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Jury delivers not guilty verdict in love triangle trial | Crime

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Jury delivers not guilty verdict in love triangle trial
Crime

Tampa, Florida -- Was Ralph Wald an honorable man last March trying to protect his wife or was he a jealous husband murderously angry at his wife's lover? That's the question jurors decided on Thursday and they sided with "honorable".

Certainly the testimony of Wald himself Thursday weighed heavily in their not guilty decision. Wald told jurors that when he discovered his wife and a man having sex in his own living room, that he thought she was being raped. So he went and got his gun and shot Walter Conley three times killing him on the spot.

See Also: Sex, booze, and a gun all part of murder trial testimony

"If the same thing happened again, I would do the same thing, because I didn't think I did anything wrong," Wald told jurors.

And Wald's attorney Joe Episcopo hammered that point home in his closing argument where he called the shooting justified. 

"You must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded," said Episcopo.

However, Wald is a retired lawyer and prosecutors implied that he thought up this rape defense later on, because he never mentioned it during his 911 call.

"He used the word fornicating to describe what he had seen...not forcible sex, not rape," emphasized Assistant State Attorney Chris Moody in his closing argument.

And Moody went on to say that even though the victim was having an affair, Wald using a gun was literally overkill. 

"It's beyond disrespectful to have sex in the living room of a man's home with his wife, but Walter Conley, under the law, should not have died because he was wrong."

Upon leaving the courtroom relatives of Conley acknowledged they were disappointed by the verdict, while Wald's family said they were ecstatic.

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