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Kyle Johnson

April 9, 2020 - 8:56am

The Genesee County District Attorney’s Office and the family of murder victim Norman D. “Don” Ball vehemently oppose an application that would permit Kyle Johnson to be moved from a secure mental health facility in Orange County to a non-secure facility.120mug_kylejohnson_1.jpg

Johnson (photo at right), in December of 2016, was committed to the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center in New Hampton after being found not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect of murder.

It was a year earlier, on Dec. 1, 2015, when Johnson shot the 69-year-old Ball to death while he was sleeping at his Selden Road, Le Roy residence.

Johnson then returned to his own home, set it on fire and then fired shots at a Le Roy fire chief and Le Roy police officer when they responded to the fire alarm. Following an hours-long standoff -- during which Johnson reportedly asked officers to shoot him and threatened officers with a rifle in his arms – the perpetrator surrendered peacefully to authorities.

These actions led District Attorney Lawrence Friedman to file an eight-count indictment against Johnson that included charges of murder, burglary, arson and attempted murder.

In the end, Johnson was evaluated by a pair of psychologists – one hired by the prosecution and the other hired by the defense – and it was determined that he was not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect.

Tentative court date set for April 29

Three years and four months later, officials at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center are petitioning Orange County Supreme Court to allow Johnson to be transferred to a non-secure facility. A tentative date of April 29 has been set by the court to ensure the matter stays on the court’s calendar.

Assistant District Attorney Diane LaVallee, who has been assigned to the case, on Tuesday said the Genesee County DA’s office is against the proposed transfer considering the severity of the crimes committed and the timing of such a move.

“For someone to go from, so obviously, terribly dangerously mentally ill to not being dangerously mentally ill after three years of services … this is hard to believe,” LaVallee said. “I think that everyone expected that this was going to happen someday but no one, including Mr. Friedman, would have ever believed that it would be this quickly. It’s very, very soon.”

LaVallee, with 35 years’ experience as a prosecutor, joined the Genesee County DA’s office recently. She previously served as deputy chief of Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit of the NYS Attorney General’s Office and, before that, chief of the Attorney General’s Capital Assistance to Prosecutors Unit.

She said her office is taking all steps necessary to ensure that Johnson, who was 53 at the time of the murder, stays in a secure mental health facility.

DA's office to seek psychiatric exam

“The DA’s office can be a party to this even though this is a civil proceeding, but we obviously are an interested party, so we have given our notice of appearance and expressed our opposition to such a transfer at this time,” she said. “We’ve been actively going through the process of getting another psychiatrist to conduct an examination of him and we have received the (confidential) medical records.”

LaVallee added that Genesee Justice has drafted a letter seeking information about Johnson’s mental state that would be helpful to the court in deciding whether or not Johnson remains dangerously mentally ill. Those interested in responding to this call for information are asked to contact Rosanne DeMare at Genesee Justice, LaVallee said.

“What we’re looking for is information that would be relevant to whether he currently suffers from a dangerous mental illness,” LaVallee explained. “Relevant information would include information that people might have relating to statements that he may have made about his mental illness or his current capacity.”

Continuing, she said that sometimes patients in these facilities will still correspond with individuals (from the area where the crimes were committed).

“Just as importantly, the horrendous incident itself isn’t that long ago," she said. "So, one of the arguments we expect to make … is that it’s just too soon. The brutal murder of one individual and shooting at other responders at the scene; by nature, you’re not going to be cured of your dangerousness within this short a period of time.”

Victim's son says system is partly to blame

Ball’s son, Ryan, 41, on Wednesday said he is “completely against” a possible transfer and said the system failed society by not locking Johnson up prior to the murder.

“It’s unprecedented how fast this is happening. It’s not even the norm that somebody would be set free or healed in that amount of time,” Ryan said. “I think it’s a danger to society to allow that. And the whole reason that he did this in the first place is because he was not put away after doing several things. He should have been put away before this ever happened.”

Ryan said that Johnson’s history includes holding his own family at gunpoint and “nothing was done about it.”

“He (Johnson) is notorious for not taking his medication,” he said. “I don’t like the fact that he got away on a not guilty by reason of insanity; I do not agree with that. It would have been an uphill battle from what doctors were saying (that Johnson was mentally ill). Sane or not, you know right from wrong. You should be able to be prosecuted.”

