Ryan Widmer was found guilty of murder, a jury determined Tuesday after spending 12 hours deliberating over two days.
Following the verdict, Widmer immediately collapsed on the table, holding his head and sobbing.
Sobs could also be heard throughout the courtroom after the verdict was read.
“I did not do this. My life has been ruined. I don’t know why this has gone on for so long. I loved Sarah, I would never hurt her, never,” Widmer told the judge before he was sentenced.
“This has gone on for two and a half years now. We depleted our money. This keeps going on and on. Twelve hours after she died and I’m charged … This isn’t right, isn’t right.”
Judge Neal Bronson sentenced Widmer to 15 years to life in prison. He already served about five months behind bars after the first trial and will get credit for time served
The jury started its deliberations Monday morning after hearing 15 days of testimony. The verdict was announced at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Before the jurors came out, the courtroom was hushed and silent. An audible gasp from the audience could be heard when the verdict was read.
Gary Widmer, Ryan’s father, and other Widmer family members bowled over, sobbing, after the verdict was read. They were the only ones in the courtroom who didn’t stand for the jury after it was dismissed.
Widmer attorneys Lindsey Gutierrez and Jay Clark hugged a sobbing Gary Widmer tightly after Ryan Widmer was taken into custody.
After the verdict was read, Ruth Ann Steward, Sarah Widmer’s mother, looked straight ahead, chin up, her face stoic. She declined to make a statement.
Widmer supporters appeared stunned.
Widmer supporter Jill Bowman of Maineville struggled to find words. A registered nurse with 25 years experience in a level one trauma center, Bowman attended the trial after working the night shift.
“I don’t get it, I don’t get it,” she said, before overcome by tears.
Carol Freiberger, a retired nurse who attended the entire retrial, expressed her doubts that the evidence proved Widmer’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I’m very disappointed,” she said. “If anything I expected they’d come back with manslaughter.”
Mollie Mihalik of West Chester, an operating room nurse whose daughter was acquainted with the Widmer family, said, “I can’t believe this travesty has happened.”
The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement Tuesday night about the verdict.
“The Prosecutor’s Office is pleased the trial over and that justice has been done for Sarah and her family. The jurors who have served on this case should be commended for their willingness to be a part of this process, and their diligence in reviewing the evidence,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary said.
“Recognition should also go to the dedicated men and women who have been involved in the case from start to finish. The diligent efforts of the Hamilton Township Police and Fire Departments, the Sheriff’s Office and Coroner, Dr. Russell Uptegrove, as well as the Prosecution team, have worked tirelessly to ensure that justice was done.”
Attorneys for Widmer said they were too upset to comment as they left the courthouse.
In 2009, a jury acquitted Widmer of a more serious charge, aggravated murder, which alleged Sarah Widmer’s death was purposely caused, with “prior calculation and design.” The jury convicted him of a murder charge, but Judge Neal Bronson later set aside that conviction because of jury misconduct.
Last year, jurors went 30 hours, believed to be the longest deliberation in Warren County history, before announcing they were hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach the required unanimous decision on the murder charge.
Widmer was accused of drowning his wife, Sarah, in their Hamilton Township bathtub in 2008.
Janice Morse contributed to this story.
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