We reported here last month that Brandon resident Ralph Wald was on trial for the murder of Walter Conley. Conley was an on-again/off-again lover of Wald’s wife who was shot and killed in Wald’s wife after Wald discovered the two having sex. Wald maintained that he believed Conley was raping his wife.
After several days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Wald, determining that he committed no crime in shooting Conley.
Wald’s wife, Johnna Lynn Flores, told the media, “I am elated, absolutely elated.”
During the trial, evidence and testimony suggested that Wald woke around midnight in his home on March 10 and found Conley and Flores having sex on the floor in the living room. He took a .38 revolver from his bedroom and shot Conley in the stomach and head.
Prosecutors argued that Wald, who suffered from erectile dysfunction, killed Conley in a jealous rage when he discovered him with Flores. The prosecution told the jury there was no evidence the sexual act between Flores and Conley was not consensual and that Flores had an on-again, off-again relationship with Conley for years.
Wald’s defense attorneys argued he did not recognize Conley and shot him thinking he was an intruder raping his wife. The defense invoked Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law, noting that Wald had “no duty to retreat” when facing perceived danger within his own home.
Wald’s lawyer argued that Wald, a decorated combat veteran who served in Vietnam, was “trained what you do with the enemy … you take your gun and kill the enemy.”