Father sentenced to life in prison; juror talks about trial
Monday, March 27th 2006, 2:22 PM CST
A Tulsa man convicted of murdering his son with boiling water will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
Carlis Ball was sentenced today. The judge stuck to the jury's reccomendation and handed down the maximum in this case: life without parole.
News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin talked to one of the jurors about what she wishes she never would have seen, and why she decided to send a man away for life.
When Michelle Mauldin reported for jury duty she had no idea how her life would change.
"I didn't expect to be on a murder trial at all," says Mauldin, "and especially that one."
25-year-old Carlis Ball was accused of the worst form of child abuse: the intentional torture of his son that led to the 2-year-old's death.
Sitting through heartbreaking testimony was difficult, seeing the pictures of the toddler's body is a horror she'll never forget.
"You knew it was real," Mauldin recalls. "It wasn't just something on CSI that was a lot of makeup. It was real. His skin was just gone. Over 50% of his body. Even in his ears."
"Never. I've never, ever seen anything like that before, it's horrible."
She carried the trial with her every night.
"That was hard just to come home and say, okay, I'm gonna cook dinner now and I'm just gonna turn that off, well I couldn't. And I couldn't talk about it either."
Through all the evidence, Mauldin says she tried to keep an open mind.
"Because I wanted him to be innocent. In fact, all of us did. That's why it took us four hours to deliberate, we wanted him to be innocent because we wanted to think there was no way that someone could do this to his child."
But in the end, they all came to the same conclusion: it wasn't an accident.
Now more than a month later, Mauldin still can't erase the images from her mind but says seeing pictures of the victim when he was alive and happy bring her comfort.
"I know Keenan's in Heaven," she says. "I know that he is. He's happier now than he's ever been."
Mauldin says she feels pain for Keenan's father too and the fact that soemone so young will never get out of prison.
"Because that is something you cannot take lightly, you really have to be sure, because this is a decision that we will all live with the rest of our lives."
A decision she's confident was the right one.
Mauldin says, "I couldn't have lived with anything else."