Tuesday, September 20, 2011

State Rests in the Bob Ward case!

The state has rested its case in the murder trial of Bob Ward.
Tuesday's testimony included details about the couple's emails, testimony from one of their daughters and video of Bob Ward being questioned by investigators. 

Dr. G
-told the jury she believes Diane Ward's death was a "homicide."
-"I don't think suicide had anything to do with this."
- says it's very unusual to have a gunshot suicide and no-contact wound from the weapon.
-thinks based on testing that Diane Ward was shot from an 18-inch distance.
-dismissed the notion that prescribed drugs in Diane Ward's system or depression had anything to do with her death.
She used a yard stick to show the jury the 18-inch distance from the end of the barrel to the entry.
-"I don't believe this is a struggle," she says because of how far away it was and the odd angles involved in the shooting.

Sarah Ward-daughter
-her mother was "my best friend."
-said her mom never handled guns, but her father did.
-found out about her death through "various calls" from her sister and aunt.
-said on Sept. 21 and 22 that her father never called her to talk about the shooting.
-said her mother could be forgetful and that Diane Ward acted differently when she drank red wine, her drink of choice.
-said her mother could get erratic when she drank. "My mother threw a suitcase at me when she was drinking red wine."
-said she loved both her mom and dad more than anything.
- said her mom was not slurring her words when she last spoke with her late in the day on Sept. 21, but she said she knew she had been drinking.

Kevin Stenger -OCSO computer expert
-read portions of emails Diane Ward sent and others sent to her the day she died
-In one of Diane Ward's emails, she expressed concern her daughter Sarah might have swine flu.
"Keep fingers crossed," she wrote.
- documented phone calls made to and from Diane Ward's phone that evening shortly before her death.
- also read emails Bob sent after he was taken into custody in which he announces "Diane is dead""I'm in jail." and"I have very sad news"
- he asks for help and writes, "Someone please get moving and get me the heck out of here."
-also wrote: "I have very sad news. Diane is dead. She killed herself."
-he sent attorneys involved in his business bankruptcy an angry email titled "Bastards." It states "I hope you're happy" and says Diane Ward killed herself.

In court today, jurors also watched video of Bob that was shot while he was in the Sheriff's office interview room.

Brian Cross -Lead Detective
-described his demeanor as calm.
-said he never saw him despondent, crying or hysterical during that period he was held in the interview room.
-gave Bob the Blackberry phone he later used to contact friends and family to tell them about his wife's death. Those conversations were also captured on the video.

Jurors also heard and saw Bob call his wife's sister and then immediately ask to speak to her husband Glenn Saare. That's the family member who he told first about his wife's death.
When his brother-in-law asks how it happened, he tells him, "that's another story."What do you do in a situation like this?" he asks. "I'm worried about my kids."
He leaves it to Glenn Saare to tell his wife, Paula, that her sister is dead. "Talk to Paula and let her know that her sister is dead," he told him.
When Glenn Saare presses for more details, Bob tells him, "I probably can't tell you anything right now other than she's dead...It was a very tragic accident."
He mentions that he wishes he could shoot himself in the head, but says he has to care and think about his two daughters.
"It's not a pretty scene right now. I never thought this would happen, but it did," he said.

Roy Scott Kobert: Bankruptcy Lawyer. Represents the trustee in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of Land Resources, Bob's company.
 -said a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a "liquidation." For the business, he said, "It's a matter of throwing the keys at the trustee and giving up."
- said he wanted to depose Diane Ward for a series of issues, including transfers of money to her for cars, mortgages of hers, trips to the Cayman Islands and Europe, tuition for the kids and life insurance the company had paid for, for Diane Ward.
- She was set to be deposed about these financial issues around the time she died.
- said that Bob and Diane resisted having her testify. But Kobert insisted that Diane Ward testify on Sept. 24, 2009.
- "I didn't agree to cancel the deposition. I was going forward." he said.
- deposition was supposed to last up to seven hours. Bob was to be deposed that day, too.
- Bob questioned why Kobert wanted to depose his wife. He asked, "Why are you deposing my wife at all? She didn't know anything about what the company did or didn't do," he said.
- Diane Ward, indicated the deposition would be inconvenient for her as she was more interested in attending equestrian events
- said he was going forward and expected to depose her that week.
- late on Sept. 21, 2009, Kobert saw a news story on TV about a "Death in Isleworth."
- later on he woke up in a "cold sweat" and read an email that appeared on his Blackberry. It was from Bob.
- email said "You bastards!! I hope you are happy. Diane killed herself this evening. Go to hell."
- "I emailed back that I'm sorry about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family"
- then cancelled the deposition because it would have been inappropriate and "clearly he must be in a state of grief."
-testified that Land Resources had family trusts involved in its ownership structure. The two Ward daughters each had a 10 percent minority stake in the company, while Bob Ward held 80 percent.
- wanted to know when the trusts for the daughters were established. He also wanted to know if the trusts were designed to defraud the company's creditors.- "I was never given the opportunity to question her (Diane Ward)."

The defense will likely need two full days to put on its case with five expert witnesses and a number of lay witnesses.
That makes it uncertain if the jury will get to begin deliberations by the end of the week.

In court on Monday, jurors saw an autopsy photo of Diane, showing a wound to the left side of her nose, as well as gunshot powder marks on her face.

Joshua Stephan- Associate Medical Examiner - testified that the pattern suggests the muzzle of the gun was 18 inches away when fired.
- "The distance, the trajectory. I don't think they're consistent with a struggle."
- said Diane was shot straight-on from a distance, while individuals who shoot themselves typically make contact and fire into the temple, the mouth, under the chin, the chest or the abdomen.

FDLE experts testified that Bob had no gunshot residue on his hands. Diane had a single particle on her left hand, jurors were told.

Also Monday, University of Florida forensic toxicologist Bruce Goldberger testified that the anti-depressant medication citalopram, or Celexa, found in Diane's system "is not significant and its presence is not relevant to the cause of death in my opinion."

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