Millionaire twice convicted of killing wife sentenced to 30 years

Bob Ward found guilty of killing wife in Isleworth

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Bob Ward, a millionaire convicted twice of killing his wife, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison with credit for time served.

Diane Ward died of a single gunshot wound to the head in the 2009 shooting inside their mansion. Bob Ward said repeatedly during a 911 call that he had shot his wife.

Ward was convicted of manslaughter during a February retrial.

Ward was scheduled to be sentenced in May, but the sentencing was delayed. He faced 10 to 30 years in prison.

During a sentencing hearing Thursday, Ward's attorney Craig Gillen argued that he should be given a downward departed sentence because of multiple medical issues and because he has maintained the support of his family throughout both of his trials.

"The daughters and Paula, the sister of Mrs. Ward, continue to support Mr. Ward and will continue to do that and the note reinforces their belief in him, reinforces their belief Mr. Ward did not commit the crime that he had been convicted of," Gillen said.

Ward's daughter spoke on his behalf before the sentencing.

"Understand that I will always love my mom and that supporting my dad by no means mean I love her any less," Sarah Ward-Rupp said, begging Judge Leticia Marques to show mercy.

Ward's attorneys suggested that he be sentenced to the six-plus years he has already served. 

Prosecutor William Jay argued that Ward's medical conditions are not beyond what anyone else experiences during the natural aging process and that his actions the night his wife was killed were "as egregious as it gets."

An apparent suicide note Diane Ward wrote was discussed during the sentencing hearing, but prosecutors said the note was not relevant because she was not suicidal at the time of her death.

In 2011, Ward was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. An appeals court reversed the conviction last year, saying Ward's attorney did not properly object to evidence regarding his right to remain silent.

Ward served six years before the conviction was overturned.

In addition to the maximum sentence Ward received Thursday, he was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $50 per day that he's in custody.

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