Man gets life for ‘99 murder

Published 10:08 pm Monday, October 24, 2005

By Staff
Staff reports
A Castleberry man arrested in Brewton in 1999 was sentenced this week to life in prison and a fine for the murder of a sales clerk who died while working in a Castleberry grocery store.
James Anthony Ball fatally shot Tera Lynn Rigby at Coleman's Smokehouse Grocery where she was working. According to previous newspaper reports, Ball shot Rigby and walked away without a word.
According to authorities, Ball had an argument with his girlfriend and was going to get a gun and shoot the first person he saw, who ended up being Rigby.
Arrested in Brewton shortly after the incident in March of 1999, Ball confessed to the shooting but later revised his story, telling authorities he had heard voices in his head shortly before the incident.
During hearings held in the Conecuh County Courtroom on Tuesday, family members and friends of Rigby testified as Ball stared almost stone faced throughout the hearing.
Kimberly Vick, Rigby's sister, testified why she wanted Ball punished for murdering her half sister. Following Vick was Ball's mother, Virginia Ball, who testified that her son has had mental problems his entire life and should be given a light sentence.
Mrs. Ball told Circuit Judge Sam Welch that her son has been repeatedly diagnosed with mental problems.
Pam Coleman Driscoll, who was working in the store at the time of the murder, testified that Bal turned the shotgun on her and she ducked behind the counter to hide. She said that her life has been permanently altered because of the killing and she finds herself constantly in fear of being shot.
District Attorney Tommy Chapman was unavailable for comment on Friday, but told the judge on Tuesday that the nature of the crime and the dangers to the people of Conecuh County warrant a sentence of life in prison.
Psychological tests were brought forth by defense attorney Paul Harden, Jr. The tests he presented alleged his client was not competent and he asked Judge Welch for a different sentence for his client.
However, Judge Welch deemed the murder senseless and sentenced Ball to life in prison and fined him $1,000. Ball will be eligible for parole in 10 years.