This screenshot from a “Dateline NBC” episode set to air May 6 shows
Ryan Widmer, girlfriend Sarah Manherz and his unnamed baby.
The Enquirer’s Janice Morse has more details on Ryan Widmer’s girlfriend and the couple’s baby, as revealed in a video clip promoting an upcoming “Dateline NBC” episode on the case, scheduled to air May 6.
Sarah Manherz, who became Ryan Widmer’s girlfriend and mother of his baby, was among hundreds of supporters who rallied to his cause after watching his story on “Dateline NBC” in 2009, one of his lawyers said.
It just so happened that Manherz and Widmer “clicked,” said Michele Berry, one of three lawyers working for free on Widmer’s appeal.
Berry described the context in which the relationship developed:
“Ryan was deeply depressed, lonely, and basically stuck in his house due to being on house arrest and having investigators and photographers waiting outside his home,” Berry said Wednesday.
“His new wife had died, which was incredibly sad for him, and he hadn’t even had time to mourn before he found himself being charged with murdering her even though he was innocent.” Berry said. “It is hard for people to imagine being in that situation.”
Widmer, 30, of Mason, is appealing his Feb. 15 murder conviction in the 2008 drowning of his wife, Sarah, 24 for which he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
The couple have given their first public interviews to Dateline in a 2-hour episode set to air at 9 p.m. Friday, Dateline Producer Jay Stone said.
Morse has more details on the Dateline interview:
When Dateline crews spent about an hour with Widmer at the Warren Correctional Institution on April 20, “It was a no-holds-barred interview. There were no questions off limits,” Stone said.
Before that, Widmer’s only public statements came in response to the outcomes of his three trials. His 2009 conviction was thrown out because of juror misconduct. In 2010, he said the hung jury should have acquitted him. This year, he protested his innocence, echoing statements he made after his first conviction.
During his interview with Dateline, Widmer addresses his reasons for not taking the witness stand in any of his trials, Stone said.
“I think he wanted to tell his story, but he had to listen to his lawyers…they advised that was the best road to go and that was the road they took,” she said. “He trusted them. He was in no way critical of them at all.”
Stone, who has been with Dateline for 17 years, said the case is among the most fascinating of her career.
It’s also likely the only time that Dateline viewers have become part of a criminal case, she said.
The national attention drawn by television show attracted responses from hundreds of people from across the nation, said Berry.
Three women became entangled in the Widmer saga because of Dateline:
- Manherz, who has lived in Canada and New York before moving to the Cincinnati area;
- Jennifer Crew, the Iowa woman whose identity was kept secret for months after she alleged Widmer had confessed to killing his wife;
- Melissa Waller of Washington state, a defense witness who countered Crew’s testimony.
Dateline has covered all three of Widmer’s trials and previously aired an episode on the case in September 2009.
That program, “Mystery in the Master Bedroom, was one of its best-watched episodes in 2009, said Pete Salkowski, creative services director for Dateline’s local affiliate, Channel 5.
After that broadcast, Widmer “spent time talking with people on the Internet from all over – men and woman, old and young – who supported him, because he was depressed and needed that support just to make it day to day,” Berry said.
Besides the interviews with Manherz and Widmer himself, the segment also includes interviews with four jurors who voted to convict him in the third trial, plus three other jurors who wanted to acquit him in the second trial.
A producer said the show could be postponed until Sunday because the network might instead air a segment on the death of Osama bin Laden.