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Murder in Pulteney

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

Wife charged with murder of Pulteney dog warden

PULTENEY – Just after 10 a.m. Oct. 29, State Police responded to a residence on Gloades Corners Road, in the town of Pulteney for a reported shooting and a deceased male, later identified as John L. Ballam, 63, of Brown Road, Pulteney.

Later the same day, Troopers arrested  Ballam’s wife, Sherri A. Ballam, 57, charging her with 2nd-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. Ballam was committed to the Steuben County Jail to await arraignment.

Sherri A. Ballam

Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker told reporters Sherri Ballam allegedly hid the gun and reported that there was a home invasion. State Police Investigators say they did not believe the death was accidental, but that they were “not ruling anything out.”

John and Sherri Ballam are listed as the Dog Control Officer and the Deputy Dog Control Officer on the Town of Pulteney’s Website.

The Wayland Police Department, Cohocton Police Department, Steuben County District Attorney’s Office, and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office are assisting State Police in their investigation.

The investigation into the murder Thursday of a Pulteney man proceeded swiftly because of the active cooperative investigation efforts provided by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, Baker said.

“There was one state police investigator available in Steuben County when the call came in,” Baker told the Steuben County Legislature’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee Monday. “So we were desperate for law enforcement,” Baker told the committee the Steuben department’s response was swift as they set up a perimeter at the site and launched a thorough investigation.

“Thanks to (Sheriff Jim Allard) they have developed that capacity,” Baker said. “They were phenomenal.”  The murder investigation ultimately included 20 state investigators and a full state police Forensic Investigation Unit team, with troopers conducting a thorough early-morning search to find the gun.

“Cooperation is the key here – the sheriff provided invaluable and necessary assistance with the case and manpower, and the two agencies cooperated seamlessly throughout the investigation,” Baker said. “Steuben’s squad was critical to the speedy resolution of the case and removing the threat from the streets.” The sheriff’s department’s presence added immeasurably to the comfort of the area unsettled by the report of a homicide, he added.

Baker said Steuben County Inv. Don Lewis, DA Inv. Noel Terwilliger, and three State Troopers worked together to secure a confession, allegedly made by the victim’s wife.

“It's a state police arrest but the Sheriff's Office came up huge,” Baker said.