Man Presumed Wife Was Under Attack, Kills Her Lover
Seventy-year-old Ralph Wald shares a kiss with his much younger wife, 41 year old Johnna Lynn.
This moment of marital bliss is taking place in the very same living room where Wald, a Florida lawyer, shot and killed a man.
Wald recalls, "My assumption immediately was that somebody had broken in and they were raping my wife."
Wald was asleep when he heard a noise coming from the living room. He discovered his wife and 32-year-old, Walter Conley having sex. He got his gun and confronted the man.
"He was hiding behind her. I came around with my gun. I got it in the lower intestines. I wanted to inflict pain. I took a second shot by elevating the muzzle. I was hoping to get his heart or lungs. A kill shot. I saw his nose and his right ear. I pointed my gun at his head and took my third and final shot."
Wald's experience in Vietnam, where he says he killed more than 150 enemy soldiers, apparently kicked in. After pumping three bullets into Conley, Wald called 911.
Wald told the 911 operator, "Some guy was fornicating with my wife. I went back and got my gun and shot him."
Imagine his shock when he found out the man he killed was actually his wife's lover.
Wald only discovered the truth, that Conley was his wife’s lover and not an intruder, when police played a tape of his wife being questioned.
Wald said, “When I heard that on the tape there was no doubt in my mind that my wife had deceived me and had betrayed me.”
Johnna Lynn says there are reasons for her behavior. She describes herself as a blackout drinker, saying, "I am bipolar and I have alcohol dependencies. I really can't make proper decisions during the time I'm drinking and not on my meds."
Johnna Lynne says she tried to end the relationship with Conley but couldn't. She said, “I allowed him to continue to show up. I didn't put a final stop to it. I kept trying to but it just never happened.”
Wald offered a unique explanation on why he thought his wife was being sexually assaulted. You see, he was under the impression that she hated sex because she was abused as a child.
Wald said, "I have not had sex with my wife."
That's right. Wald and Johnna Lynne have yet to consummate their marriage. That's why when he saw her with another man, he says he assumed she was being attacked.
Wald said, "I acted accordingly. I thought my wife was in danger. I thought I was in danger."
And though he now says he has sympathy for the dead man's family, he still believes Conley was in the wrong, saying, "The man should not have been in my house at midnight having sex with my wife. I don't care what you say about that. He should not have been there."
Last week, a jury outside Tampa found Wald not guilty.
Conley's family was stunned. His sister-in-law spoke to us outside Conley's home, saying Wald "...was jealous. He was angry because he walked in on his wife having sex with someone else."
And it's a good bet the family will not find comfort in what Johnna Lynne has to say now.
"I didn't want to see the guy die. I mean, who wants to see another human being be killed, but then on the other hand I finally got that chapter of my life closed that I couldn't seem to get closed."
Wald says he has forgiven his wife but trusting her is another matter, saying, "I went from trusting my wife implicitly to not having an awful lot of faith in what my wife is saying. That's something she and I are going to have to work out."