Grayson County Convicted Felon Sentenced for Federal Firearms Violation
SHERMAN, Texas - A 24-year-old Denison, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for federal violations related to the murder of a man in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Jordan Tyrel Ballard pleaded guilty on Jan. 27, 2016, to being a felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition. Ballard was sentenced to a total of 30 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant on Dec. 7, 2016.
According to information presented in court, on Apr. 21, 2015, family members of Ballard’s pregnant girlfriend received information that Ballard was threatening her at her residence in Denison. Two of the girlfriend’s male cousins, Justyn Simmons and Victor Simmons, traveled from their home in Celina to Denison to check on her welfare. After arriving to West Monterey Street in Denison, the Simmons brothers were confronted by Ballard at gunpoint. Despite the fact that neither man was armed and they put their hands up and repeatedly indicated they were just there to talk, Ballard shot Justyn Simmons in the chest. Ballard continued to shoot at Victor as he fled on foot and Justyn was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation revealed Ballard was a convicted felon having been previously found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2012 in Grayson County, Texas. Convicted felons are prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition. Ballard was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 14, 2015.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Mazzant ruled that Ballard did not act in self-defense, and further found that Ballard committed first degree murder. Based on his history of violence and lack of remorse, Ballard was sentenced to a total of 30 years in federal prison for federal firearms violations. He has also been indicted by a Grayson County Grand Jury for murder. That case is pending.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
This case was investigated by the Denison Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lesley D. Brooks and Maureen Smith.