Confession made under stress

To the editor:

Given the amount of space devoted to the Ball murder case and the “grisly account” of the defendant, I feel it is appropriate to offer a response.

A photograph accompanied the two stories regarding the homicide in the weekend edition of your paper. There is little else to be told that is not said in that sad picture of a sad woman.

As to her statements after the alleged murder, they were given too soon by a woman, guilty or not, who was quite probably still in shock. It would be wrong to look for logic in her words. By logic, I mean the kind that could prove the culpability of this woman. And it was wrong for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise to publish them.

Even if she believes she is telling the truth, it is obvious in those words she is reacting to what happened more than she is relating what happened. It is a confession, no doubt, but I truly hope that more than these statements convict her. If she is being truthful, it seems she killed him while he was still alive but no longer an immediate threat to her. Hence, one would argue, she is guilty. But also there is a history of abuse and control. She was, she believes, under this man’s control for years, and I think we (or at least any jury) should consider that she was then (when she gave the statements) under the control of the village and state police. In an important sense, the words “freely given” may not truly apply to her words. If she had not been once tortured, her mind truly was.

Believe me, if she was abused, and that picture says a lot, and she felt any rage while she perhaps defended herself from this man, she was bound at some point in her statements to “confess” to killing him. She wanted him dead, at that moment and probably before. But if he was out to kill her that day, and it is entirely possible that he was, then she is not guilty. The state must prove otherwise, confused statements by a woman in shock and without representation notwithstanding.

Shane Fox

Saranac Lake