By: Marty Hubbell
Ryan Widmer’s third trial for the murder of his wife, Sarah, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, in the Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon, Ohio. Judge Bronson is again presiding.
The first trial ended in a conviction that was overturned due to juror misconduct. The jury in the second trial was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, which resulted in a mistrial.
I am often asked my opinion on this case. I’ve spoken to folks on both sides; each is passionate one way or the other. I am not. I have paid close attention to this case, but I have not seen all of the evidence or heard all of the witnesses. From those I have spoken to in the legal community, most believe reasonable doubt exists.
So why has the overwhelming majority of jurors believed that Ryan Widmer is guilty of murdering his wife? I do have an opinion on that: I just don’t think he’s likeable.
Before the second trial, jurors were brought in to determine if they could serve for an extended period of time. I happened to be at the courthouse, for other cases. In front of Judge Bronson’s courtroom, I saw Ryan Widmer laughing and joking around with a friend. This went on for awhile, in full view of the potential jurors.
I also sat in on portions of the first two trials. I observed Ryan Widmer’s behavior, demeanor, and reaction to witness testimony. He left me with the impression that he was a bit snarky.
So what does this have to do with the Widmer case? Like it or not, defendants are on trial the minute they pull into the court parking lot. It was clear the possible jurors recognized Ryan Widmer. They knew they were there to potentially serve as jurors in a case, where he is accused of killing his wife. In other words, they were there to address a serious matter; he was there goofing around.
I have no idea what this third jury will do. But it would certainly behoove Ryan Widmer to act more appropriately.