Sunday, October 11, 2009

What About Diane Ward, Isleworth Murder Victim?


At Friday's bond hearing for her husband, James Robert "Bob" Ward of Isleworth, I wasn't altogether shocked that he was granted a bond by Judge Walter Komanski, even though Dr. Garavaglia, Orange County's medical examiner, testified that the powder burns on Mrs. Ward's face indicated the muzzle of the gun was approximately 6" to 12" away and that her eyes were open when she was shot in the face, just under the left eye, near the nose. It seems quite obvious that even if there had been a struggle over the pistol as the defense asserts, it's still highly unlikely, as Dr. G testified, that the bullet would have traveled the trajectory it did (virtually straight front to back).

I wasn't shocked because our country has a tendency to favor defendants who can afford to pay multiple high-priced attorneys when they get into trouble with the law. Remember OJ and his "dream team?" I was shocked at the ridiculously low bond amount that was set. Judge Komanski, at the end of the 2-hour hearing, decided that $100k was sufficient to ensure Mr. Ward's appearance at trial. That means he only had to post $10k. A hefty sum for most of us, but chicken feed for someone of his means. For someone who, even though his business was in bankruptcy, can afford to hire some high powered attorneys, the amount is a slap in Diane's face.

There was never any detailed testimony about his financial holdings, something that Assistant State Attorney Robin Wilkinson attempted to elicit, but was abruptly prevented from doing.

There was testimony that Mr. Ward had threatened suicide in a conversation with his brother-in-law. Perhaps a murder-suicide was planned, but he changed his mind. We don't know how much time elapsed between the gunshot, the placing of the gun in the nightstand, and the 911 call. Only one person knows what really happened in that bedroom.

There was testimony that none of the character witnesses, presumably the people who knew him best, were unaware of the extent of his financial woes. He did a good job of keeping that a secret.

The character witnesses that spoke on his behalf were all financially dependent upon the Mr. Ward. They were:
  • John Mitchell Thomas, friend in 1985 for a year, lost touch & renewed their friendship 3-4 years ago testified he saw the Bob & Diane together only 3-4 times and that they seemed to respect and care for each other. Thomas testified he'd been to the Ward home only one time. He admitted he did not know the status of their relationship. He worked for Ward for a couple of years.
  • Patricia Wilkinson, employed by Ward as a housekeeper / "Girl Friday" since they purchased the Isleworth home 2 1/2 years ago
  • Mallory Ward, daughter
  • Sara Ward, daughter
  • Paula Saare, Diane's sister, employed by Ward's company admitted that she asked the detective to rule Diane's death as an accident
It seems as though for someone who is 61 years old, there weren't any true, long time friends either available or willing to testify in his behalf. It struck me that he really does not have very many ties to the community - especially since the mansion he's lived in is being foreclosed upon.

The Sentinel reported on September 27th that Mr. Ward's first wife Janis made allegations of cruelty in their divorce 32 years ago. And an ex-girlfriend who dated Ward for about five years in the 1980s reported that he was a charming and generous man who wrestled with bouts of jealous rage and possessiveness — especially when he was drinking. These behaviors, along with the ability to keep secrets, are typical of someone who has abusive tendencies in their intimate partner relationships.

I also find it interesting that no mention of alcohol was made during the hearing, and yet it was reported in the Sentinel's October 9th coverage.

Also puzzling to me, and to many others, is the wholehearted support by Diane's sister and by the daughters for the man who is accused of murdering her. Ward's demeanor, as well, is baffling. His behavior in jail, his lack of apparent grief for his wife (as was demonstrated in a tragic accidental shooting of Nancy Dinsmore this weekend in Winter Springs), and his air of nonchalance at the entire process makes one think that perhaps he feels as though somehow he doesn't have to live by the same rules that the rest of us do.

I was stunned by Kirk Kirkconnell's lame attempt at humor when he realized in his closing argument what a foolish thing he said when discounting Ward's suicide threat. To paraphrase, he said, "Who among us hasn't threatened to kill themselves or their wife? We all have!" He then looked sheepishly over his shoulder and said "My wife's not here, is she?" Perhaps it was a Freudian slip. But it was offensive to every victim whose voice has been silenced by domestic violence. If you hear someone threaten to take a gun and blow their brains out, don't ignore the threat.

Finally, a $100k bail for someone with Ward's means is meaningless - even if his mansion is going into foreclosure. For most of us, a $100k bond would be a huge incentive to return to court. I would guess his attorneys' retainers exceeded that much already. At this point, he has no reason to flee. It certainly looks like things are going his way.


Has anybody bothered to make funeral arrangements for Diane yet? After all, she died 3 weeks ago. Seems to me that nobody really cares about her.

For more info, the Sentinel has a comprehensive list of articles and videos available online. The entire 2-hr bond hearing may be viewed at WFTV's site (it is broken up into 5 segments).

18 comments:

  1. Murder/suicide - by shooting your wife in the face!! Come on who is gonna fall for that one. He seems like an arrogant s-o-b. As for Diane's memory, this is the sad part. Does even her immediate family care, they don't appear to. This town is becoming known for granting legal double standards to those who murder and have money and/or means behind them. It has to stop.

