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Threats to law enforcement, courts land man in jail

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    Travis Leroy Ball
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A Barnesville man is in custody at the Jones County Law Enforcement Center after sending threatening letters to the Jones County Sheriff’s Office and the Jones County Courthouse.

Travis Leroy Ball, 54, was arrested March 23 and charged with three counts of terroristic threats and acts.

Lt. Kenny Allen with the Jones County Sheriff’s Office is one of the investigators working on the case. In a March 25 interview with the investigator and Sheriff Butch Reece, Allen said the first letter was received by the JCSO March 19.

“He said he was going to kill every employee and burn down the building,” the investigator said.

Reece said there was a powdery substance in the envelope that the letter stated was Anthrax, but that was quickly determined to be false.

Allen said Superior Court Clerk Pamela Dixon called the Sheriff’s office March 19 after he had left for the day to say she had also received a threatening letter. The investigator said he went to see Dixon first thing Monday.

“The letter contained the same threats. It said he was going to kill all the prosecutors and judges and burn down the building,” Allen said.

The sheriff said another letter was received by the JCSO Monday, March 22. This letter threatened bodily harm to a specific individual living in Jones County. He said all the letters had a return address that was in Jones County.

Reece said the first thing they did after receiving Monday’s letter was to reach out to the individual who was threatened to make sure they were OK.

Allen said Ball was identified by speaking with that person and by speaking with the person who lives at the return address that was on the envelope.

“The person who was threatened told us who had sent the letter and the person at the return address confirmed that information,” the investigator said.

Reece said he felt the reason for the Jones County return address was simply that the offender was being vindictive. He said, when he called law enforcement in Lamar, Upson and surrounding counties, they all knew Ball.

Allen said he interviewed at least a dozen individuals familiar with him during the investigation, and he was able to connect the dots.

“The reaction we received was ‘what has he done now?” he said.

Reece said Ball was arrested with assistance from the United States Marshals Service, the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department and the Butts County Sheriffs Department.

He said following Ball’s arrest, a search warrant was executed on his home.

“More evidence was there of the people he sent letters to or intended to, including the White House,” the sheriff said.

Allen said, during his interview with Ball, he told him he had worked in law enforcement, for the Georgia Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons and the FBI. He said the suspect told him he planned to run for Senate and asked for his vote.

Despite the almost humorous parts of the case, Reece and Allen stated that they believe Ball to be a serious threat, and he is being held without bond.

Allen said Ball served two years in federal prison and a couple of state sentences for the same type of offenses and arson charges.

“He sent letters to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, state bar, and the Church of the Latter Day Saints,” Allen said.

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Ball was convicted of arson in the first degree in 2012 in Upson County and sentenced to 12 years. He was incarcerated June 19, 2014, and released Sept. 20, 2016.