Friday, July 15, 2011
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.
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.
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."
Source; http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20110714/WCT01/107140320/In-fatal-stabbing-man-gets-30-years?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Worcester County Times|s
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"If I could ask for more, I would," said Oglesby after the jury returned its verdict.
"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.
Ballard will remain in jail until he is sentenced in about 60 days.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
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.
Daily Times 4/13/11
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.
Source; delmarvanow.com http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20110413/NEWS01/104130385/1001/news/First-degree-murder-trial-begins-Worcester
Thursday, January 13, 2011
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.