DAYTON - A Lyon County prosecutor agreed to a lower bail for a Silver Springs man charged with sexual assault. A week later he shot his wife and abducted three of his daughters at gunpoint before being killed by one of the girls.
A video was shown Friday of the bail-reduction hearing for Walter Nelson Ball that took place June 16 in Dayton Justice Court before Justice of the Peace William Rogers.
Ball, 43, appeared in jail-issued clothing and shackles during the brief hearing, in which his attorney Lane Mills asked the judge to reduce bail from $250,000 to $25,000.
Mills told the judge Balls' father had lived in the community 20 years and Ball "has every reason to stick around on this case." He said Ball likely would be able to post a $25,000 bond.
Deputy District Attorney Chet Kafchinski said bail should be $100,000.
"The state would have no objection to a reduction in bail to the amount of $100,000," Kafchinski said at the hearing. "If Mr. Ball has so many ties to the community and he's been here for this period of time, he should be able to raise such bail."
"Given the nature of the charge, he's looking at possible life in prison. He can also be a threat to the victims in this case," Kafchinski said.
Judge Rogers listened to Lane's and Kafchinski's comments and set the bail at $100,000. He also ordered Ball to stay away from his family and their home in south Silver Springs.
The following day, Ball's father put up collateral to cover the $100,000 bond and about $10,000 in cash for his release, Rogers said.
According to police, early Wednesday morning - less than a week after his release - a drunken Ball beat a neighbor in her own home before breaking into his family home a block away and shooting his estranged wife, Cindy, in the face.
He then abducted his teenage daughters, who were found later in an isolated part of Lahontan State Park. Police say they had been beaten and possibly sexually assaulted.
At some point, Ball fell asleep and one of the daughters shot him in the forehead, Capt. Jeff Page said. No charges are pending against her, he said.
A statement released by the family says Cindy, listed in fair condition at Washoe Medical Center, "will have no visibly lasting effects" from the shooting.
After the videotape of the bail hearing was shown to reporters on Friday, Rogers explained the circumstances of the case. Kafchinski and District Attorney Leon Aberasturi couldn't be reached for comment.
"The system broke down," Rogers said. He said he had increased Ball's bail when he was arrested on May 27 from $155,000 to $250,000 based on the arrest report.
"I do that based on the probable cause sheet, in, maybe, one in every 200 cases. The allegations caused me significant concern," he recalled.
Detective Rob Hall wrote in the report that police believed Ball sexually assaulted his daughter on May 26 and held a gun with a single bullet in it against her head, pulling the trigger. The weapon didn't fire.
"But when you are a judge in a small town, we don't have the resources to analyze every case and we are stuck relying heavily on recommendations by the District Attorney's Office."
"I don't know that anyone could have foreseen this, including the defendant's own parents," Rogers said.
"We (reduce bail) on every case. The only reason you're here is because this time it was wrong," he told reporters.
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