DeKalb County woman convicted last week of killing her husband was allowed to
go free by a judge while he decides whether to set aside the jury verdict,
which outraged the victim’s family.
Following an emergency motion by prosecutors that argues the judge has no such leeway in the case, an arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Pamela Ballin.
"We're really elated. I'm glad he did that. Hopefully the judge will make the right decision on the 17th and incarcerate her," Evora Ritchie, mother of Ballin’s late husband, Derrick “Ricky” Ballin, told WGCL TV.
Ricky Ballin was found beaten to death inside the couple's DeKalb County home in December 2009. His wife told police that intruders beat her husband during a home break-in. But, prosecutors didn’t believe her story; instead she was indicted and convicted of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.
Judge Mark Anthony Scott set Pamela Ballin, 53, of Lithonia free after the jury verdict. In court documents he said prosecutors failed to tell him that Pamela Ballin's bond had been revoked, which is used to ensure people show up for court.
“This court did not intend to release Defendant Pamela Ballin into the community with no bond,” Scott wrote in the arrest warrant, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The court has concerns about Defendant Ballin’s bond not being secured.”
WGCL says DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James filed an emergency motion seeking Ballin’s arrest, which says: "Judge Mark Anthony Scott has no discretion and must impose a mandatory life sentence and judge Scott has no legal authority to enter a post-verdict for mistrial."
Pamela Ballin has been free on bond since shortly after her arrest in early 2010 on charges she killed her husband of 24 years, the AJC says. Scott has scheduled a hearing for July 17 to decide whether to let the guilty verdict stand or grant either an acquittal or a mistrial.
Ballin’s lawyer, Keith Adams, told the newspaper he asked for a mistrial because a key state witness, the crime scene investigator, ignored a court order to be available to be called to testify by the defense and went on vacation. The expert then testified by Skype, which Adams said was ineffective because he couldn’t properly question her about crime scene photos because she could not see them.