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June 21, 2007

Dad claims son no longer suffers from outbursts

By Brad Kellar

Herald-Banner Staff

Ralph Ward took the stand Thursday during the sentencing phase of his son's capital murder trial and claimed Adam Kelly Ward no longer experiences the violent outbursts which were a hallmark of his youth.

While previous witnesses have testified Adam Ward, 24, has suffered from psychotic behavior and delusions, Ralph Ward said much of the defendant's violent tendencies had all but disappeared by the time he reached adolescence.

"They were pretty much over with by 12 or 13," Ward said. "A great deal of those were induced by allergies. He was diagnosed as having food and environmental allergies that were neurologically manifested. He basically grew out of the allergies; most of them, but not all of them."

Ward has been found guilty by a jury in the 354th District Court of capital murder in connection with the June 13, 2005 shooting death of Commerce Code Enforcement Officer Michael "Pee Wee" Walker.

The same jury will now decide whether Ward will receive life in prison or death by lethal injection as punishment.

Prosecutors have claimed Ward acted in cold blood when he chased Walker and shot him as many as nine times when he saw the victim taking photos of alleged code violations at Ward's home on Caddo Street.

Ward's defense attorneys have attempted to prove Ward was suffering from a psychotic disorder and paranoid delusions at the time of the shooting, and have claimed the defendant's actions were the result of years of indoctrination by Ralph Ward, who had a history of confrontations with government officials.

Judge Richard A. Beacom told the jury at the close of testimony Thursday there would be one more day of witnesses today and that the panel could receive the case to begin deliberations by early next week.

Ralph Ward was on the witness stand much of the day Thursday, as he responded to defense allegations his son was part of an ongoing war with the City of Commerce.

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