Ryan also said he believes the proposed transfer has more to do with a lack of bed space at facilities such as the one in Orange County.

“While I’m glad they’re (the DA’s office) going to battle to keep him in there, I don’t believe it has anything to do with him being healed or any saner, but more about not having enough facilities to handle people,” he said. “That’s my personal opinion.”

Ryan lives with his wife and children on the Selden Road property in a new home that he built (after tearing down the old one). He has three sisters, Cherie (Craig) Wessel of Le Roy, Jeanette Keating of Spencerport and Shawna (Ken) Geil of Spencerport.

'Too soon and a lack of bed space'

His mother, Carol Rider, and her husband, John, said Friedman assured them at the time of the verdict that Johnson “wouldn’t see the light of day for many, many years.” This new development, however, has them worried.

“It has only been three years," Carol said. "They’re going to have a hearing to put him in a minimum-security facility and the next step after that is ‘good-bye.’ And that’s mostly because of lack of bed space.” 

“We feel the community needs to know what is going on and have a chance to give their input,” John added.

LaVallee said she wasn’t sure where Johnson would end up should the court rule in his favor to be transferred, but it could be the Rochester Psychiatric Center.

“Hypothetically, someone admitted to a less secure facility would be put into a lockdown unit with certain conditions put on him,” she said. “As he shows his ability to be not dangerous or (ability to be) compliant, then he’ll be given more freedom but also with more conditions. Eventually, yes, the goal is that he’s back in society.”

She said that some people can be rehabilitated and not be a threat to society, but “we don’t want to create a vigilante-type of atmosphere either.”

“He (Johnson) has got to be able to live safely wherever he ends up living,” she said. “This, hopefully, will be years and years down the line, but whenever it happens we want to weigh the understandable grief and outrage of the victim’s family with his own safety as well.”

An administrator at the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center said “probably not” when asked if someone would be available to comment on the facility’s petition to the court, mentioned a media contact and then hung up the phone.

December 19, 2016 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, Le Roy, news, crime.
      Kyle Johnson

After completing mental health evaluations, two doctors have found that Kyle G. Johson, who killed a neighbor and then set his own house afire on Selden Road in Le Roy on Dec. 1, 2015, is a present danger to himself or others because of a psychological disease or disorder.

Based on the medical reports, Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka this morning confirmed the finding and ruled that Johnson has a dangerous disturbance of his behavior, thinking, feeling or judgment.

In August, Johnson was confined to the mental hospital in Rochester and ordered to undergo care, counseling and rehabilitation. This morning, Pietruszka confirmed the sentence and ordered him held until he is found to no longer be a danger or mentally disturbed, if indeed he is ever deemed mentally healthy again.

The morning of Dec. 1, 2015, Johnson walked to a neighbor's house, entered through an unlocked door and went into the bedroom of Norman Ball and shot him in the head while he slept.

Johnson then returned to his residence and set it on fire. 

When firefighters and a police officer arrived at the fire, Johnson tried to shoot them.

After a several-hour stand-off that involved emergency response teams from Genesee and Monroe counties as well as law enforcement officers from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, Le Roy PD and Monroe County, Johnson was taken into custody without any further violence.

For prior coverage about Kyle Johnson, click here.

August 1, 2016 - 10:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy, news.


NOTE: This story is a complete version of the breaking news item we posted earlier today.

The Le Roy resident charged with murder in the shooting death of Norman "Don" Ball during the early morning of Dec. 1 entered a plea in Genesee County Court this afternoon of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka that two psychologists examined the 53-year-old defendant, Kyle G. Johnson, and both found that Johnson is dangerously mentally ill. One expert was hired by the defense and one by the prosecution. If the case had gone to trial, both would have testified about Johnson's mental condition.

Defense Attorney Jerry Ader told Pietruszka that at trial he would mount what is called an "affirmative defense" that his client was affected by mental illness that time the crime was committed. With the prosecution's own expert witness agreeing with the diagnoses, Friedman said the people would accept the plea.

Johnson was facing an eight-count indictment that included charges of murder, burglary, arson and attempted murder. Johnson the suspect in the shooting death of Ball, accused of entering his Selden Road neighbor's home and shooting him in the head while he slept, and then returning to his own residence and setting it on fire and then firing a Le Roy fire chief and a Le Roy police officer when they responded to the fire alarm.

