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Decatur man accused of punching, strangling and sexually assaulting child denies all charges
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Decatur man accused of punching, strangling and sexually assaulting child denies all charges

Clarence A. Ballard


DECATUR — Clarence A. Ballard appeared in Macon County Circuit Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to kidnapping a girl under 13 and strangling, punching and repeatedly sexually assaulting the child.

Ballard, represented by attorney Dave Ellison and held in custody, waived a preliminary hearing when he was led before Judge Phoebe Bowers. Ballard denied three charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and a charge of aggravated kidnapping.

He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated domestic battery involving strangulation, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a charge of committing aggravated battery in a public place and a charge of unlawful restraint.

Bowers found probable cause to try him on all the offenses and Bowers assigned herself as the trial judge. She set a pretrial hearing for April 13 and Ballard remains held in the Macon County Jail where bond is set at $530,000, meaning he must post $53,000 to be released.

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A sworn affidavit from Decatur police about the case said Ballard had been arrested about 11:30 p.m. Feb. 1 after the terrified child was found wandering in Trump Hill Lane. The affidavit said she told of being abducted by the 47-year-old Ballard, who had been a friend of the child’s family, after he had invited her to go on a drive with him to get ice cream just after 2 p.m. Feb. 1

Instead, wrote Detective Jason Danner, Ballard smoked crack cocaine and tried to persuade her to try it. He then took her to a East Pershing Road motel and strangled her and repeatedly punched her in the head when she tried to flee, he wrote. He threatened to kill her, she said, if she tried to run again before dragging the crying child inside the motel room.

Danner said she told police she was forced to perform sex acts that Ballard recorded on his phone. Later, after leaving the hotel, the child is quoted as saying that Ballard threatened to kill her if she contacted the police. He then drove her to a wooded area the child didn’t recognize and had begun to repeatedly punch her when she said she managed to open the car door and flee, he said. 

“She said Ballard chased her through the woods and yelled multiple times that he was going to ‘kill’ her,” Danner said in the affidavit. The child outran Ballard and, after flagging down a passing driver at 5:45 p.m., told them to call the police and her mother.

Mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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