After deliberating for more than 10 hours over two days without reaching a verdict, the jurors who will decide Jordan Ballard’s fate recessed for the weekend just before 1 p.m. on Friday.
Jim Fallon, judge of the 15th state district court, explained the need to adjourn for the rest of the day Friday was his and not the jury’s. He said he had previously scheduled plans that required him to leave.
Before excusing the nine women and three men on the jury, Fallon admonished them not to talk about the case with anyone or watch or read any media coverage of the case.
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 back in April of 2015, 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. Ballard faces an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge for the shots he fired at Victor Simmons.
Ballard freely admits that he was the person who fired the bullet that killed Justyn Simmons and that he fired on Victor Simmons as he drug his brother across the street. Ballard’s defense attorney Larry Jarrett said his client did those things in self defense. During the four-day trial, Jarrett repeatedly asked witnesses about their knowledge of the Simmons brothers’ reputation for violence. Several defense witnesses said the brothers were known to shoot guns at their grandfather’s house and that they were the kind of men who preferred action to talking. Witnesses offered by the prosecution, however, said the guns were mostly used at the grandfather’s place and the two were only going to Denison to talk to Ballard.
Prosecutors Britton Brooks and Matt Johnson told jurors that Ballard admits to having and firing the gun that fired the shot that killed Justyn Ballard. They said that Ballard had only been out of prison a few months when that happened and he was not allowed, by law, to possess a handgun, let alone fire it at anyone. They said he knew that as he hid in the bushes with a gun and waited on the brothers to arrive at his house.
Jurors will continue their deliberation Monday beginning at 9 a.m.