There was then an hours-long stand-off with Johnson while he wandered around the area of his burning home, reportedly asking officers to shoot him, and a couple of moving times toward officers with his rifle cradled in his arms.  Emergency response teams, with armored vehicles,  from Genesee County and Monroe County swarmed the scene and Johnson, surrounded, eventually agreed to peacefully surrender to authorities.

After accepting Johnson's plea, Pietruszka ordered Johnson transferred to a state-run, secure mental health facility where he must undergo further evaluation to confirm the diagnoses. He will be evaluated either by two psychologists or a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The results of those exams will determine whether Johnson remains in a secure mental health facility or is moved to an in-patient facility or released. That decision will be based on whether he is found dangerously mentally ill, mentally ill or not mentally ill.

"We fully expect they will find him dangerously mentally ill," Friedman said.

In court, Friedman said that Johnson's mental health history, stretching back 11 years, was 400 pages long. He did not reveal what sort of mental health issues that Johnson may have been treated for, or if any of that record indicated anything about being a threat to himself or others.

Today's plea ends all further criminal prosecution of Johnson these charges, Friedman said, even if at some later date -- next week, next month, next year, or years from now -- he is deemed mentally healthy enough to return to society.

Pietruszka asked Johnson during the hearing if he understood that his plea could mean he would spend the rest of his life in a mental institution, and Johnson said yes.

Throughout all of Pietruszka's questions, Johnson made no statement beyond answering yes or no.

Friedman said with the plea, it's quite possible that Johnson will spend more time in confinement than if he had gone to trial, been found guilty and sentenced to prison.

Johnson will be taken to the Rochester Psychiatric Center and held there while undergoing exams. The staff has 30 days to complete a report, but a 30-day extension could be requested. Pietruszka did not want to schedule Johnson's next court appearance until the report is completed.

If the case had gone to trial, Johnson would face multiple ranges of potential prison terms, including a max of 40 years to life.

Outside of court, the children of Don Ball were not entirely happy with Johnson's plea and the fact that he will avoid prison, as well as a belief that the system failed by allowing Johnson to be free, and own a weapon, even before Dec. 1.

"We're not very happy that he's not going to be incarcerated, but we will all work very hard to ensure things like this don't happen again, where somebody like this is let out of a secure facility and then be able to be unsupervised in society," said Ryan Ball, standing with his sister Cherie Wesser, Shawan Gell. Jeanette Keating,

Ball also said he saw some benefit to Johnson receiving mental health treatment. He just doesn't trust that Johnson won't be released at some point.

"He needs help like that," Ball said. "He needs to be in a secure place. He's a dangerous person and he has been in and out for the past 11 years. Even though that has happened, he was let out by those people. Now he's in another secure facility. What are the chances that he will be let out again? It's as if they waited for something to happen. Now that something did happen, they're saying, 'well, maybe, he will be in for the rest of his life.' That's very upsetting."

Keating questioned whether the government is really doing a good enough job protecting the public from dangerously mentally ill people. 

"If there were better policies and procedures in place for the mentally ill, then maybe our dad would still be here," Keating said. "The revolving door is upsetting -- to see somebody released, still having a mental defect, with just the hope that they will continue with their medication when there is no supervision."

Asked if they were concerned that Johnson had been able to obtain a firearm, Keating said, "absolutely."

"That was one of our first questions," she said. "How is it that he had a firearm?"

Ask if he felt the judicial system had let the Ball family down, Ryan didn't go that far.

"It's a failure at some point," Ball said. "I'm not sure what that point is, but I'm going to work hard to find out exactly where this failed. This guy has been known to be a dangerous and mentally ill person for a long time."

Friedman also seems to express some doubts about how Johnson obtained a firearm and was not better supervised.

"This (Johnson obtaining a firearm) is a very big concern, obviously," Friedman said. "Unfortunately, that is something that was not prevented in this case. We can talk about the possible failings of the system in the past that this happened, but this is just a tragedy."

August 1, 2016 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, news, Kyle Johnson.

The Le Roy resident charged with murder in the shooting death of Norman Ball during the early morning of Dec. 1 has entered a not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka that two psychologists examined defendant Kyle Johnson and both found that Johnson was not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. One expert was hired by the defense and one by the prosecution, and if the case had gone to trial, both would have testified about Johnson's mental condition.

