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Free Ward Bird

Only two people were there at Ward Bird's property that day in New Hampshire. Ward and a woman trespasser.

I've not read all of the court documents. I don't have to.

This is a classic he said-she said lawsuit. There are no videos of what happened. There are no photos. It's Ward's word against Ms. Harris. Remember, no witnesses.

Ms. Harris was not harmed. No shots were fired.

But Ward Bird is in the New Hampshire state prison right now serving 3-6 years for criminal threatening with a firearm.

Are you kidding me? It's now criminal to have a firearm in your hand when you ask someone repeatedly to leave your land? Land that was clearly posted No Trespassing.

Go to the FreeWardBird.org website now and read all about this insane breach of justice.

I'd sincerely appreciate it if you would comment at that site and call Governor John Lynch's office to express your outrage. He should have pardoned this man before they could even start the engine to the van that took Ward from the courtroom to prison.

Comments

So when is it not a crime to trespass? The USA is becoming a joke. Now that criminals have more rights than lawabiding citizens!!

Dave S on December 16, 2010 1:57 PM

Prepare, one and all. For him who has ears, let him hear. For him who has eyes, let him see. The signs are all around us. We've been warned many times for quite some time. I don't walk around with a billboard but "THE END IS NEAR" (and that's the end of the world as we know it).

jeff on December 16, 2010 2:03 PM

Seems that no one has any common sence any more! I wonder what would happen if this happened to the juges that over see these cases. Or the people in Washington?

WilliM EGibbs on December 16, 2010 2:05 PM

Agrees with Dave S. Letters just hit my mail box for today's mail!

Kandy H., Summerville, SC on December 16, 2010 2:13 PM

This is unbelievable. If we can no longer protect our own property, then who will. I am afraid I must agree with Dave S.---everything is changing and not for the better. Tim, thank you for bringing this situation to light. I am going to the Free Ward Bird site right now.

Patti Loyola on December 16, 2010 2:24 PM

I just sent this to the Governor:

Dear Governor Lynch;

In the case of Ward Bird, which has just come to my attention, are you seriously going to convict and incarcerate a man on the word of a trespasser alone? It would seem, in your state, that justice is not blind and is demonstrating favor to a political agenda.

I hope you consider freeing Ward Bird for Christmas at least. And really, reversing an unjust verdict. It shakes the faith of all Americans to see this kind of meritless judgement.

Respectfully

Frank P. on December 16, 2010 2:25 PM

I am worried where this country is heading. What is happening to the rights of law abiding people. This Ward Bird case is a shame. I am going to call the Governor also. Bird should be pardoned immediately. Time to look closer at our judicial system and change it back to where it was.
Even the guy that beat a robber stealing items from his car may now be in trouble for excessive force with a hockey stick. Makes me sick. Some even say it is his fault for not locking his car in his driveway. We all need to stand together for our rights.

Russ,Hebron on December 16, 2010 2:33 PM

We here in Curry County, Oregon have suffered similar miscarriages of justice, the most recent being the arrest and conviction of a nurse practitioner who provides compassionate care to the elderly. This person is a survivor of domestic violence who after numerous unfounded noise complaints being filed against her by her upstairs drug using neighbor met that neighbor when the neighbor knocked on her door demanding to talk to her. fearing an escalation of the persecution from the neighbor, this nurse opened her door holding an unloaded pistol in front of her warning the druggie to leave her alone. Screen door was closed through out the entire episode. She was convicted of menacing!!!! Since when is protecting your person or property a crime?????

jim newman on December 16, 2010 2:36 PM

I am a sheriff's deputy in SC and I don't make quick conclusions, but after reading all of the evidence provided it is my opinion jailing this man was just wrong. It is the right of every American Citizen to protect thier life and property. I would not approach anyone not invited on my property unarmed and if they felt threatened, well to be honest that would be my intent. You don't know this day and time what a person's intent and capability to do you or your family harm is and should not take any chances. I run into both women and children as young as 13 armed and fully capable of using the weapon that is usualy concealed. I don't believe Mr. Ward has done anything against the law and should have never went to jail for protecting what is his. I say let him go and have written both the Governor and Commissioner of your state asking for his immediate release.

