A Salem man will face 10 years in prison after being sentenced Monday for drug distribution charges filed in the wake of to a 2017 fatal overdose, according to a press release from the Dent County Prosecutor’s Office.
Ronald Ball, 78, was found guilty July 13 of two felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance (methamphetamine and heroin). Circuit Judge Kelly Parker presiding over the trial During proceedings, Prosecutor Andrew M. Curley presented evidence Ball distributed heroin and methamphetamine in April of 2017 following the overdose death of Joseph Sutton at the Ball’s residence in March of 2017. Ball was represented by Herman Guetersloh.
A sentencing hearing on the charges was convened Monday with Parker once again presiding and Curley representing the prosecution. Curley presented evidence that in March of 2017 Ball distributed heroin to another person who ultimately distributed the heroin to Sutton at the Ball’s residence, which then contributed to his overdose death. A doctor performing the subsequent Sutton autopsy reported the opinion his death resulted from methamphetamine and heroin intoxication.
Each felony count carries a potential range of punishment of up to 10 years in the department of corrections. A Sentencing Assessment Report prepared by Missouri Probation and Parole recommended Ball be granted probation. Ball’s defense also argued for probation due to Ball’s limited criminal history and current poor health. Curley sought 13 years in the prison due to Ball placing heroin into the community that became a contributing factor in the death of Sutton and due to his continuing to distribute drugs following the overdose.
Parker ultimately sentenced Ball to 10 years in prison Monday on each count with the terms to run concurrent and retained jurisdiction under state statute 559.115 for the possible release from prison on probation after the completion of 120 days.
The press release concludes by Curley stating his heart goes out the family and friends of Joe Sutton. He went on to say that he appreciated the investigative efforts conducted by the Dent County Sheriff’s Department and Drug Taskforce resulting in the Ball conviction.