Judge sentences Ball to 150-363 years in prison

by Kate Shunney

Circuit Court Judge Debra McLaughlin on Tuesday sentenced David Ball, 41, of Berkeley Springs to 150 to 363 years in prison for sexual crimes against a child.

During the sentencing hearing on July 30, Ball chose not to address the court or the victim of the crimes, which took place in 2018. Defense attorney Lisa Green argued for leniency in sentencing, asking for a prison term that would allow Ball a chance to qualify for parole during his lifetime.

On June 19, a Morgan County jury found Ball guilty of 19 sexual crimes against a minor child. They included six counts each of second-degree sexual assault, sexual abuse by a parent or custodian, incest and one count of attempted second-degree sexual assault. The verdict came at the end of two days of testimony, including testimony from the victim and Ball.

Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel James, who argued the state’s case, asked Judge McLaughlin on Tuesday to impose the maximum sentence on each count. He asked that each prison term for each crime be served back to back.

In sentencing Ball, Judge McLaughlin said she saw no reason to grant leniency.

“The court doesn’t find any mitigating factors. You have shown no remorse,” she said.

“The victim is the person you are tasked most to protect,” the judge said. “Really no crime shocks the conscience more than sexual crimes against a child.”

Judge McLaughlin granted the prosecutor’s request for the court to deem Ball as a “sexually violent predator” that required extended supervision after any release from prison.

“It is my hope and intent that you do not meet parole,” said Judge McLaughlin. She ordered that if Ball is ever released from prison, he must undergo 40 years of extended supervision by the court and register as a sex offender.

Ball didn’t speak during the sentencing hearing, but at one point turned to stare at the victim seated in the courtroom. The judge ordered him to face forward during the rest of the proceedings.

Prior to sentencing, one of the victim’s foster parents, who has now adopted the child with her spouse, addressed the court.

“First, I wish West Virginia would come back with the death penalty, because no child should have to live the kind of life she’s had,” the mother said. “He deserves suffering a life in prison. She’s suffered enough.”

The mother thanked the police, investigators and court officials on the case. Cpl. Edwards of the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit was the lead investigator in the case.

The mother said her daughter has been referred to as a victim throughout the court case.

“She’s not a victim. She’s a survivor,” she said. The mother said the child has done well in school, plays sports and carries herself with strength.

“She’s definitely shown who she is – she’s a survivor.”