Millionaire Murder Trial: Bob Ward Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

By ABC News

Dec 17, 2011 1:15pm
ap bob ward jef 110923 wblog Millionaire Murder Trial: Bob Ward Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Red Huber/Pool/AP Photo

ABC News’ Katti Gray reports:

Though his tearful adult daughters pleaded for leniency, a Florida judge Friday sentenced former millionaire developer Bob Ward, 63, to 30 years in prison for murdering his wife, Diane Ward, in 2009.

“Justice for my mom isn’t locking my dad behind bars for the rest of his life,” daughter Mallory Ward told the judge. “It’s giving our family a second chance.”

“It breaks my heart to see him behind bars,” daughter Sarah Ward said.

Judge Jenifer Davis nixed a request from the women “who spewed profanities during the sentencing” for a commutation of their father’s sentence.

After two weeks of testimony and 12 hours of deliberation, Ward was found guilty of second-degree murder for shooting his wife point-blank in the face.

His lawyer had argued that Diane Ward committed suicide.

She was within days of a scheduled deposition during which she would allege that her husband spent millions on homes and cars while his development company was going bankrupt.

On a 911 emergency call recording in 2009, Ward had said, “I just shot my wife. She’s dead. She’s done. I’m sorry.”

Hours after his arrest, he said, “I have nothing to be worried about, other than I was trying to get the gun out of her hand.”

Those and other contradictions, analysts said, likely weakened Ward’s bid to be exonerated.

ABC News’ Matt Gutman contributed to this report.

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