Posted: 5:00 p.m. Monday, July 29, 2013

Ryan Widmer’s mom found dead in her home

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Widmer's 3 murder trials photo
Pat Auckerman
Ryan Widmer's parents Jill and Gary, hold a press conference in Cincinnati, Ohio after Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson denied Widmer's request for an aquittal earlier in the day Friday Aug. 6, 2010.
Widmer's 3 murder trials photo
Apryl Pilolli
Ryan Widmer's family and friends listen to testimony Monday, May 24, 2010, during Widmer's second murder trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon. Widmer is accused of drowning his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. home on Aug. 11, 2008.

By Denise G. Callahan

Staff Writer

MASON —

Ryan Widmer’s mother was found dead in her Mason home on Monday.

Jill Widmer, who along with her ex-husband Gary financed their son’s defense in three murder trials in Warren County, was found dead in her home on Slazenger Court by one of Widmer’s brothers, according to Coroner’s investigator Doyle Burke. He said they will know more about how she died after an autopsy is performed Tuesday.

“There is nothing apparent or anything to indicate anything suspicious or foul play,” he said. “She has had some health issues.”

Burke said when one of Widmer’s brothers hadn’t heard from her in about a week, he went to check on her and she was not breathing.

After the first conviction was thrown out due to juror misconduct in 2009 Widmer’s family wasn’t sure they would be able to raise the bond together to get him out of jail as he waited for his second trial. Jill said the first trial had eaten nearly all her retirement funds.

“But the financial toll doesn’t compare to the emotional toll it’s taken on me and Ryan,” she said at the time.

Defending their son cost close to $500,000.

After Widmer was convicted of drowning his wife Sarah in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. in 2011, Jackie Cromin said her sister was not able to attend any of the trial because, “She is very sick. This has ruined her.”

Charlie M. Rittgers, who helped his dad Charlie H. Rittgers while he was in law school with the first trial and was also part of the second and third trials, said the stress likely killed Jill Widmer.

“I had the opportunity to get to know Jill during the time our office represented Ryan and have nothing but good things to say about her,” Rittgers said. “The amount of stress that she and her family were under as a result of Sarah’s death and Ryan’s trials was immense. That amount of stress would get to anyone. It’s tragic.”

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