Judge holds hearing on Widmer's third trial

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - Judge Neal Bronson held a hearing Wednesday to talk about Ryan Widmer's third trial.

Widmer is accused of killing his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of their Hamilton Township home in 2008. He was convicted in his first trial, but the verdict was overturned for juror misconduct. His second trial ended in a hung jury.

Nothing of extreme importance was decided Wednesday. However, we should know within the next week if the third trial will stay in Warren County or be moved somewhere else in Ohio.

Prosecutors want the third trial moved out of Warren County, citing heavy media coverage in the case and not being able to find a fair and impartial jury. Defense attorneys claim that prosecutors created the media frenzy surrounding the case.

Judge Bronson also ruled to keep a gag order in place and set a hearing for Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 1:30 p.m. to decide if the gag order will stay in place.

Jack Griner, an attorney for the Cincinnati Enquirer, says the gag order was improperly place by Judge Bronson.

Before a gag order can be enforced, a hearing must take place with both sets of attorneys, presenting their arguments for or against it. Widmer's attorneys and the prosecution agreed with Bronson to keep the gag order in place until the hearing. The only opposition was from Griner.

"This gag order should really not stand another day because it was not properly put in place and whatever the merits are the status quo should be that there is no gag order and that there could be one imposed, perhaps next Wednesday, upon a proper evidentiary showing, but until that time the status quo should be that there is none," said Griner.

Judge Bronson invited any media wishing to present arguments with attorneys to attend the hearing.

As far as the contempt of court filing by assistant prosecutor John Arnold against Jay Clark for  violating the gag order after Ryan's mother, Jill Widmer was arrested for drunk driver, nothing on that was ruled on in open court. When Jill was arrested on drunk driving charges last week, Clark allegedly told a news source that the prolonged stress and pressure from the case had been a factor in Jill's behavior.

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