Showing posts with label James edward Ballard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James edward Ballard. Show all posts

Friday, July 15, 2011

James Ballard Gets Sentenced To 30 Years In Fatal Stabbing

Written by
Jennifer Shutt
SNOW HILL -- James Edward Ballard will spend the next 30 years behind bars for stabbing and killing Russell Matthew Bailey, the maximum possible sentence for his crime.

Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton sentenced Ballard during a court hearing Friday.

Bailey's mother, Mattie Fletcher, spoke to the judge about how her life, and the life of her family, has changed since the death of her 18-year-old-son.

"It's just been one thing after another since the death of my son," Fletcher said. "It's been hard... I've just been trying to take it one day at a time."

Ballard was charged with first-degree murder last fall for stabbing Bailey after an altercation in Pocomoke City. He was found guilty of second-degree murder at trial.

During the jury trial, witnesses testified that Ballard, Bailey and several others were involved in a fight the day Bailey was killed. Ballard called police, and once they arrived, everyone scattered, according to witness testimony.

Ballard stayed in the area and later saw Bailey returning from behind a house on the 700 block of Ninth Street.

A witness, Keonte Laws testified at trial that once Bailey saw Ballard, Bailey turned to run away, slipping on wet grass and slamming his shoulder into the side of the house as Ballard caught up to him.

"It looked like a punch... but when (Ballard) pulled his hand back you could see the blade of the knife," Laws testified.

During the sentencing hearing, State's Attorney Beau Oglesby read the results of a pre-sentence investigation that gathered the aspects of Ballard's criminal history. He rattled off crimes ranging from possession of cocaine to violating probation to shoplifting.

"You started as a juvenile with assault and battery," Groton said from the bench, later citing additional crimes -- resisting arrest, and fleeing and eluding. "This indicates to me you are a person with no respect for authority."

Ballard took the opportunity to speak during the sentencing, and apologized to Fletcher.

"Yes, I have been in trouble half of my life," Ballard said. "I didn't mean to kill nobody."

When rendering the sentence, Groton told Ballard that it is unfortunate there are "some people in Pocomoke who feel like the way to solve these kind of problems is with guns and knives."

Source;|newswell|text|Worcester County Times|s

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ballard Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder

Jennifer Shutt
Staff Writer
Daily Times

SNOW HILL -- James Edward Ballard has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Russell Matthew Bailey III, an 18-year-old who was stabbed last fall in Pocomoke City.
Worcester State's Attorney Beau Oglesby said he will ask for the maximum sentence of 30 years at an upcoming sentencing hearing.

"If I could ask for more, I would," said Oglesby after the jury returned its verdict.

Ballard was originally charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault after the Sept. 29 stabbing death of Bailey near Pocomoke Middle School. Oglesby said he respects the jury's verdict of second-degree murder.

"Considering the facts of the case and the evidence of the case, we can understand it," said Oglesby.

Jurors began deliberating just after 11 a.m., with an outburst from the defendant fresh in their minds. During Oglesby's closing statement, Ballard began arguing from the defense table, saying he was "irritated." While being removed by deputies Ballard threw several pieces of paper into the air.

"I called the police every time," Ballard said in court. In interviews before the trial, his family members said Ballard had arguments with Bailey and a few of Bailey's friends in the weeks leading up to the incident.

During just over an hour of deliberation, jurors weighed lengthy witness testimony including that of three men who said they saw a gun present during the fight between Ballard, Bailey and Martel Blake.

Several witnesses said at least three men threw rocks and spit on Ballard minutes before the stabbing.

After Ballard called the police, witnesses testified, the men throwing rocks ran away. After the police did not arrive for several minutes, according to witness testimony, Bailey returned to the 700 block of Ninth Street, where he met Ballard and a fight began.

Deangelo Townsend was the only witness on the street during the fight, according to public defender Burton Anderson. Townsend said he saw Bailey with a gun tucked into his hip area during the fight. He did not testify that he saw Bailey remove it or threaten Ballard with the gun.

"Just the mere presence of a gun is enough for a reasonable person to fear getting shot," said Anderson during his closing statement.

Ballard will remain in jail until he is sentenced in about 60 days.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First-Degree Murder Trial Begins In Worcester

The trial of a man charged in the stabbing death of Russell Matthew Bailey III has begun in Worcester  County. 

