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Entries in Bob Ward (5)

Monday
Dec192011

Developer Convicted of Wife’s Murder to Return to Jail, on Suicide Watch

Comstock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Bob Ward, the former millionaire developer who was convicted of murdering his wife, could be out of the hospital and back in jail in the next few days following an apparent overdose of pain pills Saturday.

Just a day after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, Ward told officers at the Orange County Jail in Florida that he had purchased a package of ibuprofen from the jail’s commissary, 20 tablets total, and downed them.

Florida corrections officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to ABC News that Ward appeared ill, but could not confirm that he ingested the pills.

Inmates at the jail are allowed to purchase over-the-counter pain medication, Orange County Corrections Department officials told ABC News.  Ibuprofen, used to treat fevers or pain and inflammation, can cause ulcers if taken in too large a quantity.

Ward remains under medical observation at an Orlando hospital, officials said.

In September a jury found Ward guilty of the Sept. 21, 2009, murder of his wife, Diane Ward, in the couple’s mansion in the exclusive Isleworth community.

On Friday, despite his two daughters’ tearful pleas for leniency, a Florida judge sentenced Ward to 30 years in prison.

Ward was scheduled to be sent to a state penitentiary this week to serve out his sentence.

If Ward’s most recent actions are ruled a suicide attempt, he would be placed under suicide watch when he returns to jail.  Corrections officials say that would include removing all belongings from his cell and forcing Ward to wear a single article of clothing, called a “dignity garment,” that would make it impossible for him to hang himself.

In a 911 call immediately after the 2009 shooting Ward admitted shooting his wife, but during the trial his defense called the incident a tragic accident. The defense said Diane Ward had a strong mix of alcohol and antidepressants in her system, and that she could have been suicidal. His attorney said Ward was just trying to save his wife when she was killed.

Ward had also said he was trying to get the gun out of his wife’s hands when it went off.

But prosecutors argued that Ward murdered his wife in a fit of rage inside the couple’s home. She was killed just days before a scheduled deposition on a series of issues related to her husband’s bankrupt company.

The couple was reportedly deep in debt, and Ward apparently could not pay his $17,000 monthly mortgage.

In the 911 call Ward made, which was played in court, he could be heard telling a dispatcher, “I just shot my wife … I just shot my wife. I just shot my wife. She’s dead. She’s done. I’m sorry.”

Ward’s family has been supportive of him all along, even as his behavior in jail immediately following his wife’s death invited intense scrutiny.

Detectives who interviewed him after the shooting noted that he seemed oddly composed. And jailhouse video captured Ward dancing and laughing with his daughter and sister-in-law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec192011

FL Developer Who Murdered Wife Says He Overdosed on Pain Pills

Kevin Horan/Stone(ORLANDO, Fla) -- Bob Ward, the former millionaire developer who was convicted of murdering his wife, was under observation Sunday after he told jail officials he took an overdose of pain pills on Saturday -- just one day after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Ward told officers at the Orange County Jail in Florida that he had taken more than the recommended amount of ibuprofen.  He was under medical observation at an Orlando hospital Sunday morning, officials said.

Inmates at the jail are allowed to purchase over-the-counter pain medication, and a bottle of ibuprofen contains 20 tablets, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Orange County Corrections Department officials told ABC News affiliate WFTV in Orlando that the incident is not being considered a suicide attempt.

In September, a jury found Ward guilty of the Sept. 21, 2009, murder of his wife, Diane Ward, in the couple’s mansion in the exclusive Isleworth community.

On Friday, despite his two daughters’ tearful pleas for leniency, a Florida judge sentenced Ward to 30 years in prison.

Ward admitted shooting his wife, but during the trial his defense called the incident a tragic accident.  The defense said Diane Ward had a strong mix of alcohol and antidepressants in her system, and that she could have been suicidal.  His attorney said Ward was just trying to save his wife when she was killed.

Ward had also said he was trying to get the gun out of his wife’s hands when it went off.

But prosecutors argued that Ward murdered his wife in a fit of rage inside the couple’s home. She was killed just days before a scheduled deposition on a series of issues related to her husband’s bankrupt company.

The couple was reportedly deep in debt, and Ward apparently could not pay his $17,000 monthly mortgage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec172011

Millionaire Murder Trial: Bob Ward Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Giorgio Fochesato/Vetta/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Though his tearful adult daughters pleaded for leniency, a Florida judge Friday sentenced former millionaire developer Bob Ward, 63, to 30 years in prison for murdering his wife, Diane Ward, in 2009.

“Justice for my mom isn’t locking my dad behind bars for the rest of his life,” daughter Mallory Ward told the judge. “It’s giving our family a second chance.”

“It breaks my heart to see him behind bars,” daughter Sarah Ward said.

Judge Jenifer Davis nixed a request from the women “who spewed profanities during the sentencing” for a commutation of their father’s sentence.

After two weeks of testimony and 12 hours of deliberation, Ward was found guilty of second-degree murder for shooting his wife point-blank in the face.

His lawyer had argued that Diane Ward committed suicide.

She was within days of a scheduled deposition during which she would allege that her husband spent millions on homes and cars while his development company was going bankrupt.

