Bob Ward declines to testify in murder retrial; jury deliberation underway

By Greg Angel, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 4:42 PM EST

Attorneys for Bob Ward rested their case Wednesday after the former Isleworth millionaire declined to take the stand in his own defense.

Now, jury deliberations are underway in what will decide the fate of Ward.  

Both sides worked out details about instructions that was given to the jury at the Orange County Courthouse before deliberations began late Wednesday afternoon.

Defense attorneys also called Dr. William Robert Anderson, a pathology specialist, to talk about autopsy results. A former bankruptcy attorney also testified.

While Ward did not take the stand, the biggest piece of evidence for the jury very well could be Ward’s own words.

Ward is on trial for shooting and killing his wife, Diane, in the couple’s mansion in 2009.

Ward claims the gun accidentally went off as he struggled to stop his wife from taking her own life. However, prosecutors argue there is no proof there was a struggle or that Diane had the gun that was fired.

Prosecutors told jurors that Ward intentionally shot and killed his wife as pressure mounted from a looming business bankruptcy.

“Motive isn’t an element of the crime,” said Assistant State Attorney Will Jay Wednesday in a final pitch in the case against Ward. “Mrs. Ward did not have her hand on this gun when it went off, the DNA from the kickback is right there.”

On Tuesday, Sarah Rupp, Bob and Diane Ward’s daughter, testified in support of her father. She said her parents had a loving relationship but that her mother had tendencies to become confrontational at times and overused alcohol and prescription medication.

“A lot of times, if my Mom had been drinking, she would pick fights with my Dad,” Rupp said.

Ward was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011, but a judge later threw out the verdict.

If jurors don't have a decision by 6 p.m., then deliberations will continue Thursday.

Interactive timeline: The Bob Ward case