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  2. Ward's bail is a joke. Annie Le, a young Yale graduate student, gained national attention when she was brutally murdered on the Yale campus by Raymond Clark. Raymond Clark's bail was set a $3 million dollars. Diane Ward's murder by her husband is equally horrific. Why was Clark's bail at #3 million and Ward's bail only $100,000.

    The behavior of Ward's daughter and sister-in-law is appalling. Absolutely terrible.

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  3. Bob ward was boinking his sister-in-law

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  4. Unfortunately I was not shocked by Kirk Kirkconnell's stupid and offensive remark. Having had the misfortune of seeing him in public several times, I now know why I always get the feeling there is something 'off' about him. No wonder Steven Piantieri hired Kirkconnell as his defense attorney for his domestic violence case. It appears they have more in common than a disgustingly sick sense of humor and a complete lack of respect for women. I feel sorry for Kirkconnell's wife. Thank goodness Steven Piantieri no longer has one and let's pray it stays that way!

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  5. Rest In Peace, Diane. You were truly a warm, generous and nice person!

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  6. none of yall know what you're talking about. the ward family is loving and caring and has been struck by tragedy. quit judging things that you don't know to be true, quit listening to the media who just wants a good story. put yourselves in the daughters shoes. they know their parents better than any of yall. this is a tragedy for them. all they have left is their innocent father. get your facts straight. Diane is an amazing person. she will ALWAYS be loved by her family. so again. STOP judging the family who knows Bob better then any of you losers.

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  7. oh, and also as for the funeral remark - the police wouldn't release her body. and it's none of our business. this is a family we're talking about. they're heartbroken.

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  8. Something smells here- he's a peculiar man. Been around him a few times & looked like he was battling his own demons!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anxious to see what happens at trial, whenever that may be!

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  9. Bob Ward, his daughters and Paula and Glenn Saare should hold their heads in shame! Don't be fooled, it's all about money. That whole family has a vested interest in kissing up to Bob Ward because there's millions of ill-gotten gains from Land Resources in irrevocable trusts accounts for his daughters and Paula Saare, Diane's sister is also on the receiving end of Bob's generosity. Dispicable!

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  10. Paula Saare is the most dispicable human being on earth.

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  11. As I watched Bob Ward during his Channel 13 interview giving another version of what happened the night he shot his wife in the face turned my stomach and using the "lame" excuse that he didn't go on the stand and tell his version was because he was mad that the prosecutor made his daughter "Sarah." Bob Ward didn't get on the stand because they would have ripped him apart...an innocent man gets on the stand..a guilty one doesn't.

    The only reason his daughter "Sarah" returned to the stand was a last "ditch effort" to save her father by making her own Mother look like a "drucken sailor" who is uncontrollable when she drinks red wine. The only thing this "brat" could come up with is while her Mother, who always travelled with her "Judas" daughter, who wears the title of "National Show Horse Champion" threw a suitcase at her in the hotel room.

    Yeah, so what..and your father, who is a convicted murderer, and not yet a convicted fraud stole millions of dollars from innocent property owners, went bankrupt, and from the ill gotten gains from people who's life savings he stole, bought, boarded, and trained horses worth millions of dollare, so you little "Judas" could brag about how you are the "National Show Horse Champion."

    Your father was so abusive to his first wife, she had an Order of Proctection against him.

    Your father put a gun to Diane Callahan's head then ripped off the bedpost and beat her in the head and face. She ran to neighbors for help and ended up in the hospital.

    Plain and simple: Diane Ward was murdered simply because she wasn't going to jail for Bob Ward. If she attended that depositon she would have exposed him and his company and employees..including Paula and Glenn Saare who worked for Land Resources.

    That's why Bob Ward, his daughter Mallory and that slime ball Paula Saare were laughting and being so helpful and concerned towards Bob Ward...Diane Ward..the loose cannon was dead.

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  12. Sure, they all laughed when Diane Ward died and they all cried when the money man, Bob Ward, was convicted of murdering his wife, Mallory and Sarah's mother and that snake-eyed sister, Paula Saare. Shameful.

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  13. I wonder how much money Paula Saare is going to make as Executor of Mallory and Sarah's irrevocable trust funds? Afterall, she did make $400,000 one year working for Land Resources, selling property in Cumberland Harbour.

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  14. How about that buffoon husband of hers, Glenn Saare. Did you see him on the stand? What a retard, and that crying act he put on. He worked for Land Resources too!
    But I loved when Paula Saare got on the stand and said, "She didn't know any of the details."
    You're right! She is a snake-eyed montster, because she knows all the details, especially when she was selling property in Cumberland Harbour to unsuspecting property buyers knowing full well her brother-in-law was going bankrupt.
    She would sell her own mother down the river for a buck, she already did it to her sister.

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  15. I would like to make a remark to the person who posted, "this is a family were talking about, their heart broken." Well it certainly didn't look that way during those jailhouse visits!

    We all know that Bob Ward is a sick controlling individual, but Diane's daughter Mallory, and that sister, Paula Saare. OMG

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  16. That whole family is a blight on humanity! They are all fraudsters who belong in prison.

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  17. REALLY ITS VERY SHOCKING SUCH NEWS!!!!! REALLY

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  18. Shocking, how about Paula Saare telling the investigator to make her sister's murder "Look like an accident." When Paula went on the stand she had to admit she said that or else she would have went to jail too! Paula Saare would sell her soul for a dollar.

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