Ward “Lauchie” (pronounced “Locky”) Bird was imprisoned on November 17, 2010, on a charge of criminal threatening. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence since 2006, when he encountered a trespasser, Ms. Christine Harris, who refused to leave his Moultonborough property.
Who is Ward Bird?
Ward Bird is lifelong resident of the Lakes Region, known for numerous civic contributions including scouts, church, and the historical society. He received the New Hampshire Hero Award in 1990 for helping to save a woman from almost drowning. He is a devoted husband and an active and involved father of four bright and responsible children. He is a farmer, a hard worker, and a man who would quite literally give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it.
His supporters increasingly include people who have never met him, but who believe that a flawed legal process, an unclear law, and a punishment out of proportion to the alleged crime are keeping a good man in jail far too long.
Ward Bird is innocent
Ward Bird is innocent; he never waved or pointed a gun at the trespasser as charged. She was informed that she was trespassing (which she already knew, after passing numerous No Trespassing signs) but she refused to leave when asked several times.
A “he said, she said” case
There was no corroborating evidence; it was just one person’s word versus another’s.
Juries can make mistakes
Ward Bird believes our judicial system is “the best that there is.” But mistakes happen. In this case, the jury did not learn enough about the character and backgrounds of these two individuals, so it did not have a good basis for evaluating the separate versions of the incident.
For example, the jury never learned that Ward Bird had major abdominal surgery and had been released from Maine Medical Center shortly before his encounter with Ms. Harris. This would have been critical information considering testimony that he “jumped off the porch” after her and was “running back and forth,” which would have been extremely unlikely, if not impossible, given his stage of recuperation.
This is just one example of numerous inconsistencies and contradictions that marked her testimony.
Updating to the present, we now know that the trespasser is a serial animal abuser, convicted in NH and wanted on charges in South Carolina. She has gone by several aliases.
A case of mandatory minimum sentencing
The sentencing judge recommended a much lighter sentence, which would have already been served by now, but his hands were tied by the mandatory minimum sentencing provision of three years.
Plea bargain rejected – because he’s innocent
Ward Bird was offered a plea deal for reckless conduct, which carried no jail time. He rejected it because he did nothing wrong, and he could not plead guilty in good conscience to something that he didn’t do.
Support from local police
The current and former Moultonborough police chiefs say that Ward Bird does not belong in jail and that they would welcome him back to the community.
A nonpartisan issue
In December, Speaker of the House William O’Brien and 117 members from both parties signed a petition asking for Ward Bird’s release from prison.
Ward Bird does not want to be a “hero” for any causes or agendas. His supporters span the political spectrum and include all ages and walks of life. They are united in seeking justice for an innocent man who has been wrongly convicted.
How you can help
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Thank you for your interest and support. Working together, we will right this wrong.