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Ball back in jail, faces psychological evaluation

Alleged serial arsonist Travis Ball was in Lamar superior court April 11 for a bond reinstatement hearing but left on his way back to jail and facing a psychological evaluation. Margie Greene of Georgia Corrections Corp., who monitored Ball’s ankle monitor, testified she received three tamper alerts and two house arrest violations from Ball’s device while he was free. She dispatched Houston County authorities to Ball’s home twice, she said. Judge Tommy Wilson violated Ball’s Lamar bond based on a house arrest violation March 14. Defense attorney Eric Hearn argued Ball’s Lamar bond carried no house arrest hours but his Upson bond did. He questioned whether the judge could violate the bond of another county or violate Ball’s Lamar bond on a breach of Upson’s conditions. But, Hearn told the judge he would reserve the argument in light of a motion for a mental evaluation of Ball that has been filed. He suggested Ball remain in jail for 60 days in an effort to get the mental evaluation done and asked the judge to press the state to rush the evaluation. If there is no evaluation, Hearn said he will return to court seeking release under the conditions of the previous bond. District attorney Richard Milam agreed to those conditions with the exception of a release in 60 days under the terms of the original bond. “We would like the court to rule based on the information available at that time,” Milam argued. Judge Wilson noted his office had contacted the state about rushing the evaluation. “They told us they are way behind and they would not put him ahead of anyone else,” the judge said. The judge agreed to send Ball back to jail for the 60-day period but warned him, “The court doesn’t think you are taking this seriously.” No mention was made in court of letters received regarding the case that were mailed to The Herald-Gazette and the Lamar sheriff’s office in which a man purporting to be a dying Gordon student confessed to the arson fires and claimed Ball was not guilty. Those letters were mailed from Warner Robins where Ball was confined under the original bond agreement. The letters are at the state crime lab for evaluation, Milam reported

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