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Man accused of killing Virginia State Trooper could face death penalty

RICHMOND, Va. -- The man accused of killing Virginia State Police Trooper Mike Walter was arraigned on a Capital Murder charge Thursday morning in Richmond.

Richmond Circuit Court judge Beverly Snukals appointed attorneys from the capital defender's office to represent Travis Ball.

Ball, 27, shot and killed the special agent may 26 in Mosby Court, police said.

"Killing a law enforcement officer for the purpose of interfering with his or her duties qualifies a homicide for prosecution as capital murder," explained Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring.

Walter, a husband and father of three, was also a wrestling coach who co-founded Black Hawk gym in Powhatan.

"There's nothing pleasant about this, and so I don't want the public to think that we were charged up to indict Mr. Ball or try him for capital murder. It's of necessity that we are taking him to trial," Herring said. "Hopefully it sends a message that we certainly scrutinize the actions of the police, but we equally scrutinize the actions of the general public when they take steps against the police."

If convicted, jury has the option to sentence Ball to either life in prison without possibility of parole or death.

Herring said it was too soon to say if he planned to seek the death penalty in the case.

"We're still collecting evidence of the crime and hopefully as time goes on, we will learn more about the defendant and then we can make an assessment of whether death is an appropriate request," Herring said.

This is Herring's second capital murder case.

His first was in 2006 when Ricky Gray was tried for the murder of the Harvey family. Gray was executed earlier this year.

Ball is scheduled to be back in court on July 5.