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Attorneys argue timing in Virginia State Trooper murder trial

RICHMOND, Va. -- The man accused of killing Virginia State Police Trooper Mike Walter appeared for what was scheduled as an attorney status hearing in Richmond Circuit Court. Travis Ball, 27, was arraigned on a Capital Murder charge for the killing of Walter in June.

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

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring said it was too soon to say if he planned to seek the death penalty in the case.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring

In court Thursday, Judge Beverly Snukals asked Ball whether or not he was able to retain his own attorneys, which she said he intended to do after a previous hearing.

"I think I will continue with the attorneys I have," Ball confidently told the judge, referring to his court-appointed Capital Defender attorneys.

Ball wore a red dress shirt, black suit pants, and stayed quiet during the remainder of the hearing.

Ball's attorney and Herring then discussed how much time they would need to prepare the case before it goes to trial.

The defense argued, based on experience, they would need more than a year to collect the necessary evidence.

Judge Snukals disagreed stating a previous Capital Murder case over which she presided was tried in less than a year.

Herring told the judge he could be ready in less than a year. He brought up Ball's right to a speedy trial.

"[Ball] has good lawyers, which is important. The judge is going to hold our feet to the fire and make sure that we don't waste time and unnecessarily delay," Herring said outside of the John Marshall Courts Building. “But, in Capital cases it’s not uncommon for the defendant to waive speedy trial to prepare his or her defense.”

Ball shot and killed the Virginia State Police special agent after Walter approached the car where Ball sat in Richmond's Mosby Court community the evening of Friday, May 26, 2017, according to police.

A search warrant affidavit stated, the driver of the car (who CBS 6 is not identifying because he is a key witness) was in the driver's seat of a Chevrolet sedan on Redd Street when two officers approached.

Ball surrendered to law enforcement the next morning at a relative's home in the Northern Neck.

The defendant’s mother, sister-in-law, and two family friends sat silently inside the courtroom.

“This is a mom and a family so they’re upset,” said Sharon Broaddus, who identified herself as Ball's pastor. “They’re concerned. I am truly sorry about [Walker’s death] and my heart is with his family, but this is a family as well. We have to respect their privacy and the pain that they’re going through, too.”

Sharon Broaddus

Broaddus said she and the family were able to talk to Ball in a closed room before the hearing.

“He’s sorry about the situation," Broaddus said when asked about Ball's demeanor. "We are going to wait until the trial date and see what comes out."

Walter, a husband and father of three, was also a wrestling coach who co-founded Blackhawk Gym in Powhatan.

 

Judge Snukals told the court she’d like to schedule a trial date during the next court hearing on July 25.