Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the status of Jordan Ballard's relationship with DVine Simmons.
The woman at the heart of the Jordan Ballard case took the stand Wednesday in his trial on murder charges in the death of Justyn Simmons. DVine Simmons was a cousin to Justyn Simmons and his brother Victor Simmons, and back in 2015, she was also Jordan Ballard's pregnant, live-in girlfriend.
Already facing a 10-year federal prison sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm by having the gun that killed Justyn Simmons, 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 Justyn 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 Justyn Simmons and fired on Victor Simmons, who was with him.
In the weeks before the shooting that left Justyn Simmons dead and Ballard facing a murder charge, DVine Simmons was the person Ballard, by his own admission, gave a busted lip.
That act of domestic violence set in motion a series of phone calls and text messages among members of the Simmons family and Ballard. Members of DVine Simmons' family sent texts that showed their concern for her after her mother saw a photo of her busted lip.
Testimony in court on Wednesday revealed that DVine Simmons had sent her mother a text saying that she was going to leave Ballard after the fight in which he hit her. She said she was afraid of him shooting up her stuff and she couldn't protect the baby she was about to have with Ballard behaving the way he was.
Then she didn't return her mother's calls or texts for a period of time. On April 21, 2015, her mother called her brother-in-law Greg Simmons and asked him to check on DVine. Greg Simmons then called Justyn Simmons and Victor Simmons to ask them to “check on DVine” he testified.
DVine Simmons testified that she told family members, including Victor Simmons and Justyn Simmons, that she didn't need help and she was fine. Still, she said, they persisted in asking for her address on April 21, and they eventually got it from her mother. She testified that at that point, she told Jordan Ballard that they needed to leave and they did. She was headed to her mother's house and he wanted to go to a friend's house about a block away.
Testimony earlier this week revealed that Ballard would later tell Denison Police that the friend wasn't home so he headed back to the house he shared with DVine Simmons. He arrived at its backyard just as the Simmons brothers were pulling up out front. Ballard said he feared they were there to hurt him, so he grabbed a gun he kept stashed in a bag in the bushes outside and walked toward them. Ballard said he told the brothers to stop where they were, but they kept on coming. He said he shot Justyn Simmons and then fired at Victor Simmons as he was running away.
In court on Wednesday, DVine said when she got to her parents' home, her mother tried to call her cousins off their mission. That phone call appeared to have happened right about the time that the brothers arrived on the street where the shooting took place and they never responded to that message.
Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Matt Johnson asked DVine whether either of the Simmons brothers actually told her that they planned to physically hurt Ballard. She said they didn't, but that she knew their reputation for being overly protective of her and for carrying weapons. She said she deleted messages from her phone in which she had begged Ballard not to return to the house.
The case is set to continue in the 15th state District Court with Judge Jim Fallon presiding Thursday.