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Saranac Lake police officers help Angela Ball out of a police car on her way into the Harrietstown Town Hall courtroom for arraignment on a second-degree murder charge Monday night in Saranac Lake. Photo: Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Saranac Lake police officers help Angela Ball out of a police car on her way into the Harrietstown Town Hall courtroom for arraignment on a second-degree murder charge Monday night in Saranac Lake. Photo: Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Woman charged in Saranac Lake murder

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Authorities are continuing to probe Saranac Lake's first murder case in nine years. The body of Ward Wilbur of Lake Placid was found by police inside an apartment building in a residential neighborhood of the village Monday morning.

Police say he had been beaten and stabbed by his former girlfriend, who's been charged with second degree murder. New information in the case was released yesterday, but many questions, including what sparked the alleged attack, have yet to be answered.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Wilbur, 65, was found dead in a ground floor apartment at 19 Morris Way by village police Chief Bruce Nason and two of his officers just after 11 a.m. Monday.

Twenty-nine year-old Angela Ball was still at the scene when police responded. Nason said yesterday she was the one who called 911 to report Wilbur’s death, but not immediately,

“There was some time that transpired between when we believe it occurred and when we were notified. (It) Could be upwards of an hour or more.”

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said Wilbur died of blunt-force trauma and stab wounds.  “I think the injuries were catastrophic at or around the time they were inflicted,” Champagne said.

Police have since recovered a baseball bat and a knife from the apartment.

Ball was arraigned late Monday night on a charge of second-degree murder. While police aren’t detailing a possible motive, Ball claimed during and after the court proceedings that Wilbur had attacked her. "I was attacked by Ward several times mentally, physically, spiritually," she said. "He tried to steal my soul."

Neither the police chief nor the prosecutor would comment on Ball’s claim that she was attacked.

Authorities revealed yesterday that Wilbur and Ball had been romantically involved before they broke up about a year ago, but they aren’t saying if there was any history of domestic violence between the two.

This is the first murder case in Saranac Lake since 2004. Nason said all 12 of his department’s officers are involved in the investigation and have called in state police for assistance. “It is an extensive investigation that is continuing, and they’re working very diligently,” he said. “Many hours are being spent on this.”

Ball is in the Franklin County Jail in Malone on no bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.

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