s a very an overwhelming standard come meet. Being innocent of a crime, on its own, isn’t a factor for habeas relief,” said University the Cincinnati legislation professor Donald Caster, that is also an attorney at the Ohio Innocence Project. “You need to prove there to be a constitution error in trial.”
This appeal has actually been rejected twice by U.S. Magistrate referee Michael Merz, who described the objections together “without merit” and said additional appeal would certainly be “objectively frivolous,” in a 2017 report. But those were only recommendations.
The last decision is as much as U.S. District Judge Tim Black. Black has had an ext than a year to evaluation the case and could hand under a ruling at any type of time.
“It’s ultimately up come the judge,” claimed longtime criminal defense attorney mark Krumbein. “When you’re a federal judge in this situation, you make your very own timeline.”
Criminal defense attorney mark Krumbein discusses Ryan Widmer"s very nice one on July 31, 2018. Lot of Tan | carolannpeacock.com
It has actually been a lengthy 10 years of"dread every day," because that Gary Widmer, Ryan Widmer"s father.
"Idon’t know exactly how else to describe it except just a wait game. You eventually get provided to it. However every day you type of sit there thinking, ‘OK,today’s going to be the work we’re going to hear something.’ You have actually that hope that it’s walking to it is in in ours favor," Gary Widmer said.
Black will certainly make his own separate testimonial of the evidence. He deserve to either side through Merz, which attorneys to speak is more likely, or agree with among the 17 objections raised by Widmer’s attorney, Michelle Berry Godsey, and also grant the appeal.
“An very nice in Widmer’s situation would no be objectively unreasonable and/or frivolous,” Godsey wrote, disputing the magistrate. “For every of Widmer’s claims, there room debatable arguments, which reasonable jurists could adopt in Widmer’s favor.”
Among her debates for a brand-new trial: The bath tub in the house was illegally seized; defense attorneys must be permitted to test buy it Widmer’s DNA because that a rare hereditary disorder the may have actually caused accidental drowning; testimony concerning hand and also arm prints top top the bathtub was based upon “junk science;” and also juries should have been told around allegations about the credibility the the lead detective.
A jury uncovered Ryan Widmer guilty because that the murder of his wife, Sarah, in your Hamilton Township home. Detailed photo
Warren county prosecutors and Sarah Widmer’s family both declined to comment.
"There’s just so many questions the surround this totality thing and also so i live the every decision is going come come back in our favor since somebody’s walk to see that this is the method it was. It was wrong," Gary Widmer said.
Legal experts say Widmer has actually a difficult burden come meet.
“The odds are, i would just say, low, but it’s absolutely possible,” Krumbein said.
Allen agreed: “I don’t think he’s gained a great likelihood the success on the habeas petition … very couple of are granted.”
If black rules against Widmer, his lawyer could shot to take it the case directly to the 6th Circuit Court that Appeals, buthis opportunities for success there might be even slimmer, lawyers said.
“Under the circumstances, he’s doing well. He’s continuing to be busy. He has actually a job. He trains dogs and plays sports," Gary Widmer said."Kind the the points he did as soon as he was out below with us.”Gary Widmervisits his boy in prisonmonthly and talks come him on the phone two orthreetimes every week.
Widmer’s first opportunity for parole is in 2025. But attorneys speak it is i can not qualify he will certainly get at an early stage release due to the fact that the parole board looks most favorably on prisoners who are remorseful. And also at age 37, Widmer continues to keep his innocence.
“I was actually sitting in the room at the time he was available that deal, and also he wasn’t also listening to it. Our lawyers kept (saying), "Now wait a minute, listen to this,"" Gary Widmer said.
Ryan Widmer"s solution was, "Nope. Ns didn"tdo this. I’m not taking a plea deal," Gary Widmer said.
But that might hurt Ryan Widmerwhen it comes time to seek parole.
“They space reluctant to provide parole wherein a person proceeds to case innocence,” Caster said. “So it will certainly be a lengthy time until he gets parole.”
“When you sit there because that 15 years before your parole plank hearing and say… ‘I’m i m really sorry my wife’s dead but I didn’t have anything to perform with it. Ns don’t have actually anything come be sorry for,’ climate you’ve sort of got a problem,” Krumbein said.
While Widmer’s future may be uncertain, attorneys are confident this case will continue to be in the general public eye for years come come.
As the anniversary of buy it Widmer’s fatality approached, the case received new publicity.
In July, former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter janice Hisle released a brand-new book exploring hidden angles of the killing case, including that buy it Widmer walked on her tippy toes the night that her fatality – a clue that could allude to a hereditary disorder.
And top top July 25, "Reasonable Doubt," one of examination Discovery"s numerous true crime programs, aired an comprehensive episode ~ above the case and concluded the Widmer, in ~ the really least, lied come police ~ above the night his wife died.
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“For every human being who says, ‘It’s been 10 years, that’s enough (publicity),’ climate there room other people who space saying – ‘He’s yes, really innocent and also it doesn’t issue if it takes 10 year or 15 years or 20, we’ve gained to get to the bottom that this,” Krumbein said.