HARRISVILLE, MI – Prosecutors are hoping once the retrial of an 18-year-old murder case is finished, it will end in a conviction and not a hung jury this time.
It took sixteen years for a person to be arrested for the murder of a Flint woman in Alcona County. In March of 2000, the body of Patricia Lenee Leeper, 39-years-old, was found in an Alcona County ditch near Curran, Michigan. It was determined that she was the victim of a homicide. An autopsy of Leeper determined she had been drowned.
Leeper was a resident of Flint, which is approximately 150 miles south of where her body was found. She frequented the area of Saginaw Street between Carpenter and Pierson Roads in Flint. She was known to be involved in prostitution and suffered from drug addiction. Leeper was often known to family and friends as “Pat” or “Treece”.
DNA evidence that was collected at the scene and from Leeper’s remains were entered into the Michigan combined DNA Index System by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab. At the time that the DNA was submitted there were no known matches.
Over the past 16 years since the homicide, investigators developed several persons of interest and submitted their DNA for comparison on this case; however, none of those persons were a match for the DNA profile of the unknown killer.
That all changed on Monday, April 18th, 2016, when the MSP Crime Lab notified detectives it had a DNA match to a known submitted sample. The DNA hit was for Nathaniel Ballard. He had been arrested on a felony for Operating while Intoxicated. Ballard was convicted of that charge. His DNA was collected at that time and submitted to CODIS.
Based on records from the Michigan Department of Corrections, Nathaniel Ballard has previous convictions for:
- Operating While Intoxicated With Occupant Under 16
- Operating Intoxicated/Impaired/Controlled Substance – 3rd
The case went to trial for the first time in early January of 2018 but ended in a hung jury. A retrial of the murder case was set to take place in March. It was then delayed again and was set to begin in May. Another delay took place and now it is set to start in less than two weeks.