Trial in Truckee for former Gardnerville man | RecordCourier.com

Trial in Truckee for former Gardnerville man

by Alan Riquelmy
ariquelmy@theunion.com

Joseph Ward babbled in sentence fragments when speaking to his girlfriend in what authorities say was hours after he killed Kenneth Pestana.

Sarah Moresi, who dated the 32-year-old Ward for five years, told police in a recorded interview that Ward was worried and concerned when in early June 2017 he arrived at her father's home outside Reno in Pestana's car.

Moresi had left Pestana's Highway 20 property, near Nevada City, after Ward agreed to work on the 61-year-old man's land, she testified Thursday in Nevada County Superior Court. They'd arrived two days before, and Moresi — who had issues with Pestana — wanted to leave. Ward remained, and authorities allege that on June 7, 2017, Ward slashed Pestana's throat before taking the man's car and dog.

After a 13-hour drive to Reno because of car problems, Moresi was at her father's home when Ward arrived. At the time she knew nothing about Pestana's death.

Moresi said she, Ward, his brother and her daughter went to the Eldorado Resort Casino after they arrived at her father's home. Ward spoke to her at the casino, but his words were disjointed and his sentences only fragments.

"He didn't like to talk, because he thinks he's being recorded all the time," Moresi says in the video played for jurors. "He did an arm motion like this. He didn't really go into detail."

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Ward's murder trial started Thursday in Truckee with opening arguments and testimony.

Both men are former Gardnerville residents. Ward publicly picketed for Pestana's innocence in a 2004 arrest.

"Joseph Ward loved Kenneth Pestana," Public Defender Tamra Zuromskis said.