COMMENT BY Tim Carter:

Skip,

You're a true patriot. Thanks for taking the time to share who you are and what you do. It's fascinating getting the perspective of a law-enforcement officer. Next time you and your family are passing through NH, please stop by and sit around the real fire pit with me and my family.

Skip on December 16, 2010 2:49 PM

Please visit our site: http://freewardbird.org for the latest information. For those so inclined, please feel free to call Governor Lynch and tell him to free Ward Bird! (603) 271-2121

For anyone in the NH area, we are holding a benefit concert tomorrow (Friday, 12/17) at the Moultonborough Academy auditorium as well as a Caravan for Justice convoy throughout NH on Sunday, 12/19 which will head out of Moultonborough and flow through both the Seacoast and Capitol corridor of the state.

John Martin on December 16, 2010 3:10 PM

We had a similiar case in Louisville, KY. A trespasser, on the outside of a gentleman's house, made threatening gestures toward the homeowner. In fear of his life, he shot the trespasser and the man died.

The judge held the homeowner at no fault due to the circumstances of the tresspass and shooting. Ward Bird could have shot the man in Kentucky, under the circumstances and been free today.

How much longer must we, the American citizen, put up with this type of justice--or lack of? I urge all the folks in New Hampshire to remember this action by a judge the next time they vote and be certain of the character of the person they are putting in office to promoter and protect the law under which they live will be done in accordance with their state constitution.

Ward Robinson on December 16, 2010 3:21 PM

How can this woman live with herself, knowing she sent this man to prison for no reason? Taking him away from his family for years to come, she should be ashamed of herself, for whatever reason she did such a nasty thing.

COMMENT BY Tim Carter:

If you're to believe some of the comments made on the Ward Bird site, it sounds as if this woman has a history of issues regarding truth and fiction.

Anonymous on December 16, 2010 3:44 PM

Tim, it's really difficult to make a judgment on this kind of thing if you haven't heard what the jury heard. I read through the instructions to the jury and the denial of motion to set aside the verdict. Here's what I pieced together, which may not be the right interpretation. There's a paragraph in the denial of motion that seems to bear on the issue. Here it is:

"For the reasons outlined above, a reasonable trier of fact could find beyond a reasonable doubt from a totality of the evidence presented at trial that Mr. Bird’s waving of his handgun at Ms. Harris while yelling at her constituted the use of non-deadly force. The remaining issue therefore is whether Mr. Bird used non-deadly force when and to the extent he reasonably believed necessary to terminate Ms. Harris’ criminal trespass. In determining whether the State met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this issue, the jury had Ms. Harris’ testimony about her interchange with Mr. Bird, Ms. Heald-Keyser’s testimony about what she told Ms. Harris about getting to the property she was searching for and more particularly about what she told Mr. Bird about Ms. Harris prior to Ms. Harris’ arrival at Mr. Bird’s property, Mr. Bird’s statements to the police about what Ms. Heald-Keyser had told him, and the jury’s own view of Mr. Bird’s property. From this evidence, a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the State met its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bird did not reasonably believe that the use of non-deadly force was necessary to terminate Ms. Harris’ criminal trespass on his property."

What this sounds like is that a real estate agent gave the woman in question bad directions to get to Mr. Bird's property and may have warned her about Mr. Bird's possible reaction to finding a trespasser on his property. The agent may have also alerted Mr. Bird to the possible future presence of the woman in or around his property. (These are guesses, obviously). So maybe Mr. Bird should not have been surprised that the woman got lost and wound up on his property by accident. In the jury instructions the judge spent considerable time explaining the high bar that is set for finding reckless conduct in a trespassing situation. The jury found Mr. Bird guilty. A simple request from Mr. Bird to the woman might have been enough to get her to leave without waving a handgun at her. That may be the basis for the sentence. Without being in the courtroom for the whole trial it's hard to tell.

