A man accused of running a drug ring from Panama City to Fort Myers and ordering the murder of a Fort Myers police drug informant will not face the death penalty.
At a remote hearing Thursday, Judge Virginia Covington said the Department of Justice decided not to pursue the death penalty against Robert Ward.
Ward is accused of ordering the murder of Kristopher Smith in 2012. Smith was killed in Fort Myers in early 2013.
Sources told WINK News investigative reporter Lauren Sweeney that four officers who were suspended from the Fort Myers Police Department in 2017 are being investigated as part of the Ward case.
MORE: US Attorneys subpoenaed 4 FMPD officers as part of drug, murder, public corruption case
The police department and the United States Attorney’s Office refused to comment or confirm the connection between the officers and the Ward case.
Three of the officers retired amid the three and a half year investigation.
One officer, Jason Jackson, remains on paid leave collecting full pay and benefits.
Jackson’s father spoke exclusively with investigative reporter Lauren Sweeney. Find out why he says the entire investigation is based on rumors and speculation.