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home : news : news   November 20, 2014

2/8/2013 1:51:00 AM
Murder suspect appears to have flipped


Tom Collins
Staff Writer



OTTAWA — Joshua Ward still is charged with murder, but it looks as if he’s cut a deal in exchange for testifying against his fellow suspects.
Ward, 32, of Ottawa appeared Thursday in La Salle County Circuit Court for a seemingly uneventful hearing, during which his trial judge simply continued his case until March 15.
But just before the hearing, Ward’s lawyer and a prosecutor emerged from closed-door conference and presented Ward with a two-page memorandum bearing the state’s attorney’s letterhead.
Ward read the document and appeared to give defense lawyer Daniel Galivan his assent. Both lawyers then affixed their signatures to the document.
Both Galivan and chief deputy assistant state’s attorney Greg Sticka declined comment and would not confirm whether there’s an agreement.
Significantly, the March 15 continuance puts Ward back in court following the first trial in the Darrio Hunter slaying, for which Ward remains charged. Hunter died May 2, 2011, following a beating sustained at a west-side Ottawa home.
Prosecutors allege that Ward and three more suspects lured Hunter to the house under the guise of selling drugs to them, but all along planned to rob him.
As previously reported, Ward is a cooperating witness for the state. Prosecutors revealed in court filings last summer that Ward and Sylvia Enriquez of Sheridan (not charged with murder) have implicated Ward’s brother Jason, Enriquez’s boyfriend Luis Lomeli and Luis’ sister, Jamie Lomeli, in the beating death.
Until Thursday, however, there was never any indication that Joshua Ward had actually cut a deal in exchange for his testimony.
Terms of the deal will be at least partially divulged in two weeks. Jury selection in Luis Lomeli’s murder trial begins Feb. 25; Ward could take the stand as early as Feb. 26.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












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