Brandon man accused of fatally shooting wife's lover in living room

BRANDON — First neighbors and then newlyweds, a 70-year-old husband caught his 41-year-old wife having sex with her former roommate Sunday and shot him to death, investigators said.

Married less than five months, Ralph Lewis Wald and Johnna Flores shared a home at 513 Clara Drive in Brandon.

Just before midnight Sunday, Wald woke up and headed to the kitchen for a drink of water. On his way there, authorities said, he found Flores having sex with Walter Lee Conley, 32, her former roommate, in the living room.

Wald returned to the bedroom and emerged with a handgun. He shot Conley several times, said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Conley, of 13108 Lovers Lane in Riverview, died at the scene.

Wald called 911. He told a dispatcher he shot Conley after finding the pair "fornicating" in the house, Carter said. Because of the admission, the agency isn't publicly releasing the 911 tape, she said, and it likely won't come out until the case goes to court.

Flores was not injured.

Wald was interviewed by detectives and arrested. He faces a second-degree murder charge and was held without bail Monday in the Hillsborough County jail.

Flores is Wald's fifth wife. The two were next-door neighbors before they married Oct. 31.

The marriage came about two weeks after Flores was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — for taking a shot at Conley.

Records show that about 3 a.m. Oct. 19, Flores fired a round at Conley, who had been staying at her home at 511 Clara Drive for about two weeks. She said she had asked him several times to leave, an affidavit shows, but Conley said she had invited him to stay.

Hours later, records show, Wald bailed Flores out of jail. The neighbors were dating at the time.

The case was later dropped.

Conley, described in jail records as a laborer, had been arrested three times in Florida, state records show — twice on petty theft counts and once for violation of probation. Records show he was sentenced to time served in jail.

Before Wald married Flores, he was married to Karen Singletary of Valrico. They have a 20-year-old son.

"I'm just totally in shock right now," Singletary said after hearing of her former husband's arrest. "He's not a bad man. Oh, my gosh. I'm just, like, devastated right now."

Wald served in the Army for more than 20 years, Singletary said. After the military, he attended Stetson University College of Law and became a lawyer.

Florida Bar records show he was admitted in 1989 and list no disciplinary history.

Singletary and Wald married in October 1992, records show. They divorced about five years later.

Singletary, 51, said her ex-husband is not a violent man. He owned a gun when they got married. But when their son was born, Wald got rid of it.

"Never any kind of violence or anything involved," she said. "He's a straightforward guy."

Wald did not have a criminal past in Florida, records show.

Times staff writer Patty Ryan and news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at lmorel@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Brandon man accused of fatally shooting wife's lover in living room 03/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 10:20pm]

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