Ryan Widmer Fundraiser attracts dozens in West Chester

By Dan Wells – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – The cost of defending Ryan Widmer has exceeded a half million dollars.

"This has just been devastating on us, it's impacted us for the last two years," said Jackie Cronin, Ryan's aunt.

Ryan is accused of killing his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of their home in August 2008. He is facing a third trial after a judge said there was juror misconduct in the first trial and the second trial ended in a hung jury.

Dozens of family and friends met at a fundraising meeting Thursday night in West Chester.

Family members say most of the money spent on these trials has come from Ryan's mom, Jill.

"The family has exhausted all of their family assets, Jill had actually retired early and was set to be a grandma and all of this has happened, so she has depleted her 401K, her life savings, really the only thing she has left is her house and the car that she drives," said Scott Farmer, a family friend.

Farmer used to work with Ryan's mom and is now leading what supporters call their "Justice for Ryan" power group.

"We're just morally obligated to really assist anyway possible and rally around her and provide as much relief for this third trial as we can," he said.

Roger Bernier, another Widmer supporter, says he's frustrated by the legal system as a whole and is vowing to do what he can to help the family.

"If they want to keep dragging this on and on, the taxpayers keep paying and paying and Ryan and Jill just keep finding ways to come up with that money," said Bernier.

So how's Ryan doing?

"About the only time I see him looking relaxed is when he is with his cousins and brothers. Other than that he is always looking over his shoulder not looking comfortable," said Cronin.

Ryan Widmer's third trial could begin early next year.

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