A 28-year-old Wilmington man was found guilty this week for the March 14 attempted murder of Jeremy Peters, of Washington C.H., who survived being shot four times.
Following a two-day trial that began Tuesday in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, a jury found Dylan M. Ballein guilty of first-degree felony attempted murder and second-degree felonious assault — both with gun specifications. Ballein is scheduled to be sentenced Monday, Sept. 13 by Judge Steven Beathard.
The maximum prison sentence Ballein can receive is 14 to 19-and-a-half years, according to Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade.
“I haven’t decided yet the number of years we are going to recommend, but it’s going to be a significant prison sentence,” said Weade.
As previously reported, Ballein was first taken into custody after the shooting on March 14 as an uncharged suspect, but was later released.
Around 11 a.m. March 14, authorities were contacted about a shooting that had occurred at 614 N. North St. in Washington Court House. As the individual, later identified as Peters, approached the residence, shots were fired at him from inside the home, according to then-Washington Police Department Chief Brian Hottinger.
After being shot multiple times, Peters departed the area on a bicycle and soon after collapsed in the corner yard at the intersection of Grace Street and an alley that connects Grace to North North Street.
Authorities confirmed that Peters’ estranged girlfriend was at the North North Street residence when he was shot. The estranged girlfriend had filed a protection order against Peters prior to the shooting, according to authorities.
“Still to this day, there was not a truly clear motive for the crime,” Weade said following the trial. “The victim had been in a relationship with (the woman at 614 N. North St.) and during the time of the incident, she was in a relationship with the defendant, according to the defendant. Jeremy Peters came to the home to pick up his kids. He was not supposed to be there, but there is no indication that he was doing anything threatening at all. He was shot as he was approaching the home. There is no evidence that Peters was trying to forcibly enter the home….there isn’t one shred of evidence that he ever touched the door to the residence.”
Ballein shot multiple rounds from a handgun at Peters with no provocation, according to Weade.
“There was no warning from the defendant,” Weade said. “He didn’t say, ‘I’m going to shoot you if you don’t leave the property,’ he didn’t say he was going to call the police. He just started shooting at him. Now, if Peters had been trying to knock the door down, we could have had a justified shooting. But you don’t have the right to shoot someone even if they are on your property if they are not doing anything threatening.”
Ballein was fortunate to survive, Weade said.
“(Peters) nearly died,” he said. “For a person who was shot four times in the center of his body, he’s doing remarkably well. He is back to work right now.”
Both Peters and Ballein testified during the trial.
“Peters has no recollection of the day’s events,” said Weade. “And that is likely due to the trauma that he suffered. His toxicology reports came back clean, so he wasn’t under the influence.”
Ballein is currently being held in the Fayette County Jail until his sentencing.
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.