Former Cicero teacher pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2017 killing of his brother-in-law

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — James Ball, the man who admitted to killing his brother-in-law back in 2017 during an argument at Ball’s home, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday. 

James Ball

The former Cicero-teacher was facing a murder charge, but Onondaga County accepted a plea deal of 2nd degree manslaughter. The murder charge was dropped, and the 1st degree manslaughter was amended to the 2nd degree. 

James Ball showed no emotion in the courtroom on Wednesday. In the courtroom was Ball’s wife, the sister of Christopher Ross. Ball’s wife sobbed as her husband pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter for killing her brother in July of 2017.

“It certainly has not been a happy event for him, his family, Mr. Ross’ family. So I don’t think there’s happiness, I think there’s relief,” says Michael Spano, defense lawyer for James Ball.

Sentencing is set for March 25, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. Ball faces 3-9 years in prison or probation. 

“The defendant foolishly and recklessly grabbed a gun and brought it into the equation, resulting in the death of Mr. Ross, his brother-in-law. With all things considered, I think it was the appropriate way to dispose of the case,” said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said during the investigation, Ball stepped away from the July 4, 2017, fight, where the victim got the better of Ball, to load his weapon, and then fired four times at 40-year-old Christopher Ross.

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