Courtroom twist, judge rejects plea deal in Montgomery Co. sentencing

MT. STERLING, Ky. (WKYT) - Joseph Julian told investigators it was an accident that resulted in the death of his friend, David Ballard, back in 2012.

Police say Julian was driving a truck and hit Ballard, pinning him against a wall.
Julian pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a well as DUI and driving with a suspended license.

Tuesday, he sat before a judge to hear his punishment for his role in Ballard's death.

But that wouldn't happen.

In a twist that seemed to catch even the defense and prosecution off guard, the judge said she wouldn't accept the plea deal agreed upon in mediation between the two parties.

It wasn't until the David Ballard's mother and wife went before the court to speak that the judge made her decision.
In their remarks, the family of the victim expressed their discontent with the punishment that Julian would face, but added they were also hesitant at the notion of taking the case to trial.

"If you all aren't happy with it. I'm not happy with it," Judge Beth Lewis Maze said to Ballard's family.

Judge Maze pointed out, that by pleading guilty to the charges, Julian was looking at a 6 and a half year sentence, and added that the defendant was already parole eligible for time served.

At one point David Ballard's wife said the detective came to her the night her husband was killed, and said there was no way this was an accident.

The detective was sworn in at the proceeding, and maintained his opinion, saying after looking at the skid marks and processing all the evidence, he thought the defendant should have had ample time to stop the vehicle before making contact with the wall and pinning Ballard.

The case will now go to trial in late October.

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