Widmer Day 7: Det. Braley testifies

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - Testimony entered its seventh day Thursday in the third trial for Ryan Widmer, with the last witness being lead investigator Jeff Braley.

Court got started almost about 25 minutes after its 9 a.m. scheduled start time after attorneys with both sides met with judge Neal Bronson in the judge's chambers. Judge Bronson started the day with more specific questions to the jury about if they had discussed the case amongst themselves or outside the courtroom. All of them said they have complied.

Before the lunch break, Judge Bronson told them they must report any breaches in the court's instructions.

The last witness jurors heard from was lead detective Jeff Braley. He was questioned briefly by prosecutors about what he saw when he arrived at the Widmer home, including the dry items and floor around the tub.

He was then questioned by defense attorney Jay Clark, who asked Braley tough questions about not conducting a thorough investigation before filing the arrest warrant. The warrant was filed following an autopsy by Dr. Russell Uptegrove the morning after Sarah's death. Braley admitted not talking to Sarah's friends and family and not checking to see if there were any indications of problems with Ryan.

The judge did not allow defense attorneys to question Det. Braley over allegations that he lied on his job application, so that did not come up in court.

An episode of Forensic Files called Summer Obsession was also brought up during Braley's testimony, after Jennifer Crew testified that Ryan told her about that episode during his alleged confession phone call. Clark noted that the episode aired on June 8, 2010, and Crew talked with investigators on June 17, 2010.

Jurors heard testimony from Annette Davis, a forensic scientist with the Miami Valley Crime Lab. She did a lot of the testing on the items taken from the Widmer home.

She testified about the carpet samples taken from under where Sarah's body was in the bedroom, and how they both tested positive for blood and fecal matter. She said one of the samples was so wet that it had soaked through the evidence bag, and parts of the blood on the carpet had been diluted with what was probably water.

She also testified about an unknown female DNA found under Sarah's fingernails on her right hand. That DNA has not been identified, and when prosecutors asked if taking a shower or bath could remove the DNA, Davis agreed it was very possible.

Jurors then heard from Sarah's employer, Dr. John Becker, a dentist in Fort Thomas. He testified how Sarah never took many sick days and would sometimes complain of headaches or stomachaches, but they never affected her work.

There was some controversy over a medical form that was filled out when employees were training on new software. Sarah's form stated she bruised easily. Prosecutors emphasized the form was filled out for training, but defense attorneys made the point that the items filled out on the form matched Sarah's other ailments, such as allergies.

Jurors broke for lunch, then prosecutors called Danny Harness, another employee with the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab who processed the bathtub for fingerprints, and said he found a few partial fingerprints in the tub, but none of which could be compared to a person.

Prosecutors then called Dr. David Marcus, the ER doctor who treated Sarah at Bethesda Arrow Springs Hospital. He noted that Ryan told him he found Sarah face down in the tub, contradictory to what Ryan told the nurse, Amy Costello. Costello testified Wednesday that Ryan told her he found Sarah face up.

William Hillard, a criminalist with the City of Cincinnati, also testified Thursday afternoon, also saying that he couldn't identify who the prints in the tub belonged to, and that a forearm print at the front of the tub was placed after items around the edge of the tub had been moved.

Also on Thursday, prosecutors filed a motion saying defense attorneys did not file a motion saying Dr. Werner Spitz was not available, so they are asking his testimony not be used.

Dr. Spitz performed a second autopsy on Sarah Widmer. He is unavailable for this trial for medical reasons.

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