RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Travis Ball, the man accused of killing Virginia State Police Special Agent Michael Walter in 2017, was sentenced to serve 36 years on Thursday.
Ball was arraigned on capital murder charges in July 2017.
The sentence handed down on Tuesday was originally for life but it was suspended to 36 years.
“I’m always reluctant to criticize things that judges do because they have tough jobs but I think this sentence was grossly, grossly insufficient,” said Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney, Michael Herring, after the sentencing.
There were questions about whether or not the suspect was going to be sentenced to death, but prosecutors announced last month it wouldn’t be an option.
Travis A. Ball entered an Alford plea to one count of capital murder in September. An Alford plea means that a defendant admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt.
Jennifer Stanton, the Capital Defender for the Southeast Regional Office who represented Ball, told 8News that Ball was relieved after the sentence.
“He’s relieved to have this behind him,” Stanton said. “He’s gonna have to serve ya know 36 years, plus time he’s got on a prior probation violation. He’s not going to be walking the streets anytime soon.”
State police say Ball shot Special Agent Walter during a traffic incident in Mosby Court back in May 2017. Ball fled the scene and was arrested after an overnight manhunt.
Beloved by many, Special Agent Walter was a mentor and coach to young children.
Walter even helped open a gym in Powhatan County almost 10 years ago.
“He didn’t just raise wrestlers and athletes,” said a friend of Walter’s, Richard Fitzsimmons, who helped open the gym nearly a decade ago. “He created a family.”
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.