Johnson was facing an eight-count indictment that included charges of murder, burglary, arson and attempted murder.

After accepting Johnson's plea, Pietruszka ordered Johnson transferred to a state-run, secure mental health facility where he must undergo further evaluation to confirm the diagnoses.

If the case had gone to trial, Johnson would face multiple ranges of potential prison terms, including a max of 40 years to life.

UPDATE: The final version of the story can be found by clicking here.

May 25, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, selden road, Le Roy, crime, news.

Statements attributed to Kyle Johnson after he was taken into custody the morning of Dec. 1, after he allegedly shot and killed a neighbor and set his own home ablaze, will be admissible in court, Acting Judge Michael F. Pietruszka ruled today.

The defense challenged whether the prosecution could use the statements at a possible trial and Pietruszka issued his ruling immediately after a hearing that featured testimony by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Hale completed a report Dec. 1 in which he says Johnson made a handful of statements when he was taken into custody, in the patrol car ride to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road and as they arrived in the interview room at the office.

Hale testified that he was on routine patrol duty when he was called to a house fire at 7324 Selden Road, Le Roy. He was in uniform in a marked patrol car.  He was aware of a shooting reported minutes before at a residence a short distance from the fire location.

He said he was also informed by dispatch that the residence was owned by Kyle Johnson, that Johnson had a mental health history and was known to own firearms.

He arrived on scene just as shots rang out, apparently directed at a Le Roy fire chief and at a Le Roy police officer.

As he ran down the road to check the status of Officer Ryan Young, now a Sheriff's deputy, and as he did, he encountered local residents standing outside their home. They asked what was going on and Hale told them to get inside, lock their doors and windows and stay there until told it was safe to come outside.

As he moved toward Young's position, Hale encountered Johnson, he said.

"Mr. Johnson stated to me that he wanted to be shot," Hale said. "After he realized I was not going to shoot him, he turned around and walked back toward his house."

Over the next couple of hours, Johnson would periodically approach Hale and ask him to shoot him.

When emergency response teams arrived, this back-and-forth continued for a couple of more hours until Johnson finally surrendered.

Hale was summoned to search and cuff the suspect. When he was putting Johnson in his patrol vehicle, Johnson reportedly complained that the cuffs were too tight.

When Hale sat in the driver's seat, Johnson reportedly said, he "didn't appreciate being treated like an animal."

Hale said, "I told him I appreciate being shot at and having my friends shot at."

Johnson, Hale said, apologized.

On the ride back to the Sheriff's Office, Johnson reportedly said, "I didn't mean to hurt anybody."

Hale said he responded, "You did. It's traumatic for us as officers. You shouldn't have done that."

At the station, Hale offered Johnson a glass of water and asked if he needed anything.

Johnson's response, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, was that he felt bad for burning his house down and that he shouldn't have done that and he wanted to apologize.

In cross-examination, Public Defender Jerry Ader established that Hale did not read Johnson his Miranda warnings (you have the right not to speak, right to an attorney, etc.), that Hale did this though he knew Johnson had a mental health history, and that Hale asked a couple of questions of Johnson.

Those facts were the basis for Ader's motion to bar the statements from any possible trial.

Friedman countered that Johnson was not in custody at that point for the purpose of interrogation, and any questions asked by Hale were not an interrogation, such as asking if Johnson wanted water, that the statements were made voluntarily and should be admissible.

Johnson is charged with murder and burglary in the death of Norman D. "Don" Ball. He is accused of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Young and Le Roy Fire Chief Tim Hogle.

Ader has received a report based on a psychological exam of Johnson and is apparently planning a defense around the results of that report, and while the report has been given to Friedman, a copy was not given to the court. Ader said he wasn't aware of any requirement that he provide the court with a copy. Pietruszka was clearly miffed that he didn't have a copy of the report, especially since there will need to be a hearing on the topic after the DA's Office completes its own exam and gets its own report.

That hearing will be at 1:30 p.m., July 21.

April 15, 2016 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.
    Kyle Johnson

The man accused of murdering a neighbor on Selden Road, Le Roy, the morning of Dec. 1, received a psychological exam earlier this week, according to his attorney, but the results of that exam have not yet been made available to the defense.

