Ward pleads not guilty in Ranchos murder case | NevadaAppeal.com

Ward pleads not guilty in Ranchos murder case

Staff Reports

A 21-year-old Gardnerville man accused in the June 24 slaying of a Markleeville father of four formally denied the charges on Monday.

Michael Ward pleaded not guilty Monday to battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, battery causing substantial bodily harm and involuntary manslaughter. A trial is set to begin Oct. 4.

Ward is accused of causing the death of 24-year-old Jeffrey John by cutting, hitting and kicking him in a late-night brawl at a Gardnerville Ranchos home.

Kevin Walsh, Ward’s attorney, asked Douglas County District Judge Michael Gibbons to reduce Ward’s bail from $100,000 to $50,000.

“Then he can go back to work, if he can make bail,” Walsh said to Gibbons as some of Ward’s family members watched in the courtroom.

Prosecutor Dina Salvucci said $100,000 was an appropriate amount for bail.

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“Mr. Ward is not supervisable, and he doesn’t follow rules,” Salvucci said. “His job was clearly temporary.”

Gibbons denied the request.

Walsh said self-defense will be a part of the defense’s case during the trial.

“As for involuntary manslaughter, (the prosecution) is not sure what killed (John),” he said. “I think we do have a good case that needs to go to trial.”

Each charge against Ward carries penalties up to 10-15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.