April trial date set in death of Forks toddler

Ramona Ward

PORT ANGELES — A Forks woman charged with killing a 2½-year-old toddler has a new trial date.

Ramona Jean Ward’s three-week murder trial was moved Friday to April 10.

Ward, 44, is charged with homicide by abuse and second-degree murder with domestic violence for the death of Isaac Ward, a boy who was in her care.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Ward abused the boy over the course of about two months and on Nov. 9 caused his eventual death.

Ward told investigators that on Nov. 9 she pushed Isaac backwards as he approached her seeking attention, causing him to hit his head on an end table and metal section of a bed, according to the arrest report.

The boy died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

An autopsy performed by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office showed the boy died of blunt-force trauma to the head, Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Munger has said.

Ward’s Jan. 18 date was stricken Dec. 30 because of mounting evidence in the case, including postings from Ward’s Facebook page.

Given the volume of the discovery, Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin suggested Friday an April 10 trial date.

“That’s as good as any,” said defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender.

In a Friday interview, Clallam County Defender Director Harry Gasnick said his office had received about 1,600 pages of written material and about 50 CDs and DVDs from the Ward investigation.

Devlin, who has at least seven binders of evidence on the case, requested a status hearing in early March.

“I know that if we’re actually going to trial, we’re probably going to have day-long motion hearings prior to that,” Devlin told Superior Court Judge Christopher Melly.

Melly set a status hearing for March 3.

Ward was being held Saturday in the Clallam County jail on $300,000 bail.

Quileute Indian Child Welfare placed Isaac Ward and his two brothers into the foster care of Ward’s daughter, Michelle Ward, in May, Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Knutson said in the affidavit for probable cause.

Ramona Ward was the boy’s primary caregiver when Michelle Ward was at work, investigators said.

Isaac Ward lived with Michelle, Ramona, Michelle’s husband, and six other children in a 1,328-square foot home on the 1700 block of Calawah Way.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.