Man Accused In Murder Of Cumberland Couple Hopes To Avoid Death
Posted August 10, 2004 6:03 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Roughly three years to the day since two murders occurred, a 20-year-old man took the stand, trying to save his own life.
According to prosecutors, Joshua Ballard and two of his friends came to an apartment complex in August 2001. Officials believe they were going to rob Kelsea Helton and Eric Carpenter of drugs, but they ended up killing them instead.
Helton and Carpenter were dating and had a baby on the way. Relatives of the decreased couple came to court Tuesday, wearing black flowers in memory of the couple and heard from Ballard himself.
Ballard testified that he went to the apartment to buy drugs when one of the teens he was with, James Kelliher, "went crazy."
"When he was, like, telling them to get down and he walked to them, I was just thinking maybe he was going through their pockets or something like that because obviously he was robbing them, and I was still yelling at him until he shot them," he said.
Kelliher pleaded guilty earlier this year and is now serving a life sentence. Jerome Branch, the other suspect in the case, is in the Cumberland County Jail awaiting trial.