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West Virginia Man with Alcohol on His Breath Shot Mother-in-Law in the Head, Said He Messed Up: Deputies

Zachary Curtis Ball via the Logan County Sheriff's Office

Zachary Curtis Ball via the Logan County Sheriff’s Office

A 22-year-old man in West Virginia is behind bars this week after he allegedly fatally shot his 42-year-old mother-in-law in the head and later confessed to the deed.

Zachary Curtis Ball was taken into custody on Sunday and charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of Lamanda Lynn Vance, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a report from Charleston ABC affiliate WCHS-TV, deputies with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 responded to a report about an active shooter at a residence located in the 1200 block of Huffman Branch Road in Pecks Mill. While en route to the address, the office’s 911 call center identified the suspect as Ball, saying he had “ran from the scene towards the main road,” a criminal complaint obtained by the station reportedly said.

Upon arriving at the scene, the deputy reportedly spoke to a witness who said that the suspected shooter had run across the street towards a set of railroad tracks.

“As soon as we arrived at the mouth of the hollow, we met with a subject that said that he was possibly going down the railroad tracks,” Deputy Timothy Johnson said, according to a report from Hazard, Kentucky CBS affiliate WYMT-TV.

Additional officers arrived at the home and searched the area across the street where they reportedly found Ball. He was hiding inside of a culvert and was arrested without incident, per the report.

“The complaint said the deputy could detect the odor of alcohol coming from the defendant and the suspect kept saying that he had messed up and shot her,” the report states. “Vance was found laying on the porch dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.”

Deputies interviewed Ball’s wife — who is also the victim’s daughter — and she reportedly said that “Ball had shot her mother and then walked away from the scene carrying the gun with him.”

Investigators on Sunday reportedly used metal detectors to search the area where Ball was allegedly found hiding in the culvert in an effort to locate the alleged murder weapon, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Deputy Johnson reportedly said that they were able to locate a magazine, however.

“The foliage is not in the best interest for trying to find an item that is black in color or suspected to be black in color,” he reportedly told the station. “So that’s making the search extremely hard.”

Authorities have released any details about a possible motive as of Monday afternoon, reportedly describing the attack as “a domestic situation that went south.”

Ball is currently being detained in the Southwestern Regional Jail.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to multiple messages from Law&Crime seeking additional details in the investigation.

[image via Logan County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.