Janice Morse reports:
The former detective from the Ryan Widmer murder case testified for about a half hour Monday in an unrelated federal court civil-rights trial, denying allegations that he and other officers “conspired” to raid an adult birthday party under false pretenses.
“I didn’t put together anything, sir…I did not plan anything,” Jeff Braley, a former police lieutenant, said in response to a question from Konrad Kircher, a lawyer representing Ted and Mary Pritchard of Hamilton Township and two other people.
Kircher questioned Braley about events surrounding the 2007 incident on the Pritchards’ property.
Kircher did not ask Braley about his employment credentials as part of his testimony today, although Kircher was allowed to explore that topic in a pretrial deposition.
Braley has denied making false statements found in his employment records. He resigned last year after an investigation into those documents.
In the Pritchard case, the family and their partygoers allege that nearly two dozen officers stormed the property in 2007 based on unsupported suspicions of underage drinking, court records say. The party was being thrown for Ted Pritchard’s 52nd birthday and for the Pritchards’ son’s 21st birthday, Kircher said.
The Pritchard family later learned that the raid happened partly because a Hamilton Township officer’s wife called the Hamilton Township police department from her Butler County home, pretending to be calling from Warren County and reporting she heard loud noise coming from the Prtichards’ party, court records say.
Prospective jurors in the Pritchard case denied recognizing Braley from the highly publicized Widmer case, which ended with Widmer, now 31, who last lived in Mason, being convicted in the 2008 bathtub drowning of his wife. His case went to trial three times before he was convicted a year ago. Only two of the prospective jurors in the Pritchard case said they followed any phase of the Widmer case closely.