The convicted murderer admittedly behind a gruesome 2021 slaying of his friend’s mother will spend at least 50 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
The life sentence was handed down Wednesday in the case of Amadeus Courage Ballou-Meyer, who was 16 years old on April 24, 2021, the day 46-year-old Hester Workman’s body was found by her son in their garage. The defendant went on to be prosecuted as an adult, but he did not head to trial.
Shawnee County court records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Ballou-Meyer entered a guilty plea to first-degree murder on July 22. Several felony charges, including for aggravated battery and burglary, were dismissed, records show. A misdemeanor theft charge was also dismissed.
It was apparent at the scene that Workman had been beaten and had severe head trauma, but it wasn’t immediately clear who might have committed the crime. Investigators said that in the ensuing days they found answers — in the form of neighborhood surveillance video, which the victim’s son used to identify his friend as the bat-wielding suspect.
“I hung out with Amadeus the day after it happened,” her son Dillon Jay told KSNT. “He hugged me and told me he couldn’t imagine what it was like to lose a parent.”
But Dillon would soon learn that Ballou-Meyer, someone he described as being at his house “three days a week for months,” was on video running away from the crime scene with the bat.
The defendant’s reported confession said he was trying to “scare” the victim and killed her in a panic. Per WIBW:
Ballou-Meyer confessed that snuck into the house where he attempted to “scare” his friend’s mother, Workman, by pushing her as she came up the steps from the garage into the house. When she fell back and hit her head, he said he panicked and picked up the bat and started to hit her with it.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Ballou-Meyer tried to dispose of the murder weapon in a creek, but a disc golfer found it, took it home, and handed it over to authorities once he learned about a search for the bat.
A Topeka detective testified Friday about DNA evidence linking the suspect to the beating death of 46-year-old Hester Workman. https://t.co/tYUqgsPvzf
— CJOnline (@CJOnline) March 19, 2022
That evidence, coupled with the neighbor’s surveillance video, proved crucial for prosecutors.
An obituary said that Hester worked as a legal support staff supervisor with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts at the time of her death.
“She enjoyed waterparks, watching crime and medical shows, puzzles, reading and her beloved dog, Peanut. Her kids were her pride and joy and the upmost importance,” the obit said.
[Image via Shawnee County mugshot]
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