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Woman found guilty of murder

Leslie Ballard, 36, was found guilty of felony murder in the 2011 stabbing death of Antoine Hartsfield. (Special photo)

Leslie Ballard, 36, was found guilty of felony murder in the 2011 stabbing death of Antoine Hartsfield. (Special photo)

ALBANY — Leslie Nicole Ballard, 36, has been found guilty in Dougherty Superior Court in the stabbing death of her live-in boyfriend, court officials say.

April Wynne, assistant Dougherty County district attorney, said Ballard was indicted in June 2011 in the slaying of Antoine Hartsfield, then 41, who was murdered with a stainless steel kitchen knife.

In addition to felony murder, Ballard was convicted of aggravated assault, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony and four counts of 3rd degree cruelty to children.

The four children were present during the stabbing, Wynne said, which took place at their home at 326 Cherry Ave., and all four testified during Ballard’s trial.

Wynne said Ballard’s attorney relied on Georgia’s self defense law, which allows potential victims to use deadly force to protect themselves or others from injury, but was unable to demonstrate that situation to the jury.

“They didn’t really claim the battered woman syndrome,” Wynne said, “but they hinted at it. In the end, the jury didn’t buy it.”

Ballard’s defense did contend there had been a history of physical abuse of Ballard and her children, but testimony by the children didn’t support the claim, Wynne said. Officials say Ballard is scheduled for sentencing Monday at 1:30 p.m. before Chief Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette.

Ballard she faces a life sentence for the felony murder conviction, with the possibility of a sentence of life without parole, Wynne said.