2 face murder charges after Pottsville shooting
POTTSVILLE - A Philadelphia man and a Pottsville woman were in prison Wednesday night after being arrested by Pottsville police for their roles in a shooting that left a city man dead.
The alleged shooter, Anthony M. Ballard, 26, of 110 E. Tulpehocken St., Philadelphia, and Jamiee Jacinta Watson, 19, of the 1000 block of West Market Street, Pottsville, were each arraigned by on-call Magisterial District Judge Christina E. Hale, Frackville.
Pottsville police Patrolman Brian Reno charged Ballard with criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and murder in the first degree. Watson faces the same charges.
Hale ordered Ballard and Watson committed to Schuylkill County Prison without bail. For a charge of murder in the first degree, bail can only be set by a judge in the Court of Common Pleas.
Reno charged Ballard with shooting Elijah Trayvon Carraway, 19, of Pottsville, in the area of West Laurel Boulevard and Sanderson Street at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Trail of blood
Reno said the incident unfolded when officers received a report of a black man firing a gun in the middle of the street.
At the scene, officers found 10 spent 9 mm shell casings on the street and learned that after firing the gun, the man got into a green station wagon driven by a black woman, and the vehicle traveled west on Laurel Boulevard, Reno said.
A witness told officers that a black man was seen running on Laurel Boulevard and then into a grassy area before "flipping over a fence."
With this information in mind, Reno said he, Sgt. John Morrow and Patrolman John Mohl walked in that direction and discovered a blood trail that led to Carraway's body.
Police determined Carraway had been struck by at least one bullet while running from his assailant, later identified as Ballard.
Carraway was pronounced dead at the scene by Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner James Nettles, who was assisted at the scene by Deputy Coroner Andrew Szczyglak.
Carraway's girlfriend told police she had been on the telephone with him just before the shooting. The woman said Carraway told her, "Jaimee, Dus and Ant are in a car chasing me," Reno said.
The girlfriend told police that "Ant" was Anthony Ballard and "Dus" was his brother, Dustin R. Ballard, 24, of Philadelphia, and "Jaimee" was Watson.
A statewide broadcast was issued for the trio and about 4:50 a.m. Wednesday. Pottsville police Capt. Richard Wojciechowsky received a call from Philadelphia police detectives, who said they had located the getaway car parked outside 110 E. Tulpehocken St., which is Anthony Ballard's address. A check of the vehicle's registration determined it was owned by Watson's mother, Mamie Muhammed, of Orwigsburg.
Then, at about 6:15 a.m., Philadelphia police again contacted Wojciechowsky and said the Ballard brothers and Watson had voluntarily left the house and were in custody.
Later Wednesday morning, Wojciechowsky went to Philadelphia and met with Watson who told investigators she had been driving in the area with Anthony Ballard when they saw Carraway and Ballard told her to stop. After she stopped, Watson said Anthony Ballard exited the car and shot at Carraway.
Ballard then got back into the car, removed the magazine from the gun and the two drove off, the woman told investigators.
Wojciechowsky said he also interviewed Anthony Ballard and obtained a partial confession about his role in the slaying.
In addition to Anthony Ballard and Watson, Dustin Ballard was returned to Schuylkill County and arraigned by Hale on an outstanding warrant not related to the shooting, Wojciechowsky said.
The captain said the speedy arrests were the result of "an incredible cooperative effort" with Pottsville police, officers from surrounding local departments, the state police, Philadelphia police and the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Office.
Wojciechowsky said that although Anthony Ballard and Watson were arrested for the slaying, the investigation is continuing.
An autopsy will be conducted today on Callaway to determine the exact cause of death, Pottsville police Chief Joseph Murton said.
Hale scheduled preliminary hearings for Anthony Ballard and Watson for noon June 21 before Magisterial District Judge James J. Reiley, Pottsville.
Anthony and Dustin Ballard are each familiar with the criminal justice system, according to state court records.
Anthony Ballard was found guilty Aug. 14, 2006, of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and placed on probation for three years.
Exactly one year later - Aug. 14, 2007 - he was found guilty of possession of a small amount of marijuana, with no further punishment indicated. Then, on March 15, 2010, prosecutors withdrew charges of driving under the influence and driving under suspension.
All three cases arose in Philadelphia.
On the other hand, Dustin Ballard's brushes with the law all occurred in Schuylkill County.
On June 14, 2010, he pleaded guilty to forgery, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving under suspension and stop sign violation in one case, and two counts of access device fraud and one of bad checks in another. President Judge William E. Baldwin sentenced him to serve three to 23 months in prison.
On Dec. 21, 2010, Dustin Ballard pleaded guilty to false identification to law enforcement, with Baldwin placing him on probation for 12 months.
Finally, on Nov. 16, 2011, he pleaded guilty to harassment and paid a $100 fine.