CAMDEN COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — A man accused of murdering his uncle appeared before a judge Monday who appointed him a public defender.
The hearing marked James Ball’s first in Camden County Superior Court since U.S. Marshals brought him back into the country last month.
Ball, 34, allegedly tried to escape to Canada, where he also had citizenship.
In April, Ball had been staying with his uncle, William Ball, while he awaited a DWI hearing in Dare County, according to court documents.
The documents go on to outline the evidence against James Ball: on the morning of April 22, he called 911, and Camden County Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find 65-year-old William Ball dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
Although the victim had blood on his hand, consistent with what might appear if the wound was self-inflicted, deputies didn’t find a gun near the body.
They did find bloody smudges around the house, including on James Ball’s feet and jeans, and a handgun across the room. It was mostly clean, which investigators say isn’t consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ball had difficulty explaining the blood on his clothes and invoked his Miranda rights.
William Ball’s daughter, Tammy Ball-Olving told 10 On Your Side she believes James Ball tried to make it appear as though her father committed suicide.
“Angry is an understatement,” she said of the possibility. “My dad would not be capable of committing suicide. He had a lot to live for. He had heart surgery several years back and was in good health, and didn’t have any issues and was very close to me and my sister and would have no reason to do that.”
Ball also had three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and another on the way.
About eight hours after the 911 call, investigators filed a warrant to collect James Ball’s DNA, cell phone, and clothes.
Before the case could move forward, Ball allegedly fled to Canada, where authorities picked him up within a week and detained him as a fugitive until U.S. Marshals could return him to North Carolina in October.
Ball’s next hearing is February 24.