By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
A multitude of potential jury members was scattered amongst the seats of the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom awaiting the selection process for the trial of William “B.J.” Ball, Jr. The Honorable Judge James Courrier presided over the hearing consisting of two counts of retaliation against a state employee, which is a felony offense.
According to the complaint, on Tuesday, August 3, 2019, the defendant and Roberta Helmick, an Outreach Coordinator, were leaving family court after a Domestic Violence Protective Order status hearing regarding Ball’s daughter and biological mother, Kala Carver. Roger Brown, a Child Protective Service worker, testified in that hearing via telephone informing the judge that no accusations were substantiated and he was closing the case with the mother. Brown informed Ball at that time that he would be filing charges against Ball in Randolph and Tucker Counties for mental and emotional abuse against his daughter. The Family Court Judge dismissed the Domestic Violence Protective Order and Ball and Helmick exited the courtroom.
As they walked down the hall and entered the stairwell to exit the building, Ball allegedly told Helmick, “I am going to get a gun and I am going to shoot Brown.” The two exited the building when Ball returned to his vehicle and left the parking area. Helmick went to the Tucker County Sheriff’s Office to speak with an officer about the threat Ball made regarding Brown.
Once leaving the Courthouse, Ball traveled to the babysitter’s residence to exchange custody of his daughter with her mother. During this time, Ball allegedly made more threats towards Brown. Carver claimed that Ball allegedly had put his hand on his pistol and said, “I have something for Brown when I see him,” said as tapping his pistol with a snake-like grip.
Sergeant C.A. Teter of the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department also received a statement from Kurtis Barb stating that Ball had made threats toward Brown, allegedly stating that he had something for Brown when he saw him. Barb also described the pistol with a snake, scale looking grip. Teter was dispatched to BFS to speak with a caller about this incident, but when en route was flagged down by Ball and his girlfriend (at that time), Rebecca Surguy, who wanted to speak to him about the investigation of the alleged sexual assault of his daughter. While speaking to Ball, Teter observed a pistol with a snakeskin print on the hip of Ball in a black holster. Ball took the pistol off and laid it in the passenger seat of the vehicle he was traveling in. Teter took the pistol into custody for evidence and he took a written statement from Ball and Surguy. He posted a $4,000 personal recognizance bond and began the court process.
Tucker County Sheriff B.K. Wilfong called for all to rise as the Honorable Judge James Courrier entered the courtroom. As the Judge took his seat, he thanked everyone for their time and contribution to the system, but their services would no longer be needed as the parties had reached an agreement.
Once the potential jurors vacated the courtroom, a plea hearing commenced with Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora and Sgt. Teter represented the state with Attorney David Fuelhart serving as Ball’s legal counsel. The agreement between parties was that Ball would plead guilty to the second count of retaliation against a state employee with the first being dropped, and the parties would be free to argue for deferred adjudication or other sentencing as they see fit.
Fuelhart requested that the pre-sentencing investigation be conducted before returning for the sentencing hearing which LaMora was in favor of. Tucker County Circuit Clerk swore in Ball before Judge Courrier explained the process and felony conviction to Ball, stating they carry a potential one to 10-year sentence and/or up-to a $2,000 fine. The Judge ensured Ball understood that a felony results in the inability to own or possess firearms and potentially vote or run for public office.
LaMora performed a recitation of facts of the charges to ensure Fuelhart agreed with the charge being pleaded to. Fuelhart went on record ensuring Ball entered the plea willingly and without influence and involuntarily, to which he agreed. Ball was then asked how he pleads to the second county of retaliation against a state employee, to which he replied, “Guilty.”
The parties will return to Circuit Court on December 11, 2020, for a sentencing hearing at 9:30 a.m.