Six murdered in Crenshaw

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 29, 2002

Six people were found shot to death in Rutledge late Tuesday and Wednesday, and deputies are still trying to figure out what led to the apparent homicide.

Authorities declined to release details of the investigation, but according to wire reports Greenville resident Coleman Ball said he believed the victims were members of his family. He identified them as his mother, Mila Ruth Ball, 62, who lived in the house; his sister, Joann Ball, 25, who lived in a nearby mobile home; three nephews, Jerry Ball, 18, Tony Ball, 16, and John Ball 14; and Willie Hasley, apparently related to Joann Ball by marriage.

Wire reports also said authorities were searching for a teen-age girl and her daughter, said to be missing. The girl was identified as 16-year-old Janice Ball.

According to information released by District Attorney John Andrews,

deputies in Crenshaw County responded at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday to the house at South Moody's Crossroads, in the Rutledge Community, six miles west of Luverne. The house sits 100 yards south of Alabama Highway 10.

"Deputies were dispatched to a report of two bodies being found at a residence on South Moody's Crossroads, and, when they arrived, found not only the two bodies reported but three additional bodies," said Andrews, district attorney for the Second Judicial District, during a Wednesday morning press conference. "The Sheriff's Department called my office, and within the hour we had the Alabama Bureau of Investigation responding with a crime investigation unit to process the scene."

At approximately 4:15 on Wednesday morning, investigators found what they were fearing - another victim. "As the investigation continued through the night, a sixth body was discovered," Andrews said. "It is apparent that all of were victims of homicide."

Andrews said officers throughout the state and region were searching for one or more suspects and/or witnesses, and that they could not yet release any names.

"We are not releasing any names of either victims or witnesses at this time, due to the nature of the investigation," he said. "We intend to solve this case, and bring the suspect or suspects to swift justice, seeking maximum prosecution for this heinous offense."

According to Associated Press reports, authorities

Andrews said he wanted to thank ABI, the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department, investigators with the District Attorney's Office, the Crenshaw County Coroner, and the Department of Forensic Science for their prompt response and professional actions regarding the case.

"I also want to thank Dr. Althea Gammage, a local veterinarian who responded to pick up a large black dog for treatment," he said.

It was not readily apparent what had caused injury to the Labrador-type dog, but it appeared to have an open wound on its back, and was weakened to the point that it could barely stand. .