[Watch live coverage of the trial on the Law&Crime Network, with in-studio legal analysis, in the player above. For a raw feed of the trial, watch in the player below this article.]
The second trial of James “Bob” Ward begins in Orange County, Florida on Wednesday. Ward is accused of shooting and killing his wife Diane Ward in 2009. A jury convicted Ward of second degree murder in 2011, but that decision was overturned on appeal, and now Ward is back in court for a second trial. Watch live in the player above.
Ward was serving a 30-year sentence when the conviction was thrown out in 2016. Ward successfully argued that his defense attorneys in the first trial made errors that may have impacted the jury’s decision.
During that trial, the prosecution had repeatedly referenced how Ward did not talk about his wife’s death when he was in police custody. A judge agreed that Ward’s attorneys should have objected to prosecutors using his exercise of the right to remain silent as an indication of guilt. Additionally, there was video of Ward with the police that prosecutors showed the court, and the defense never even viewed the latest version of the video before it was admitted as evidence. That was enough for the appellate judge to determine that Ward deserved a new trial.
Despite this, Ward did not deny shooting his wife, he just claims that he did not intentionally kill her. In a 911 call, he said, “I just shot my wife. She’s dead. She’s done. I’m sorry.”
During the first trial, the defense argued that there was a struggle over a loaded weapon that resulted in the weapon accidentally firing and killing Diane. Experts for the prosecution argued that the distance and position of the gun made it likely that this was not an accident.
Ward faces a minimum of 25 years in prison.