Developer Who Murdered Wife Says He Overdosed on Pain Pills

By Suzan Clarke

Dec 18, 2011 9:18pm
ap bob ward jef 111020 wblog Developer Who Murdered Wife Says He Overdosed on Pain Pills

Red Huber/Pool/AP Photo

Bob Ward, the former millionaire developer who was convicted of murdering his wife, was under observation today after he told jail officials he took an overdose of pain pills Saturday, just one day after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Ward told officers at the Orange County Jail in Florida that he had taken more than the recommended amount of ibuprofen. He was under medical observation at an Orlando hospital this morning, officials said.

Inmates at the jail are allowed to purchase over-the-counter pain medication, and a bottle of ibuprofen contains 20 tablets, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Orange County Corrections Department officials told ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando that the incident is not being considered a suicide attempt.

In September a jury found Ward guilty of the Sept. 21, 2009, murder of his wife, Diane Ward, in the couple’s mansion in the exclusive Isleworth community.

On Friday, despite his two daughters’ tearful pleas for leniency, a Florida judge sentenced Ward to 30 years in prison.

Ward admitted shooting his wife, but during the trial his defense called the incident a tragic accident. The defense said Diane Ward had a strong mix of alcohol and antidepressants in her system, and that she could have been suicidal. His attorney said Ward was just trying to save his wife when she was killed.

Ward had also said he was trying to get the gun out of his wife’s hands when it went off.

But prosecutors argued that Ward murdered his wife in a fit of rage inside the couple’s home. She was killed just days before a scheduled deposition on a series of issues related to her husband’s bankrupt company.

The couple was reportedly deep in debt, and Ward apparently could not pay his $17,000 monthly mortgage.

In the 911 call Ward made, which was played in court, he could be heard telling a dispatcher, “I just shot my wife … I just shot my wife. I just shot my wife. She’s dead. She’s done. I’m sorry.”

Ward’s family has been supportive of him all along, even as his behavior in jail immediately following his wife’s death invited intense scrutiny.

Detectives who interviewed him after the shooting noted that he seemed oddly composed. And jailhouse video captured Ward dancing and laughing with his daughter and sister-in-law.

Ward was scheduled to be sent to a state penitentiary this week to serve out his sentence.

ABC News’ Olivia Katrandjian contributed to this story.

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