The report will help Public Defender Jerry Ader determine how he will proceed with the case, he told President Judge Michael F. Pietruszka.

Ader may ask for a hearing to determine if Kyle G. Johnson suffers from a mental defect or impairment.

Johnson is accused of killing Norman D. "Don" Ball, of setting his own house on fire, and of attempting to kill a police officer and firefighter.

The 53-year-old defendant was arrested near his property on Selden Road after a lengthy standoff with police, including emergency response teams, while his house burned to the ground.

It will take at least two weeks for the written report to become available, at which time, Ader will provide a copy to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman. 

At some point after the report is available, there will be a hearing on several issues related to the case. Whether that includes a hearing on Johnson's mental state will be determined by Ader, but Friedman said he expects Ader will seek a hearing on several evidentiary issues, including a photo lineup used with a witness, oral statements made in connection with the case, a video interview, and numerous statements made to corrections officers in the Genesee County Jail.

Typically, pre-trial hearings last about an hour, but Friedman said he expects this hearing will last substantially longer, but less than a full day.

For previous coverage on Kyle Johnson, click here.

December 16, 2015 - 11:09pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, crime, Ryan Young, Kyle Johnson.


Le Roy Police Officer Ryan Young, left, is pictured Wednesday with Village Police Chief Christopher Hayward.

Le Roy Police Officer Ryan Young was honored by his department Wednesday, for his actions at the scene of a house fire and armed standoff Dec. 1 on Selden Road.

Village Police Chief Christopher Hayward presented Young with a Distinguished Service Award and accompanying bar during Wednesday’s Village Board meeting.

Kyle G. Johnson, 53, has been charged with murder in the shooting death of John Ball, 69. Johnson is accused of then setting his own house on fire, and firing a shotgun in the direction of responding firefighters and police officers.

None of that was clear when Young and Hayward arrived to back up Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies at the scene of the shooting shortly after 4 a.m. at Ball’s home at 7421 Selden Road.

The fire at Johnson’s house was reported minutes later. Genesee County deputies approved Young’s request to provide backup at the fire.

“I just had a feeling on my way from the homicide scene to the fire that it was too close to be a coincidence,” said Young, 27, a part-time village officer for three years.

“That’s when dispatch sent out the warning and kind of confirmed my suspicions,” he said.

Hayward continued the narrative, in a letter of commendation addressed to Young.

He said Young stopped just east of the fire scene and got out of his vehicle. Three Le Roy Fire Department vehicles passed Young on their way to the fire.

“You observed the silhouette of a person walk from the brush and point a long gun in (firefighters’) direction and fire two to three times,” Hayward said.

Firefighters quickly left the scene. As Young took cover he heard two shots being fired in his direction, and saw something pass over his left shoulder, Hayward said.

After the gunfire became a standoff, Young established a perimeter and directed residents of the neighboring home to take shelter in their basement, Hayward said.

“For the next three and a half hours you used different positions of cover — always in harm’s way — and continually called in the suspect’s location to other units at the scene,” Hayward said.

“Eventually the suspect was taken into custody,” he continued. “But I attribute the successful outcome to you and the exceptional actions you took after being fired upon.”

Johnson was arrested at 7:55 a.m. by members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. 

He entered not guilty pleas to murder, burglary, arson and attempted murder during an arraignment Tuesday in County Court. He remains in jail without bail.

Hayward also read a letter from county Sheriff Gary Maha, offering “thanks and appreciation” for Ryan’s help and for the assistance of the village police department.

“This is another fine example of cooperation and collaboration between our two agencies,” Maha wrote.

Hayward said the incident is a reminder of the hazards law enforcement officers face every working day. 

“We don’t walk out the door with a lunch pail,” Hayward said. “We walk out the door with body armor and a gun.

“I bristle when people tell me, ‘It can’t happen here,’ ” he added. “Well, it can happen here, it did happen here, and unfortunately with the society we live in today, it certainly can happen again.”

December 15, 2015 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.

Cindy Ball wants justice for her dead brother-in-law and his family, and that's the goal of the prosecution, said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman outside of County Court this afternoon, where Kyle G. Johson entered not guilty pleas to the murder, burglary, arson and attempted murder charges he faces.

