John Robert Ballard leaves state prison
RAIFORD, Fla. (AP) -- John Robert Ballard was out of prison Saturday, two days after the state Supreme Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him of killing two friends.
Ballard left Union Correctional Institution in Raiford around midnight Saturday with a family member, said Robby Cunningham, spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.
Ballard had been expected to be released Friday afternoon and reportedly had a bus ticket home. But he remained in the state prison hours after prison officials said he was free to go on Friday as he waited for his ride.
Ballard, 37, had served nearly three years for the 1999 murders of Jennifer Jones and Willie Ray Patin Jr. at their Collier County apartment, even though there was little to connect him to the slayings of his friends.
The Supreme Court ordered Ballard acquitted Thursday, overruling a jury's verdict, and saying there wasn't sufficient proof.
Ballard's conviction had been based almost entirely on the discovery of one fingerprint and arm hair being found in the victims' apartment - a place he had visited numerous times.