Friday, January 28, 2000
Schofield soldier found guilty in pregnant wife’s murder
However, the military jury rejected the prosecution’s argument that the killing was premeditated
By Gregg K. Kakesako
A military jury has found a Schofield Barracks soldier guilty of the unpremeditated murder of his pregnant wife.
Staff Sgt. Timothy Ward, 34, faces a maximum prison term of life without parole.
The six-member jury returned the verdict last night after hearing four days of testimony and deliberating for about four hours.
The panel, composed of three officers and three enlisted soldiers, was scheduled to begin a sentencing hearing today at Schofield Barracks.
Ward was charged with premeditated murder and accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Bianca, 15 times five months ago and then beating her skull in with a blunt instrument. The weapons were never found.
His attorney argued Ward “snapped” when faced with the possibility of losing his 19-month-old son and killed his wife during an argument in their Helemano home.
“This is a case and crime of the heart,” Maj. Claes Lewenhaupt told the five-man, one-woman jury.
In his 35-minute closing argument, military prosecutor Maj. Saul Contreras charged that Ward — a 13-year Army veteran from Georgia — planned to kill his wife, who was in the last trimester with the couple’s second child, after losing a custody battle for their son, Damian.
Contreras said Ward went to pick up his son on Aug. 26 and got into an argument with his German-born wife. He later confessed to Army investigators that he killed her.
“There is so much evidence to show that it was the accused who was the attacker and not Bianca Ward,” Contreras said.
“He was armed. He had a weapon. He stabbed her. She was unarmed.”
Contreras added that Ward, who didn’t take the stand, on several occasions last year told fellow 25th Infantry Division soldiers that he wanted to kill his wife because she wanted to return to Germany with their son.
He even told an Army mental health specialist last year that he wanted to strangle her.
But Lewenhaupt argued that “this was a crime of passion caused by adequate provocation” and Ward should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
“The bond between Staff Sgt. Ward and son Damian was bigger than life,” Lewenhaupt added.
Lewenhaupt, in his 40-minute closing argument, said Ward was holding Damian in the hallway of the couple’s second-floor apartment at 2900 Akoaakoa Court when his wife came after him with a dental instrument.
“At this moment Sgt. Ward snaps,” said Lewenhaupt, in describing the couple’s more than year-long custody battle.
But in rebuttal, Contreras labeled Lewenhaupt’s explanation as “ludicrous and laughable” because Ward in his five-page statement to Army investigators never mentioned his wife attacking him.
“It is fanciful wishes of the defense that it was in a fit of rage,” Contreras said.