On a 911 emergency call recording in 2009, Ward had said, “I just shot my wife. She’s dead. She’s done. I’m sorry.”

Hours after his arrest, he said, “I have nothing to be worried about, other than I was trying to get the gun out of her hand.”

Those and other contradictions, analysts said, likely weakened Ward’s bid to be exonerated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep252011

Attorneys to Appeal Bob Ward Guilty Verdict

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ISLEWORTH, Fla.) -- After millionaire developer Bob Ward was found guilty of second degree murder Saturday in the killing of his wife in Isleworth, Fla., his defense seemed to blame the verdict on backlash from the Casey Anthony acquittal, which occurred in the same state in July.

"Certainly what happened to Casey Anthony makes it more difficult for any defendant in, probably anywhere in the state of Florida, to get a fair trial and that's a concern," said Ward's attorney Kirk Kirkconnell.

A jury found Anthony not guilty in the murder of her daughter Caylee.

But former prosecutor and defense attorney Susan Filan completely disagrees.

"I don't think the jurors are going to take it out on this particular defendant if they happen to disagree with the Casey Anthony verdict," Filan said on "Good Morning America" Sunday morning.

The defense team is threatening to appeal the verdict.

"Everybody appeals their verdict if they lose, it's the defendant's right. They're going to just look for some kind of legal error. They can't say 'I think the jury got it wrong.' They have to find some kind of evidentiary error, something that was introduced that shouldn't have been," said Filan.

But Filan didn't think Ward had any chance of succeeding in an appeal.

"I think the defense made a mistake by saying either accident or suicide. If he was there in the room with her and he really didn't have anything to do with it, I think he would know which one, particularly if she was shot between the eyes, he would have seen her raise the gun to her head."

If it was in fact a suicide, it would be out of the ordinary for a female to shoot herself between the eyes.

Ward, who could face life in prison when he is sentenced in November, was handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom Saturday.

In an emotional week of testimony, prosecutors questioned Ward's daughter Sarah, who told the court Tuesday that she loved both her parents very much but also described her mother under the influence of alcohol.

"My mother threw a suitcase at me when she was drinking red wine," she told the court.

Wilkinson pointedly stated that Sarah Ward was not there when her mother "ended up shot in the face."

At one point during his daughter's testimony, Bob Ward banged his hand on the courtroom table and put his head down. His daughter started crying after Wilkinson went through a line of questioning.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep242011

Bob Ward Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder of His Wife

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(ISLESWORTH, Fla.) -- Millionaire developer Bob Ward was found guilty of second degree murder Saturday morning in the killing of his wife in Isleworth, Fla.

Ward, who could face life in prison when he is sentenced in November, was handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom. After several outbursts in court this week, Ward chose to stay silent when asked if he wanted to take the stand in the trial.

Diane Ward, 55, was found dead in the couple's Isleworth home in September 2009. Ward, 63, was accused of shooting her at point blank range.

The defense team argued that Diane Ward was suicidal as a result of a combination alcohol and depression medication, and that her husband was grabbing the gun from her hand and she either shot herself or the gun accidentally fired.

"We don't know if it was a suicide or not, and we don't know what her intentions were when she took that gun," Ward's attorney Kirk Kirkconnell said Thursday in closing arguments.

Prosecutors disagreed, and argued that Ward, in a fit of rage, intentionally shot his wife in the face.

"This is about a dead woman and the laws of the state of Florida," prosecutor Robin Wilkinson said.

In an emotional week of testimony, prosecutors questioned Ward's daughter Sarah, who told the court Tuesday that she loved both her parents very much but also described her mother under the influence of alcohol.

"My mother threw a suitcase at me when she was drinking red wine," she told the court.

Wilkinson pointedly stated that Sarah Ward was not there when her mother "ended up shot in the face."

At one point during his daughter's testimony, Bob Ward banged his hand on the courtroom table and put his head down. His daughter started crying after Wilkinson went through a line of questioning.

The courtroom drama continued Wednesday when Ward grew angry over testimony about a life insurance policy on his wife—arguing that the numbers mentioned were incorrect.

"It's not a $10 million life insurance policy," Ward yelled.

The jury began deliberations Friday, and there was a large amount of evidence to consider, including the stoic 911 call made by the defendant.

On Sept. 21, 2009, Ward called 911 from the couple's home, telling a dispatcher five times that he had shot his wife in her face. Isleworth is a community that was once home to celebrities like Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer.

"She's dead. She's done. I'm sorry," he said in the 911 call.

While being questioned later, Ward told police, "I'm really concerned about my wife and children. I have two kids in college and it's a nightmare, but we probably need to go ahead and get a lawyer in here."

As the interrogation continued, Ward began to change his story, arguing that his wife actually pulled the trigger and committed suicide as he tried to take the gun away. Diane Ward had high levels of an antidepressant in her system as well as alcohol, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say the Ward family's failing company, Land Resources, may have been the motive in Diane Ward's killing. Attorneys wanted to depose Diane Ward for a series of issues related to her husband's bankrupt company in the days before her death.

Ward allegedly transferred money to his wife to pay for cars, mortgages, trips to the Cayman Islands and Europe, tuition for their children and a life insurance policy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio