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Man acquitted of murdering wife's lover speaks out | News

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Man acquitted of murdering wife's lover speaks out

BRANDON, Florida -- Just two days after being acquitted of second degree murder, Ralph Wald invited reporters to his home to give his side of the story in a shooting that left his wife's lover dead.

"It's a shame that somebody had to die," Wald told members of the media standing in his driveway.

In hindsight, the 70-year-old said he wishes he had recognized Walter Conley, the 32-year-old man who he found with his wife, 42-year-old Johnna Flores, in their living room on the night of March 10. Wald said when he went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, the scene he saw unfolding looked like an intruder raping his wife.

"If I had known who it was, the person may not have died," Wald said on Saturday. "If the person had gotten in front of my wife, where I could recognize him, instead of hiding behind her, then I might have realized there's something going on here and I might not have shot him. I can't say for sure. I honestly can't."

When Wald saw Flores with Conley, a former roommate of hers, Hillsborough detectives say Wald grabbed a gun from his bedroom and shot Conley several times, killing him. Then, Wald dialed 911, a call the jury heard during his trial this week.

"Some guy was, uh, fornicating with my wife," he told a dispatcher.

Wald and Flores married less than five months ago, according to county records. They met as next-door neighbors on Clara Street in Brandon. After getting married, they both signed quit claim deeds so they would both own each other's houses. 

When Wald met Flores, he said she told him that she couldn't have sex because of events in her past. Wald said he had no idea that Flores was having an affair, and blamed mental illness for affecting his wife's decision making.

After he was released from jail, he took his wife to Waffle House, since he said she like the Patty Melt Plate. He said he and Flores plan to seek counseling to help their marriage.

"The biggest issue that I see we're going to have, and I've discussed this with my wife, isn't so much forgiveness as it is trust," he told reporters.

His attorney, Joe Episcopo, asked him if he still plans to keep his firearms. 

"If Johnna can get them back for me," Wald responded. "If not, I'll have to go buy some more."

"So it's not the firearms you're worried about?" Episcopo asked.

"Oh, no," Wald answered. "No, no, no."


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