Jury deliberating in Michael Ball trial
Michael Ball’s fate now rests in the hands of the jury.
Five women and seven men will determine whether Ball, 27, is guilty or innocent of killing Erin Howlett in 2013.
The jurors know that this is a retrial on a charge of the first degree murder—the first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to unanimously agree on a verdict.
What the jury doesn’t know is that Ball took the stand in the first trial in 2016, something he didn’t do this time around.
In 2016, Ball took the stand in his own defence, saying repeatedly, “I didn’t do it.”
Howlett’s brother, Dane Howlett, never believed him.
“Ultimately what we’re hoping what we hoped for in the first trial, and that’s a verdict returned of guilty of first-degree murder,” he says.
In 2016, Ball told the jury that the last time he saw Howlett was when she came over to his place to buy drugs.
“After she finished her drink and cocaine, she left,” Ball said while he was on the stand.
At the first trial, he told the jury that, after Howlett left his apartment, he helped a friend move. Then he returned home and went back out to deal drugs.
During cross-examination, he admitted he lied to police about his relationship with Howlett because of his drug dealing.
“I didn’t want cops coming around asking question,” he explained at the time.
Howlett’s family says it’s difficult to hear about her drug use.
“Although she may have had some struggles in her life, she brought a lot of joy and happiness, a lot of laughter to everybody she knew,” her brother says.
The family wants Erin Howlett to be remembered as a loving sister, daughter and friend, not as a murder victim.
The jury went on dinner break at 7 p.m. and was scheduled to continue deliberating afterward.
They have three options for a verdict: guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder or not guilty.
If they don’t reach a verdict on Thursday night, they will be sequestered to a nearby hotel and will return back to the courthouse on Friday.