It took several hours, but prosecutors and defense attorneys picked a jury Monday in the trial of a man accused of shooting and killing relatives of his love interest back in April of 2015.
Jordan Ballard faces one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the April 2015 death of Justyn Simmons, 26. The jury consists of three men and nine women.
Already facing a 10-year federal prison sentence, Ballard could face up to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge that he laid in wait and killed Simmons outside of a home that Ballard shared with his girlfriend in the 600 block of West Monterey Street in Denison.
The state contends Ballard shot and killed Simmons and fired on Simmons' brother who was with him.
Ballard’s attorneys have contended, in various court documents, that Ballard was acting in self-defense because he thought Simmons and his brother were on their way to the residence to hurt him.
In December 2016, Federal District Judge Amos Mazzant sentenced Ballard to 30 years in prison after Ballard pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally possessed a firearm the night of the shooting that left Simmons dead. Mazzant enhanced the allowable punishment for the felon in possession charge by finding that the shooting amounted to murder. That sentence was later reduced to 10 years.
That same gun, and the fact that Ballard possessed it even though he is a felon, is at the heart of the felony murder charge. That charge claims Ballard killed Simmons while committing a felony by possessing the gun.