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Millionaire Bob Ward Guilty of 2nd Degree Murder

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 26, 2011 12:48 PM

Millionaire housing developer Bob Ward was found guilty of killing his wife on Saturday by a jury in Florida. Ward was convicted of second-degree murder in the September 2009 shooting of his wife, Diane.

Diane was shot days before she was set to testify in a deposition that her husband spent millions of dollars on expensive cars and houses as his business failed. Ward had been facing a lawsuit, and his company had filed for bankruptcy.

The prosecution argued that Ward shot Diane after a heated argument. The defense alleged that Diane was suicidal and was trying to either kill herself or kill her husband at the time of her death.

The defense's argument took a hit when jurors heard Bob Ward's own words. The night of the shooting, he called 911 and told the dispatcher several times that he had just shot his wife, according to the AP.

Ward, 63, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.

Ward's attorney does not believe his client received a fair trial, according to the Chicago Tribune. Earlier this summer in the same Florida county, Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges related to the murder of her daughter. Many believe this was the wrong verdict.

Now, Ward's attorney thinks that this may have influenced members of the jury. He believes that jurors are more likely to convict defendants of murder post-Casey Anthony.

Could this really be the case? It seems like a tall order. Juries are instructed on what legal standards they need to apply in any given case. They then deliberate and come to a verdict, charged with determining if the prosecution proved all the elements of the crime.

Did the jury bring in a bias against defendants when they convicted Ward? They could have. Or maybe the jurors were simply convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Bob Ward's guilt.

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