Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jury Recommends Death for Ballard

By Jason Geary

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 2:21 p.m.

BARTOW A jury has recommended that convicted murderer Roy Phillip Ballard be executed for killing his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub.

Under Florida law, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen must give the jury’s 9-3 recommendation great weight.

Traub, 33, of Lakeland, disappeared Sept. 13., 2006, after meeting with Ballard. Her body has never been found.

Jurors found Ballard, 67, guilty earlier this month of first-degree murder.

At a hearing in late August, the defense will have an opportunity to provide more legal arguments about why Ballard should be sentenced to life in prison instead of the death penalty. Jacobsen will then set a sentencing date.

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