Ball, who is married to the brother of Norman D. "Don" Ball, the man Johnson allegedly shot in the head while he slept in his bed in his Selden Road home, cried after the not-guilty plea and cried outside the courtroom.

"He (Don Ball) had four beautiful grandchildren and this man came in his house in the middle of the night and shot him," Cindy Ball said. "It's just wrong. It's so wrong. My brother-in-law had an open door policy. He helped everybody. I've known him since I was 15. I'm just totally broken and he pleads not guilty. There's proof."

There's also due process and defense attorneys are charged with ensuring the prosecution has a solid case, either through a plea bargain process or by taking the case to trial. It's every defendant's right.

"Basically, everyone pleads not guilty at arraignment," Friedman said. "That's they way it goes. Whether there would be a guilty plea, in any case, it normally doesn't happen at the time of arraignment on an indictment."

Johnson was indicted last week by a Grand Jury of Genesee County on the eight counts that include murder in the second degree. The charges stem from events on Selden Road, Le Roy, on the morning of Dec. 1, when Johnson allegedly entered the home of Don Ball through an unlocked back door, entered his bedroom and shot him. He then allegedly went back to his own house on Selden Road and set it on fire. When a Le Roy fire chief and police officer arrived on scene, Johnson allegedly fired his shotgun at them.

Friedman said his goal for the family is to "seek justice."

At this point, Johnson will continue his stay in jail without bail while his defense attorney, Public Defender Jerry Ader, prepares pre-trial motions, which Friedman will then answer, and then both attorneys and Johnson will appear in court at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 23 to argue those motions.

There may be an appearance in court by Johnson Dec. 21 on a request by Friedman to get a DNA sample from Johnson, but Ader may not contest that request, in which case there will be no appearance Dec. 21.

Johnson shuffled into court in the jail's orange jumpsuit, shackled by chains, his head down and disheveled, and said little during the short arraignment, except to acknowledge his name, agree to continue with Ader as his attorney and enter his not guilty plea.

December 10, 2015 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Grand Jury, Kyle Johnson.
    Kyle Johnson

In addition to the murder, burglary and arson charges Kyle G. Johnson is facing following his arrest Dec. 1 in the shooting death on Selden Road, Le Roy, of Norman D. "Don" Ball, the defendant has been indicted by the Grand Jury on two counts of attempted murder.

Johnson is accused of attmepting to kill Le Roy Police Officer Ryan Young and Le Roy Fire Chief Tim Hogle when they arrived at his residence on Selden Road for the report of a house fire at 4:15 a.m.

Johnson, who is being held in the Genesee County Jail without bail, was originally arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment for allegedly firing his shotgun at the two men.

The eight-count indictment against Johnson begins with the murder in the second degree counts for the shooting death of Ball. Johnson allegedly entered Ball's home through an unlocked back door at 3:350 a.m., Dec. 1, went into his bedroom and shot Ball in the head while he slept. 

Johnson then allegedly returned to his residence and set his house on fire.

The counts against Johnson are:

  • Murder in the second degree, a Class A-1 violent felony, for the alleged murder of Ball;
  • Murder in the second degree, a Class A-1 violent felony, for allegedly entering Ball's house (burglary) and shooting him; 
  • Arson in the third degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly starting a fire at 7324 Seldon Road;
  • Burglary in the first degree, a Class B felony, for allegedly entering 7421 Selden Road, the home of Ball, with the intent to cause physical injury to another person;
  • Burglary in the first degree, a Class B felony, for allegedly entering the residence of Ball with the intent to use a dangerous instrument;
  • Attempted aggravated murder, a Class A-2 felony, for allegedly intending to cause the death of another person, to wit, officer Ryan Young, while knowing or should have reasonably known, Young was a police officer;
  • Attempted aggravated murder, a Class A-2 felony, for allegedly intending to cause the death of another person, to wit, Timothy Hogle, while knowing or should have reasonably known Hogle was a first responder responding to an emergency call.

For previous coverage, click here.

Also indicted by this Grand Jury:

Marcus C. Kazmierczak, is indicted on counts of felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Kazmierczak is accused of driving drunk July 11, in the Town of Darien, while having a prior DWI conviction within the previous 10 years.

December 5, 2015 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.


