Friends and family of Billy Joe Ballard are asking the community to write letters to keep his murderer Darrel E. Walker imprisoned. Walker is currently incarcerated at the Sterling Correctional Facility and is expected to have a parole hearing on April 19, 2016.
Seventy three year old, Billy Ballard was murdered by Darrel Walker in December of 2000. Ballard was murdered at his home two miles east of Kremmling when Walker shot him twice with a high powered rifle and hid his body in a crawl space. Walker then stole Ballard’s white pick-up and high powered rifles and fled to California. He was extradited and sentenced to 40 years to the Department of Colorado Corrections by Judge Richard Doucette in the 14th Judicial District Court in June of 2002. Walker entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of seconddegree murder, a Class 2 felony, and theft charges for the pick-up and rifles, a Class 4 felony.
This was not Walker’s first offense for aggravated vehicle theft. When Walker met Ballard, he was serving a 180 day sentence for auto theft and driving under the influence. He was required to work at the Grand County Fairgrounds as an inmate where Ballard worked part-time. When Walker was released, he was on probation and stayed in the area. Ballard continued their friendship and offered him work. Walker was 51 years old at his sentencing for the murder of Ballard.
After 15 years, Ballard is still well remembered in the community.
Ballard was born August 15, 1927 in Kent, Oklahoma. He served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He moved to Kremmling as a ranch hand for Jack Griffith on the Troublesome.
For a time, he also owned the Lone Moose with his former wife, Jane. But predominantly, he was a welder and a farrier. He had spare horses and could provide hunters with a string for a hunting trip. Ballard was always willing to help someone and it came as no surprise to learn he had befriended Walker before his murder.
At the end of his life, Ballard worked part-time at the Grand County Fairgrounds where he had welded the pipe to build the small working arena.
In 2001, Ballard was recognized for his work at the Grand County fairgrounds posthumously. The smaller working arena was dedicated in his memory. The 2001 Middle Park Fair and Rodeo was also dedicated to Ballard’s memory.
Ballard has three sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
To submit a letter, refer to Darrel E. Walker (Doc #11370) at the Sterling Correctional Facility and mail to Colorado Department of Corrections Victim Services Unit, 2862 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. You can also fax your written statement to 719- 226-4485 or email [email protected]