The mystery witnesses in the third Ryan Widmer trial

Jennifer Crew
Jennifer Crew
Melissa Waller
Melissa Waller

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - Two women, one married and one engaged, have both testified in the third Ryan Widmer trial, claiming to have had lengthy conversations with Widmer after seeing his Dateline special in 2009. What would drive these women to reach out to a total stranger on trial for murdering his wife?

Both women claimed to have felt a connection to Widmer, reaching out to him using Both donated money and offered to help out in whatever way they could.

Dr. Stephen Strakowski, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, believes it's not only covering up feelings, but the attraction of fame.

"Often they are people who are lonely or feel insecure," Dr. Strakowski says. "With…celebrity is an attraction, an attractiveness some people get hooked on."

Jennifer Crew of Cedar Rapids, Iowa says she felt a connection, and immediately began talking on the phone, texting and emailing Ryan. She testified in court, "if [Ryan] ever need to talk no matter what time of day I was there for him"

Melissa Waller, from Washington state, has been married for five years. She also told the jury she sent e-mails and text messages to Ryan, and that the two talked on the phone for hours. Waller even donated money three times to Widmer's legal fund and came to Ohio for a bowling fundraiser in 2009.

The big question is, why in the midst of a third trial is Ryan Widmer responding and carrying on relationships with these women?

FOX19 Legal Analyst Mike Allen says, "That's kind of the overriding theme of the day. Although Miss Waller did testify credibly a lot of people are asking that question, it doesn't help the defense"

Mike Allen also made a great point Friday. Take a look at some struggling celebrities, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton types. Not major success stories of late, but the public can't seem to get enough. Allen also says that most of these women started coming around Ryan Widmer after his case was featured on dateline.

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