SteveA on December 16, 2010 4:19 PM

Sorry Tim I believe being a Canadian I must stay out of this argument. I am strictly speaking against any use of firearms in disputes of this nature, but that is purely following our Canadian way. One cannot judge the level of threat sufficiently as a bystander in any case? I must therefore suggest that the law is the final arbiter of any such dispute." Be she blind or no lady justice must be honored and obeyed"......Benjamin Franklin

COMMENT BY Tim Carter:

James,

I totally understand. I'd never survive up in Canada. I'm a huge believer here in our 2nd Amendment.

But the point I was trying to make was that there were no witnesses. Ms. Harris' story could have been embellished on the witness stand.

If there were credible witnesses testifying, I'd not be typing this to you.

james M. Convey on December 16, 2010 4:33 PM

Thanks for the info Tim.

I just emailed your governor and gently threatened him with reduced immigration (of successful libertarian entrepreneurs) into his state if he didn't resolve this injustice.

Steve Loyola on December 16, 2010 5:04 PM

Where is the public outrage? All the liberals are in control of our schools, the unions, the politians, the press and we act surprised and outraged! Yet less than half of the registered voters voted at the mid term elections. We have dumbd down the Americans soooo much that the constitution means nothing and we still elect Reed, Boxer and their ilk.
I am ready physically to throw the bumbs out of every office in the country and start over.

Jack Lofstrom on December 16, 2010 5:53 PM

Thanks Tim,
I just printed my (2) letters and will mail them tomorrow to help free Ward Bird.....so can you get a copy of the entire story ? Would love to know why she was there in the first place !!! He has a right to protect his property....what right did she have to be there on someone else's property.....just where is justice ?????? I hope all your followers do what I've just done.....and get their letters mailed.....and I am forwarding this on to my friends in hope that they too will do the same thing......Thanks, Mona

Mona Greer on December 16, 2010 6:07 PM

Tim, Once again you posit a theory that judgement was somehow lacking in this case? I guess my point was that right or wrong, the system is what the system is? A jury of his peers and all that? ......... may be flawed, but once again it is what it is... justice! Equally his legal rep should be the one to lead this attempt to change the verdict, not a vigilante committee? You either believe that or not. I cannot opine as I was not present. Regards, james

james M. Convey on December 16, 2010 6:45 PM

My property is posted as private property with no trespassing. The signs indicating such are posted every 50 feet. I paid the county for the posting of my property. It is my business if I meet anyone coming on my property uninvited with a firearm in my hand. If they don't like it, get off my property and don't let the gate hit you in the backside. Even the deputies and other law enforcement heed those signs.

Gerald Davis on December 16, 2010 8:20 PM

there is a movement to take away private property rights. If you think i'm a conspiracy nut, then you have no idea what is going on. This is especially true in the western US. Anyone should have the right to protect his property and if it is posted, the trespasser should beware!!

julio on December 16, 2010 9:39 PM

See a pattern here as well as across this great land? Removing the citizens' ability to protect themselves makes us all vulnerable to the bad guys and our government. To quote a local talkshow host here, {"An armed society is a polite society". How true.

Dave on December 16, 2010 9:59 PM

Concord Bridge may well recur at this rate. This kind of law enforcement is frightening. Jefferson said something like when tyranny is the law, revolt is required.

robert bayer on December 16, 2010 10:01 PM

Here in Indiana, or at least in Jerfferson County, we have strict laws protecting Privacy. If some idiot is 'invading your privacy' (that might need to determined by the court), you can take harsh measures. Smack the fool with an axe handle, that's satisfying.
I, personally, have never encountered this, but I've read reports in the local 'gossip rag' where people have been shot for invasion of privacy. The judge mostly ruled in favor of the shooters.
If you're told you are trespassing, or the land is clearly 'Posted' and you insist, tough bananas.
I can get behind this type of law. Privacy is MY personal business.

