Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lithonia, GA: Wife killed husband, faked home invasion, detective says

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By Bill Rankin
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Lithonia woman killed her husband and then staged a home invasion to make it look as if he was killed by intruders, a DeKalb County police detective testified Tuesday.

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Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com Pamela Ballin walks to her seat in the courtroom with attorney Keith Adams.
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Wife killed man, faked invasion?
Pamela Ballin killed her husband, Derrick "Ricky" Ballin, by smashing him on the back of the head with a large statue that had been on a coffee table in the living room, Det. F.J. Renauld said.

Pamela Ballin's motive was a $750,000 life insurance policy she had recently taken out on her husband, coupled with his decision to divorce her because of her affairs and because he believed she was taking money out of their business account, the detective said. The couple owned At Your Service Lawn Care & Landscaping and lived in the upscale Stoneleigh subdivision.

DeKalb police initially suspected the 53-year-old landscaper was killed by home invaders on Dec. 29 when his wife called 911 at about 2:15 a.m. saying she heard intruders downstairs with her husband.

But when detectives later listened to the entire 911 call, they heard her exclaim about her husband only when she opened the door to let police inside. Ballin would have had to have crossed over her husband, who was lying on the floor with a gaping wound in his head, before she got to the door, Renauld said. While on the 911 call, he said, "she didn't seem upset."

After her husband had been taken to the hospital and doctors called asking for permission to allow them to attempt life-saving surgery, Pamela Ballin told them to wait until she finished giving police her statement and drove to the hospital, Renauld said.

Detectives concluded that Ballin staged the home invasion because marks made on the back door could not have forced entry through the door. And furniture that was overturned in the house was set down gently "so as not to cause any damage," Renauld said.

At the close of the hearing, a DeKalb magistrate found probable cause to continue holding Ballin, 48, at the jail on charges she murdered her husband and gave false statements to police.

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