Jury convicts Lawrence woman of robbing pedestrian

Stacey N. Ballard

A jury on Wednesday convicted a Lawrence woman for her role in robbing a man as he walked near the University of Kansas campus in January.

Stacey N. Ballard, 24, was found guilty of one count of aggravated robbery, a felony, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said, in a news release. Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin scheduled Ballard’s sentencing for Feb. 1.

Ballard’s accomplice, John T. Baker, 33, was convicted by a jury and sentenced to more than 10 years in prison earlier this year for one count of robbery, a felony.

The robbery victim told police, according to the affidavit in support of Ballard’s arrest:

On the evening of Jan. 8 he was walking home after working at Chili’s, where he was a server, when a black pickup truck slowed and a man inside asked him for directions near the intersection of West Campus Road and West Hills Terrace.

The man, in the passenger seat, pulled out what appeared to the victim to be a shotgun, pointed it at the victim and demanded his belongings.

The victim handed over his phone, wallet, cash and server’s apron with Chili’s gift cards inside. The man told the victim to lie on the ground or he’d shoot him, and the truck, driven by a woman, left the scene.

With help from a confidential informant and outdoor surveillance cameras on the KU campus, Lawrence police identified Baker as the man in the truck and Ballard, his girlfriend, as the driver, according to the affidavit.

Police found the victim’s wallet and a black, pump-action commercial actuated tool that looked like a shotgun inside the home where Baker and Ballard were staying, according to the affidavit. Also according to the affidavit, Ballard told police she traded the Chili’s gift cards for meth.

Ballard’s trial began Monday. According to the DA, the jury deliberated about three hours before returning its guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon.

Ballard had been out of jail on bond, but her bond was revoked, the DA said. She faces between four and 20 years in prison, depending on her criminal history.