The trial was postponed until April because prosecutors believe the defendant, James Edward Ballard,  had placed phone calls to witnesses even though  Ballard claimed  he contacted no one.

In September 2010 Russell Matthew Bailey III was found across the steet from the Pocomoke Middle School wtih a stab wound.  Ballard already had an extensive criminal background.

Jennifer Shutt
Staff Writer
Daily Times  4/13/11
SNOW HILL -- Opening statements started the first-degree murder trial of James Edward Ballard in Worcester County Circuit Court.
Ballard was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault after police alleged he stabbed and killed Russell Matthew Bailey last September. If found guilty, he could face up to life in prison.

During opening statements, the jury of six men and six women listened to State's Attorney Beau Oglesby recall significant historic events including Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the events of Sept. 11.

"Sept. 29 is one of those days for Mattie Fletcher," said Oglesby, referring to Bailey's mother. "That's the day her life changed."

Burton Anderson, defense attorney for Ballard, told the jury "teenage gangster wannabes" had been threatening Ballard and told him that day he was not going to leave alive. During his testimony, Harvey Hall said the day Bailey died, Bailey, Richard Williams and Martel Blake had been throwing stones at Ballard, while he called 911 for help.

Phone calls to police and court documents were shown before Bailey was stabbed in an altercation about a scooter a week earlier, which would start off a series of progressively violent incidents between Ballard, Bailey, Williams and Balke.

Court documents show on Sept. 21 Ballard and Bailey argued about the scooter. A man named Jeremy Douglas was trying to take it. Bailey later became involved in the argument.

The ongoing conflict between Ballard and the other men in Pocomoke escalated. Police said Ballard was treated at the Pocomoke emergency medical station for a stab wound to his hand on Sept. 24 and told police Blake had thrown a bicycle at him just before Williams stabbed him in the hand. He said the men approached him about the ongoing scooter dispute.

"You don't have to wait until you are crumbled in the street in a pool of blood to avenge yourself," said Anderson during his opening statement.

Throughout the afternoon, jurors heard how Bailey, Blake and Williams confronted Ballard the afternoon of Sept. 29.

Harvey Hall testified he was with the men that day, trying to calm the situation as Bailey, Blake and Williams threw rocks at Ballard.

Hall testified that after Ballard called 911 for help and the police began to arrive, he, Bailey, Blake and Williams all ran away. A few moment later, Hall said he saw Bailey hunched over bleeding.

Witness testimony is scheduled to continue today.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ballard Trial Is Delayed

SNOW HILL -- The trial of a man charged in the stabbing death of Russell Matthew Bailey III has been postponed until April because prosecutors believe the defendant recently placed phone calls to witnesses.

In Circuit Court, State's Attorney Beau Oglesby requested additional time after he said he'd learned James Edward Ballard, the man charged in Bailey's murder, allegedly made Jan. 9 calls from the Worcester County Jail to two potential witnesses.

Once Oglesby learned of the calls Jan. 10, he asked the jail, which records all phone calls, to preserve the recordings. In court, Oglesby said he needs time to listen to the tapes, determine if they have any impact on the case and share the information with Ballard's lawyer.

"I didn't contact nobody," Ballard said in the courtroom.

In a conversation with his public defender that visitors in the courtroom could hear, he indicated he had made calls related to a different case, not the murder charge.

Judge Thomas C. Groton III granted the motion, saying other factors would have made trying the case difficult Wednesday.

"The court would be reluctant to proceed," Groton said, adding several people who had been summoned for jury duty had called the court, concerned about forecasted snowfall and sleet.

Ballard was charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing of 18-year-old Bailey after he confessed to police, according to charging documents, saying he'd acted in self-defense. Police allege Ballard killed Bailey with premeditation, based upon their investigation.

Bailey's body was found across the street from Pocomoke Middle School in late September. He had graduated from Pocomoke High in June.

Criminal records for Ballard from Worcester and Wicomico counties date back to 1999 and include charges for burglary, drug possession, armed robbery, assault and escaping from police custody.

The trial is currently scheduled to take place the week of April 11-15, as opposed to the one day it was scheduled to take this week. Oglesby requested a longer trial, saying witness testimony and evidence would most likely require more than one day to get through.