Nearly ten years ago, Stephen Ball was convicted for the murder of his live-in girlfriend in Stark County, Ohio. The body of 34-year-old Annette was found in a refrigerator at the couple's home, more than a week after she was last seen.
Monday morning, Ball was let out of prison, accompanied by Ohio corrections officials, to visit his mother, who is seriously ill.
"He showed up at 10:30 and left around noon; there were no problems. They had a room set up separate from other rooms, so there were no security problems," says Capt. Jeff Waite.
Marietta police said they had heard that family members of the victim had planned a protest when Ball was taken here. No such protest materialized. Police told us they were notified an escort was needed for ball, a little more than two hours before the visit was to take place.
"To prevent escape by him, and to protect corrections officers while they were here, if there was any retaliation by the family," Capt. Waite says.
State corrections officials have guidelines for providing inmates with bedside visits with seriously ill patients. One important rule the corrections department makes is that no escorted visits be made outside Ohio.
Ball's mother, Mary, was in hospice care and not a patient at Marietta Memorial Hospital, but arrangements were made to take her there for the visit with her son.