LEBANON, Ohio - Convicted murderer Ryan Widmer will not have a fourth trial.
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson on Friday denied Ryan Widmer's attorney' request for a fourth trial or an acquittal.
A jury convicted Widmer, 30, on Feb. 15 in the 2008 drowning death of his wife, Sarah, and sentenced to 15 years to life.
Widmer's defense filed a motion requesting a fourth trial, citing inappropriate juror behavior. They also argued there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
Attorneys will now begin the appeal process. The request for a new trial or an acquittal postponed the appeal from having to be filed.
"With the judge's order today what we, I guess the next procedural step is a notice of appeal gets filed, and that covers not only his decision today, but the trial, and even the motion we filed before the trial to find Ryan not guilty and issue a judgement of acquittal," said defense Jay Clark.
The defense filed the motion for a new trial after they learned that Facebook may have been a platform for possible juror misconduct. The defense was concerned that at least one juror had been exposed to anti-Widmer pages on the social networking website.
There was also concern that juror Dreamma Epperson had talked about Widmer to a friend during the trial. The woman who called defense attorneys during the trial to report what she'd heard Epperson allegedly say testified in a hearing on Wednesday. On the stand she could not say with 100 percent certainty that she heard right.
Widmer was convicted by a jury in the first trial, but that conviction was later thrown out due to juror misconduct. The second trial ended with a hung jury.
Judge Bronson wrote in his ruling on Friday that "Despite arguments of, essentially, 'the better experts' there was never a challenge to the expertise or opinions of either Drs. Uptegrove or Lee or any other medical expert offered by the State. There was expert testimony offered that Sarah had suffered injuries inconsistent with medical intervention and consistent with violence. The jury could deduce from all the evidence, i.e. the witnesses who physically attended to Sarah and those witnessing those attending to Sarah, that the opinions of Drs. Uptegrove or Lee better coincided with all the evidence than the opinions or other evidence opposed to them beyond a reasonable doubt. The bottom line is that reasonable and rational jurors, when construing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State could find that the State proved the elements of Murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bronson went on to say "When a defendant elects to exercise his Constitutional Right to a trial by a jury, he places into the hands of that jury the duty and the ability to assess the testimony of each witness and each exhibit in order to weigh them for credibility and probative value and to determine where the composition of their findings of fact lead. In his motion, the Defendant is asking this court to go back and weigh the evidence. This is not something the court is permitted to do under the law of Ohio.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell released the following statement on Friday:
"Ohio law sets a very high standard for setting aside a jury’s verdict. As the decision shows, the Court was not convinced that the defense met that very high standard.”
Widmer remains at a prison in Orient near Columbus until he is transferred permanently to a state facility.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.