Fresno man convicted of sexually assaulting nanny insists on innocence, earns massive punishment

Joseph Ward collapsed on the witness stand, spit at his attorney, and interrupted repeatedly during the trial, and was unapologetic as he got his punishment.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fifteen months after a jury convicted a Fresno man of sexual assault, robbery, and other charges for an attack on a northeast Fresno nanny, a judge has handed down a massive punishment.

Joseph Ward stuck to his guns almost to the end.

"I stand for what I believe in and I finish with 'You've got the wrong guy'," he told the judge about to punish him.

Judge Kristi Culver-Kapetan sentenced Ward to 281 years and 13 life sentences for the sexual assault and robbery of a nanny and kidnapping her and the 1-year-old child she had just taken for a walk in June 2018.

RELATED: Northeast Fresno nanny describes sexual assault, robbery and identifies attacker

Without DNA or fingerprint evidence left behind, Ward and his attorney insist the real criminal got away.

"Imagine when he gets caught for this again after being emboldened by the conviction of an innocent person, as he certainly would be, if he does this again," said defense attorney Kendall Simsarian, who took over Ward's case after the trial was already completed.

Ward said he acted like a jerk in court and acknowledged that didn't help his case.

He collapsed on the witness stand, spit at his attorney, and interrupted repeatedly during the trial, and was unapologetic as he got his punishment.

"I'm facing 400 years to life, and I ask you for zero mercy," he said. "I didn't commit this crime. I will not plead. I will not beg. I will not ask for nothing from you or this court. Give me 400 years. Give me death."

RELATED: Man accused of sexual assault of Fresno nanny collapses while on the witness stand

Prosecutor Rick Thomas says he agreed with Ward that the judge should show no mercy.

But he said Ward misstated a lot of facts and tried to blame the victim, despite everything the jury heard.

"And then we come back again to 'the victim must've lied'," Thomas said. "Again, there's no evidence of that. And it comes down to the identification."

One of the "facts" Ward misstated was how sure the victim was of the identification.

Her mother said she's 100% sure she correctly identified the man who attacked her.

Ward's last words to the judge were "I'm appealing", but as he walked out of court, he turned to the victim's parents and said "I'm sorry."

The woman's mother broke down in tears, believing that was finally Ward's confession.
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