Judge clears way for third Widmer trial

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - A ruling has been filed in Warren County court that will clear the way for Ryan Widmer to get a third trial.

Judge Neal Bronson has denied a motion to acquit that was filed by Widmer's defense attorneys. That denial now clears the way for prosecutors to continue with a third trial.

Widmer is accused of killing his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of the couple's Hamilton Township home in August 2008. He was convicted at his first trial, but was granted a new trial for juror misconduct. His second trial ended in a hung jury.

Judge Bronson heard arguments from both sides on Tuesday before filing his decision around 10 a.m. Friday.

Defense attorneys said Widmer should be acquitted because Sarah Widmer had a previously undisclosed heart condition and that there was no motive. Prosecutors say a new witness will testify at trial to hearing  Widmer admit to killing his wife. They also say Sarah's family is supportive of a third trial and wants justice.

Bronson wrote in his denial that in making his ruling, he did not consider evidence or affidavits submitted after the trial and did not see any precedent for expanding that consideration beyond the trial evidence.

"The only factor is whether or not the evidence was legally sufficient or insufficient, when construed in a light most favorable to the state," Bronson said in the ruling. "The court finds that the evidence, when construed in a light most favorable to the state and without weighing it, was legally sufficient to support a conviction."

Widmer's attorneys and his parents held a press conference Friday afternoon to react to the decision.

"He (Ryan) was pretty devastated," said Widmer's mother, Jill. "He has been unable to mourn Sarah the way he properly should."

"We respect Judge Bronson's decision, and we look forward to a third trial to gain Ryan's innocence," said his father, Gary Widmer.

A new trial date has not yet been set. Widmer's attorney, Jay Clark, said he does not expect anything before the first of the year.

"This has been emotionally, financially and physically draining for our families," said Jill Widmer. "He (Ryan) has had to put his life on hold for two years now."

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