We all do what we can.

Patrick Coppage on December 17, 2010 8:49 AM

You should live in my state, Florida if you think that the person is going to cause you harm anywhere your home, car even walking down the street you may shoot them dead and it is legal, now why don't the other states get with it.

GCHandy on December 17, 2010 6:46 PM

This is unbelievable!!! In Texas, we have much more sense. First of all, there would be no case in a "he said. she said." The trespasser would be charged!!! This is unbelievable!!!! Get him vindicated for protecting his property Put the trespasser in JAIL!!

Winnie Stearns on December 17, 2010 11:44 PM

This is unbelievable!!! In Texas, we have much more sense. First of all, there would be no case in a "he said. she said." The trespasser would be charged!!! This is unbelievable!!!! Get him vindicated for protecting his property Put the trespasser in JAIL!!

Winnie Stearns on December 17, 2010 11:45 PM

Are you kidding me!!! He shoud be in jail! If you read about the entire case, the defendants niece called him and stated that Ms. Harris may end up on his property. She obviously got lost, as the defendants niece stated she may, and the defendant acting completely inappropriate. Knowing she was lost he could have kept the gun hidden and approached her in a much more helpful manner. There was no need for the profanities and waving a gun around. He should serve time in jail!! Six years, no. At least a year or two.

COMMENT BY Tim Carter:

David,

I read all that too. Whoa Nelly! You jumped immediately to a conclusion. How do you know she was lost? No one will ever know that. Is it possible that Ms. Harris was out that day looking to steal something. Is there reasonable doubt about that?

I believe, you missed the point my friend. First, New Hampshire is an open carry state. That means you can carry a firearm openly IN PUBLIC on city streets and be in total compliance with the law. It goes without saying that you can absolutely have in your hand a firearm on your own property. Can you move your hand on your own property? Of course you can.

Are people supposed to trespass? No. Are strangers supposed to snoop around a house or trailer on property that's not theirs? No - at least not without some sort of consequences.

Because neither you nor I was there at the time, we can't make a decision on what was appropriate because we know that there's the strong possibility of embellishment in either story.

No witnesses, no shots fired, no one was harmed.

Would you feel the verdict was fair, in these exact circumstances, if it were you, your son, daughter or grandchild?

Ms. Harris is one lucky woman. She could be on the other side of the grass right now.

David on December 18, 2010 9:01 AM

You are right. We can't make a decision. That is what the jury is for. Each side presented its case and the jury believed the prosecution. Mr. Bird lost. He could have take a plea deal, and decided not to. Mr. Bird did have a right to have the firearm, I'm not saying he did not. From what I have read he was far more aggressive than necessary. He should have at least given her the opportunity to let him know what was going on. Each side could have 'embellished' by the way. Not just her.

David on December 18, 2010 10:05 AM

The road to the property that Ms. Harris was looking to buy goes through Ward Bird's property. It is a common road shared by other people as well. Mr. Bird had no business stopping Ms. Harris nor threatening her with a weapon. He clearly took it out of his holster to intimidate her. HE DID NOT WANT HER TO PURCHASE THE ADJOINING LAND. He had no business doing what he did. He was taking pain killer narcotics for his recent surgery and was not right in the head. Not exactly who I would like to see waving a gun around at any time.

It was a unanimous decision by a jury of 12 peers to find him guilty. He was offered a plea deal that would have excluded prison time and would not have taken his guns away from him. He refused the reasonable plea. His loss.

I hope he serves the 3 years. Maybe he'll learn not to be so aggressive when it is not necessary.

Buck Naked on December 18, 2010 10:21 AM

I'm writing my reps and Governor Lynch to state that Mr. Bird should be kept in jail. To free him after threatening an unarmed woman who merely asked for directions would be soooo wrong on so many levels.

