Lead investigator focus of appeal by Ryan Widmer's attorney

LEBANON, Ohio - The attorney for convicted murderer Ryan Widmer filed another appear in the 12th District Court of Appeals on Monday.

The appeal, filed by Michelle Berry, tries to paint the lead investigator in the case, Lt. Jeff Braley, as incompetent and dishonest.

"The lead detective's incompetence and pattern of dishonesty impacted the entire investigation," Berry argued in the 81-page brief. She contends that Braley gave false testimony and blocked subpoenas "necessary for the defense to further investigate the detective's background and uncover a pattern of falsehoods to obtain career advancements."

Braley has since resigned from his job with the Hamilton Township Police Department amid allegations that he falsified credentials. He said he did not alter any documents in his personnel file. However, a state investigation revealed the handwriting on the documents in question belong to Braley and that altercation occurred.

Widmer, 31, is serving 15 years to life for the 2008 drowning death of his wife, Sarah. He was convicted of murder in the first trial in 2009. However, that verdict was later overturned due to juror misconduct. The second trial ended in a hung jury and the third trial resulted in a murder conviction.

The appeal also contends that Judge Neal Bronson made a mistake when he did not grant at request "for genetic DNA testing of Sarah Widmer's biological remains to determine if she suffered from a genetic disorder."

Berry said that request was dented without a hearing and that Judge Bronson did not allow access by the defense to grand jury testimony by Braley and coroner Russell Uptegrove.

A previous appeal filed and heard by the 12th District Court of Appeals has not been ruled on.

To read the appeal filed on Monday, click here or go to http://media2.wcpo.com/pdfs/widmerappeal.pdf.

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