• Murder victim's mom thankful suspect is in jail

    By: Craig Lucie


    ATLANTA - The mother of a murder victim said the U.S. Marshal's Office and the Atlanta Police Department gave her the best Christmas present she could ask for.

    They promised her they would catch her son's killer before the holidays, and they came through with that promise early Thursday morning.

    "He was promising that before Christmas, he'll have him," said Janice Ballard-Dean.

    That promise came from an APD undercover detective who also works on the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force.

    The man they were after is Jeremy Woods.

    Police said he shot Kentavious Ballard, 30, Aug. 19 as he walked through Atlanta's Central Park.

    "For someone to just to take their life, it's very painful," said Ballard-Dean.

    Police tracked down Woods in his hometown of Aiken, S.C. early Thursday morning.

    "The marshal called me and said 'I told you I would have him before Christmas. I was like 'oh this the best Christmas present I could ever have in the world,'" explained Ballard-Dean.

    That brings some joy to Ballard-Dean, but she always struggles this time of year because all three of her sons were murdered.

    "During the holidays, it's the worst time because my oldest son was shot and robbed on Christmas Eve in 2001," said Ballard-Dean.

    This year though she said she's thankful and she plans to show her appreciation to that undercover detective this week.

    "We want to honor him with this plaque and it reads 'God Bless me day and night and keep me in his heavenly sight and in times of stress when I'm feeling down, Thank you Lord for being around," read Ballard-Dean.

    Ballard-Dean said she's still paying the funeral home that helped with Kentavious Ballard's burial. She said the funeral cost $8,000, and she still owes $3,500. She's hoping someone will help and has set up the "In Loving Memory of Kentavious Ballard Fund" at Bank of America. The EIN number is 900920185.

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