Serial Killer Sentenced in Merced

September 23, 2008 7:44:54 PM PDT
A serial killer who is already serving life in prison plead guilty to the murders of two north valley women.Ronald Ward was brought here to the Merced County Jail earlier this month from Montana where he's serving a life sentence for murder. DNA evidence has now linked him to three other murders, including those of a mother from Merced and another from Modesto. Tuesday their children finally had a chance to face the killer in court.

This is the letter 11 year old Taryn Polly read in court that brought the man who murdered her mother to tears.

Taryn Polly said, "This will be the 9th year I've had to live without my mom. You must be a sick minded cold hearted man to take a loving mother away from her family."

Family members of Shela Polly and Jackie Travis say the letter evoked the only emotion Ronald Ward showed as he received two life sentences for murdering the women in 2000. Polly's body was found near a creek in Modesto, and Travis was found beaten to death in her Merced apartment.

Amy Osborne said, "I wish we could have gotten the death penalty, but in these circumstances, I'm grateful for what we got and that's justice. He will serve life in prison."

The district attorneys for both Stanislaus and Merced Counties say it would have been impractical, if not impossible to pursue the death penalty because Ward has already received two life sentences for murders in Arkansas and Montana. But they say these life sentences ensure that he will die in prison.

Merced Co. District Attorney Larry Morse said, "Ronald Ward will die in prison in either Montana, Arkansas, or California."

Ward is still here in the Merced County Jail, but he's expected to be sent back to Montana later Tuesday night. Meanwhile the district attorneys say it's very likely that Ward is guilty of more murders, and they plan to work with law enforcement agencies across the country to hold him accountable for every person he may have killed.

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