• Defense presents evidence in retrial of Isleworth millionaire

    By: Shannon Peterson , WFTV Web Staff


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The retrial of an Isleworth millionaire, accused of killing his wife, wrapped up Tuesday afternoon in Orange County.


    The defense presented evidence Tuesday.


    Bob Ward was found guilty in 2011 of fatally shooting Diane Ward at the couple’s Isleworth mansion in 2009. Ward’s first conviction was overturned by an appeals court.


    Read: Millionaire's murder conviction overturned


    The court found that Ward's former defense team made mistakes during the trial, including submitting inadmissible evidence.


    Ward's oldest daughter, Mallory Ward, testified Monday about her parent's relationship.


    "My parents had a very loving relationship. My dad doted on her. My mom respected him. They were great," she said.


    However, the retrial has been focused on financial troubles. Records released Tuesday showed the couple had at least $9 million that was protected from individual creditors.


    "The death of the wife is a financial disaster for the husband because the husband's creditors can now get that property. That has been held in the tendencies by the entirety," said professor Jeffrey Davis with Bankruptcy Law.


    The couples love for alcohol has also been a focus in the trial.


    Ward's other child, Sarah Rupp testified Tuesday that her mother would sometimes pick fights with her dad when she drank wine.


    "I'd see her kind of try to start a fight," Rupp testified. She went on to say that her dad would walk away from the fight.


    Rupp said her mother would drink a bottle or two of wine a night and took medication for anxiety. Rupp said her mother called the medication her "happy pills."


    "She started to drink a lot. She was under a great deal of stress and pressure from a number of sources, and she would lose her temper," Diane Ward's friend Christina Steinhaus testified.


    Read: Financial troubles, alcohol, focus in retrial of Isleworth millionaire


    Ward said during a 911 call on the night in question that he shot his wife and that he was sorry. But he later told investigators she killed herself.


    The defense claims the evidence was mishandled, so it's impossible to tell who pulled the trigger.


    The prosecution wrapped up its case Monday.


    Read: Millionaire awaiting new trial in wife's killing bonds out of jail


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