No new trial for Ryan Widmer, who drowned wife in bathtub

Ryan Widmer
Ryan Widmer

UPDATE @ 12:10 p.m.: Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said he agrees with a federal judge's decision that denied Ryan Widmer's attempt to get out of prison.

All of the issues raised in Widmer’s petition have already been properly decided by state courts, Fornshell said.

“I think the court saw through their attempts to federalize what are state law claims,” he said.

Main arguments by Widmer's appeals attorney, Michele Berry-Godsey, have included:

  • the home's bathtub was illegally seized
  • testimony regarding "prints" on the tub was based on "junk science"
  • Widmer should have been allowed to test Sarah's DNA for a rare genetic disorder
  • juries should have been told about lead detective Jeff Braley's alleged misrepresentations of his qualifications.

Berry-Godsey could not immediately be reached for comment.


Convicted bathtub killer Ryan Widmer was once again denied a request to free him from prison.

The judge handing down the ruling today, dismissed Widmer’s petition and said the case should not go any further.

“Because reasonable jurists would not disagree with this conclusion , petitioner should be denied a certificate of appealability and the court should certify to the Sixth Circuit that any appeal would be objectively frivolous,” U.S. District Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz.

MORE: Widmer asks U.S. District court to free him

After three trials in Warren County and numerous appeals, including one to the United States Supreme Court, Widmer remains behind bars on a 15-year to life sentence.

He was convicted of drowning his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of their Warren County home in August of 2008.