Ryan Widmer appeal: U.S. Supreme Court justices deny second appeal

CINCINNATI – The U.S. Supreme Court denied Monday a second appeal in the conviction of Ryan Widmer for the murder of his wife.

The Warren County man was found guilty of drowning his wife, Sarah, after three trials.

The Supreme Court discussed Widmer’s second and possibly final appeal over DNA evidence since Friday.

The appeal was over DNA tests of Widmer’s wife that were denied by a judge. Widmer was convicted of drowning Sarah in the couple’s bathtub in 2008.

Widmer's attorney, Michele Berry-Godsey, clarified the court's Monday decision.

"This was not an appeal raising all the errors that occurred before and during Ryan's trial," Berry-Godsey said. "This was an attempt to have the Court clarify the right to DNA testing in a situation like Ryan's, where testing could prove that no crime even occurred.  So we're not at all discouraged by the Court not accepting Ryan's case because the Supreme Court reviews thousands of petitions and only accepts a very small number that the Court believes need clarified for the entire country."

A jury found Widmer guilty of killing his wife in his first trial but that decision was overturned due to juror misconduct.‬ A second trial ended in a hung jury.‬

Berry-Godsey said the next step in Widmer's defense would be to file a habeas petition in U.S. District Court that will raise what the defense believes to be constitutional violations that occurred before and during Widmer's trial.

"So the next step will be filing the federal habeas petition which likely will occur in February. We're far from exhausting all of our options, and we won't give up on any of those until Ryan is free," she added.

Widmer is currently serving 15 years to life in a state prison.

He previously lost four appeals in the Ohio Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court denied a previous appeal earlier this month.

In Widmer's first Supreme Court appeal, it took one week for the justices to hand down a decision after discussing it in conference.‬
 

 

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