LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - A woman who testified that Ryan Widmer admitted to her that he killed his wife took the witness stand on Wednesday.
Jennifer Crew is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and worked at a strip club in nearby Illinois. She is a student at Kirkwood Community College.
She became interested in the Widmer case after seeing the story featured on Dateline and contacted Ryan through the freeryanwidmer.com website.
The relationship grew to e-mails, text messages and phone calls, and Crew claims that during one phone call, on October 26, 2009, Ryan admitted to killing his wife, Sarah.
During her five and a half hours of testimony, Crew testified, through tears, that Ryan said, "I did it. I did it. I killed Sarah."
Crew said Ryan told her that he and Sarah had an argument the night of her death after Sarah found out he cheated on her while she was away for the weekend with her mother. Crew said they also fought about pornography and Ryan's drinking and smoking.
Crew said Sarah came upstairs to prepare a bath, and Ryan was in the bedroom watching TV. She said the fight escalated, and Ryan told her they pushed each other, and Sarah told him the marriage was over.
She said he then told her he punched Sarah in the chest, causing her to fall backward, then he "blacked out" and woke up to find Sarah's head wet and her lying on the floor unresponsive. He said he began to think of ways to cover up what happened, and called 911 and said he pretended to do CPR while on the 911 call. He also told her he cleaned up the water
Crew said she didn't come forward right away because she feared for her safety after she told Ryan she wouldn't tell anyone and he said, "I wouldn't want you to end up like Sarah." She also said Ryan had her address because he sent her a freeryanwidmer t-shirt, bracelet and pen.
Crew said she decided to finally come forward in June of 2010 after learning the outcome of Ryan's second trial in May, which ended in a hung jury.
During cross examination, defense attorney Jay Clark questioned Crew on what she didn't tell investigators when they came to Iowa to interview her in June of 2009. Clark showed that several things she testified about Wednesday were not mentioned in that initial interview. Crew responded by saying she didn't think she had to tell about every conversation she had with Ryan.
There was also controversy about when the call took place. Crew originally told investigators it was in the middle of the night, around 2 or 3 a.m., but her phone records didn't show a call during that time. Her phone records indicate a call at 10:06 p.m. Iowa time, which she said felt like the middle of the night to her because she was already sleeping.
Clark questioned Crew about her past that included use of Oxycontin and methadone - she is still taking methadone - but she said she was not on Oxycontin in the fall of 2009, when she said Ryan made that call.
FOX19 legal analyst Mike Allen Crew did a good job. He said the defense was able to poke a few holes in Crew's testimony, but nothing big.
Crew's fiance took the stand after the lunch break in a very short testimony in which he verified that Crew told him about the phone call. During cross, he was also questioned about information he left out to investigators, including the date of the call.
ER nurse Amy Costello took the stand last, saying Ryan told her he found Sarah face up in the tub. During cross, attorney Lindsey Gutierrez reports mistakes Costello made on Sarah's medical chart, most glaringly the date was marked as Aug. 12 instead of Aug. 11. But when asked by Arnold during a rebuttal if she independently remembers Ryan saying "face up," she said she did.
Ryan Widmer is accused of killing Sarah in their Hamilton Township home in August of 2008. He was convicted in his first trial, but had the verdict overturned due to juror misconduct. His second trial ended in a hung jury.
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