Buck Naked on December 18, 2010 10:25 AM

Thank You Buck Naked!!! I had a feeling Mr. Bird did not want anyone on the adjoining property. And thanks for the additional info.!!

David on December 18, 2010 11:06 AM

@Buck Naked - you have a problem with the idea the man (or anyone) was/is taking a legal prescription after having had surgery - or any other painful injury? And why would anyone take a plea deal if they think they are innocent? Tis obvious you've been lucky to not NEED pain meds - nor been charged with a crime you didn't commit. Sheesh.

Sometimes we have to accept the need for pain meds - and the need to stand up for our rights. And stand up for the rights of others under our Constitution. Or be a sheep / ostrich... *sigh*.

Kim Bristol on December 18, 2010 8:07 PM

for whatever the reason, a person has the right to post (and defend) his/her property as NO TRESPASSING and mean it! I'd turn around @ 1st sign! I understand, and know that they have several signs, which would detur, most normal people, lost or not!...unless they had alterior motive. More importantly, if I was asked to leave...I'd be gone! enough said!

NH NAN on December 19, 2010 10:23 PM

What's happened to our country's leader pool? What this country and the world need are men (and women) who stand for truth like the needle to the pole, who are not afraid to stand for right regardless of the majority opinion, who are not afraid to stand for right though the heavens fall.

Bob Rose on December 21, 2010 2:52 PM

I've just read the trial transcripts for over 2 hours and I would say the jury made the correct decision. Mr. Bird knew someone was looking for the neighbors property and could have simply told her she was in the wrong place without coming out of his house swearing and with a gun (which he admitted). It would have been better if the judge had greater latitude in sentencing to a lighter sentence but his hands were tied by legislative minimum sentencing requirements.

Scott Chase on January 2, 2011 1:16 AM

I believe long before a trial or cops were called, a large dose of common sense was missing in BOTH parties. If the lady had obeyed the signs, if the gentleman had politely pointed her on her way, if... The laws and trial came way to late. "Why can't we all just get along?"

Walter Davis on January 5, 2011 10:26 PM

I think Ward was properly convicted and the Center Harbor folks are mistaken. I red some of the court docs and the entire appellate decision. The court voted 4-0 to affirm. That means the man had a fair trial. Did he testify in his own behalf? I believe not. So this isn't he said, she said. it is only she said. he refused to take a plea and lie but refused to testify in court. that is his right, but he can't argue agaisnt the fact the victim testified and was cross examined by his lawyer. she held up and the jury beleived her.

And this is not a case of surprise, fear or some other belligernet action on her part. Ward Bird was warned, and why was that necessary?, by his daughter, so he knew who she was and what she wanted. but this guy thinks he has the right to wave a firearm, loaded I imagine, at near around this person to frgithen her. Suppose she was mentally challenged? Suppose she was lost? what if he was drinking at the time (maybe that is why he chose not to testify) is everyone really comfortable with ward's behavior? do you really think he acted normally? rationally? Maybe there is a law on the books to prevent this very type of behavior because people like Ward Bird need to be more restrained while threatened while making threats of deadly force against one single woman, in a car, driving up to his house. After he got a call about it.

and what, this woman's ill treatment of animal's is a reason to question her veracity? are you kidding? what does that have to do with telling the truth?

and ward is some pillar in the community? so he is innocvent as a result? are you kiddign me? then by defintition all this priest abuse is bogus. there ain't no pillars bigger than clergy.

I say Ward derves some time in jail. he is guilt, was convicted. the trial was fair. the sentence is perhaps too harsh. six months would do nicely.

but pardon him? and let him perhaps regain the right to possess a firearm after demonstrating irrational behavior with it? No way.

Good luck Ward. maybe next time you will help a lady in need, not abuse her.

marshall casey on January 29, 2011 6:38 PM
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