September 29, 2011
LIMA — A judge denied the motion for a new trial on the grounds of juror misconduct filed by a doctor convicted of aggravated murder in his first wife's 2006 death.Judge Richard Warren issued the ruling Thursday in the case against Mark Wangler. Wangler, 56, asked the court for a new trial. Wangler's defense team accused the juror of intentionally lying on a jury questionnaire about his criminal record and his wife's background, using drugs during the trial, and holding himself out as an expert on heating, ventilation and air conditioning.Wangler, an anesthesiologist, was convicted in the 2006 death of his first wife, Kathy Wangler. She died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He was sentenced to life in prison with the chance for parole after 25 years. Wangler's lead attorney, Christopher McDowell, said he was puzzled how Warren could say a juror's use of cocaine and or alcohol during trial is irreverent.“The court should have held a hearing to ferret out the truth of this juror's wrongdoings,” he said. Warren said Wangler's legal team failed to produce evidence to back their claims.“There is no evidence before this court, which it could determine that the jury returned a verdict of guilty based on anything other than the evidence before it,” Warren said.The judge said a new trial only may be awarded if it's proved a juror did something wrong and it affected the defendant's right to a fair trial.On the claim the juror lied on a jury questionnaire, the judge said it was not uncommon for potential jurors to not answer questions or to be required to remember everything in their life. He also said Wangler's lawyers had the opportunity to ask the juror more about his background during questioning and failed to do so.McDowell said the juror improperly answered questions and hid his criminal past. “No citizen in his right mind would want to be tried by a jury consisting of even one ‘high' juror. The Constitution demands better and our judicial system deserves better,” he said. Wangler's current wife, Esther Wangler, said the juror in question had 19 charges against him including a felony drug charge that was pleaded down to a misdemeanor. She questioned how he could forget that and list his only crime as a drunken-driving offense.She said had the juror told the truth her husband's attorneys would have questioned him more.Esther Wangler also said a private investigator hired by her husband's legal team saw the juror using cocaine in the men's room of a local bar.Warren, however, in his ruling said there was no proof only suggestions of the drug use. Esther Wangler further said several jurors spoke on “Dateline NBC” about the trial saying two jurors had knowledge of water heaters and furnaces, which influenced the verdict.Warren said the juror in question was asked in a sworn statement about his knowledge on heating and air conditioning, and said he never held himself out as an expert.In his ruling, Warren posed a question asking why anyone would want to come in and serve on a jury if they would be subject to hearsay allegations, embarrassment, innuendos and public scrutiny after the fact.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.