LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A visiting judge sentenced a Lufkin man accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl on at least two occasions in April 2011 to 25 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system Thursday.
Donald Miller Ball, 38, pleaded guilty in March to a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Visiting Judge Robert Trapp heard the testimony, as District Judge Barry Bryan recused himself from the case, as Ball is the son of Justice of the Peace Bill Ball.
According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told an investigator that Ball was staying the night at a friend's residence. Sometime during the night, the victim said Ball came into her bedroom and touched her inappropriately.
A friend of the victim told counselors at Harold's House said she witnessed Ball climb into the bed and she witnessed the victim trying to scoot closer to her.
According to a witness for the prosecution, Lisa Page, an ACSO supervision officer of adult probation said she did not find it acceptable that Ball did not remember the incident.
Page said he told her in an interview the he didn't recall entering the victim's bedroom or touching her.
Page said she did not believe Ball was a good candidate for sex offender treatment.
District Attorney Art Bauereiss called the victim's mother to the stand. Bauereiss asked her about her daughter.
The mother said she and many friends had gone out to several clubs. Ball met up with the victim's mother and friends sometime during the night and ended up staying the night at her house because he had been having problems with his wife and slept on the couch.
Bauereiss asked the mother to explain what her daughter had told her.
"Donnie had come into her room and touched her down there," the mother said.
Then Bauereiss asked if the girl indicated there was any other instances. The mother said that her daughter said he had done it before "that time he had touched her on top of her panties."
The mother said her daughter "is scared. She has nightmares that he is going to come after her for telling."
She said they moved within a month of the incident because her daughter was scared to go in her room where the incident happened.
The mother said her husband called Ball after he learned about the incident. She said she had never talked to Ball since the incident in April 2011.
Defense attorney Al Charanza questioned the mother about the time her son had a birthday party that was a sleepover with 10 or so boys and 6 or so girls when the daughter said Ball touched her inappropriately for the first time.
Bauereiss then called Alexis Byerly, 18, to the stand. Byerly is the daughter of Ball's wife.
Bauereiss asked if Ball had ever done anything inappropriate.
Byerly said, "Making inappropriate gestures and comments. One time he said he liked me more than my mom and tried to kiss me one time."
"There was multiple times that he would make comments," Byerly said.
Byerly described a time Ball and her went to Houston to go shopping. She said they went shopping and then Ball said it was too late to drive back and they stayed the night
Bauereiss asked what happened in the motel. Byerly said Ball went to take a shower and she called room service for more pillows and he used shopping bags to make a divider on the bed because there was only one bed and she wanted it to be separate.
Byerly said "Whenever I woke up my shirt was up and he was rubbing my side and I didn't know what to do."
Bauereiss asked if Ball ever provided drugs or alcohol to Byerly and she said yes.
Charanza asked Byerly about the marriage between Ball and her mom.
Charanza asked Byerly if she was upset that her mother married Ball.
"I just don't really like the way he treats my mom, so no sir," Byerly said. "She deserves better."
Charanza then called Beverly Ball, mother to Donnie Ball.
"He is very supportive of his family. Very supportive of his wife," said Beverly Ball.
Charanza asked Beverly what the relationship was like between Donnie and Alexis Byerly.
"I think he was trying to be a father to her. They seemed to be fine initially," she said.
"My son made the decision to plead guilty in this regard," Ball's mother said. "He is a good man. I don't believe he would intentionally hurt any child."
"I'm concerned that my husband's not going to come home," said Kerri Ball when Charanza asked her what concerned her in this case.
"I know that he is supportive," she said. "He hates hospitals yet he has gone with me numerous times and he stays with me. He is willing to help people. I've never seen him where he was just flat out no he wouldn't help somebody"
In closing statements, Charanza asked for a 10-year probation sentence.
"I think there is a community that needs protection from the defendant," Bauereiss said.