October 20, 2017: Statement of Facts for George N. Ball
STATEMENT OF FACTS IN SUPPORT OF GUILTY PLEA
George Ball was sworn in as Chief of Police for Trappe, Maryland in November of 2006 and served in that role until he was suspended in July of 2017. He resigned in August of 2017.
Investigation by the Maryland State Police and the Office of the State Prosecutor revealed that then Chief Ball obstructed and failed to pursue a legitimate investigation of a reported theft of jewelry by Heather Harding with whom he has had a long term personal relationship. Ball also improperly seized and held a handgun, reportedly stolen, from the apartment of Heather Harding after she was incarcerated and further failed to properly process or report the gun as evidence or recovered property.
In September of 2015, a Trappe resident reported a theft of her jewelry to Chief Ball. Heather Harding was the suspect as she had lived with the theft victim and then pawned the jewelry at a nearby pawn shop. Soon after the theft was reported to Ball, he paid the pawn shop $516.00 to recover the items and returned them to the victim. Ball made no official report of the theft and Harding was never charged. The victim would testify that she felt pressured by Ball not to pursue criminal charges.
In June of 2016, Trappe resident Dana Gibson purchased a handgun from another citizen. Neither submitted the required paperwork through the Maryland State Police and neither underwent the required background check. Gibson was living with Heather Harding at the time of the gun purchase. Soon after, Gibson moved out but left the gun behind. When he went back to retrieve it, he claimed that Harding refused to return it which prompted him to report the matter to the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office who referred him to Chief Ball. He would testify that Ball never followed up with him on the matter. During that time frame, police computer records reveal that Ball did, however, run a stolen gun check that showed that the gun was listed as still belonging to the previous owner. On May 3, 2017, Heather Harding, who had a history of drug convictions, was incarcerated based on a burglary conviction. On that same day, Ball and Heather Harding’s mother, Ida Marvel, responded to Harding’s apartment. Marvel indicated and would testify that Ball recovered the loaded handgun stating that he was going to take it with him so that Harding “doesn’t get into any more trouble”. Ball never processed the firearm as evidence or recovered property nor did he write a report as required by Trappe police department regulations and directives and Maryland State law. The State Police executed a search warrant and recovered the gun from the Trappe Police Department on June 1, 2017.
All these events occurred in the State of Maryland.
300 E. Joppa , Suite 410
Towson, MD 21286