Norman D. "Don" Ball, a Vietnam Veteran who was shot and killed early Tuesday morning while he slept in his bed, was buried in the cemetery in Stafford today following a service at the Falcone Funeral Home in Le Roy.

Ball's neighbor on Selden Road, Le Roy, Kyle Johnson, is being held on a charge of second-degree murder.

Johnson is also charged with arson for allegedly setting his own house on fire shortly after the shooting, at 3:50 a.m., and with reckless endangerment for allegedly firing at firefighters and a police officer when they arrived at the blaze.

For previous coverage, click here.


December 4, 2015 - 12:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.
    Kyle Johnson

A court appearance for Kyle Johnson, charged with murder in the death of Le Roy resident Norman D. "Don" Ball, has been postponed until January, at the request of his defense attorney.

Johnson was scheduled to appear in Town of Le Roy Court at 2 p.m.

Johnson is accused of entering the residence of Ball at 3:50 a.m., Tuesday, and shooting Ball in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun while Ball slept. Johnson then allegedly walked back to his own house on Selden Road and set it on fire. He allegedly shot at firefighters and a police officer when they arrived on scene at the fire at 4:15 a.m.

There was then a four-hour standoff with local law enforcement before Johnson surrendered.

He is charged with murder in the second degree, arson and reckless endangerment.

For prior coverage, click here.

December 3, 2015 - 3:14pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Norman 'Don' Ball, Le Roy, crime, Kyle Johnson.
Norman Don Ball
Photo provided by a family member

Words come easily to those who knew the late Norman D. “Don” Ball.

He was a great and generous friend, they say.

A true family man.

The kind of person who’d give the shirt off his back to a stranger in need.

“Not just his shirt,” said Ron Townsend, 67, a cousin and lifelong friend. “He’d give you his shoes and walk around barefoot.

“The man had a heart as big as the world,” Townsend said. “He’d help anybody.”

The words are easy to find.

What is impossible, Townsend said, is finding any sense in the tragedy that unfolded on Tuesday. Ball, 69, was shot and killed early that morning while he slept at his home on Selden Road in Le Roy.

A neighbor, Kyle Johnson, was charged with murder after an hours-long armed standoff with police.

The suspect, Townsend said, is among the countless number of people indebted to Ball.

It was at least a decade ago, Townsend said, that he was renting a room at Ball’s home, while also working at his construction business.

Johnson, who was married at the time, had trees that needed cutting but no money to pay for the work.

Townsend said Ball called him one winter day, and asked him to help Johnson out.

“Donnie called and asked me to take a chainsaw and cut the trees down,” Townsend said. “We didn’t know what to do with all the wood, so we brought it back and cut it into firewood.

“Shortly after that we had a snowstorm, and Donnie sent me down to plow (Johnson’s) driveway,” Townsend continued. “He didn’t have any money at the time, so his wife made Christmas cookies and we brought them over to Don’s house.”

Townsend said he felt sickened on Tuesday, as he watched television coverage of events on Selden Road.

“I just couldn’t believe it was happening,” Townsend said. “I just don’t get it.”

Tuesday was also difficult for Richard Gross, who got to know Ball when he rented his Selden Road apartment about eight years ago.

“We became real good buddies, doing all kinds of things together,” Gross said. 

Gross, 52, rented from Ball for a couple of years and now lives in Wyoming. He said he’d visit Ball whenever he had a chance, most recently about a month ago.

“He was always making jokes, always smiling,” Gross said. “It took a whole lot to upset him.”

Ball was a businessman and an Air Force veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He also owned a mobile home park in the Town of Bergen.

“He was a true family man,” Gross said. “He really loved his family, I can tell you that.” 

And his friends.

Gross remembered wanting to buy a Ford diesel truck. He couldn’t afford one at the time.

“Donnie knew I didn’t have the cash right at the moment, but he knew I wanted the truck,” Gross said. “The next thing I know, he goes and buys it for me.

“Is that a friend or what?”

Gross eventually paid Ball for the truck. He’ll never forgot the gesture of kindness.

Which left him feeling at a loss this week.

“I can’t believe somebody would do something like that to Donnie,” Gross said. “The guy did nothing but good for people.

“He didn’t deserve this,” he said. “That’s for damn sure.”

December 2, 2015 - 9:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, Le Roy, crime.

Services have been announced for Norman D. "Don" Ball, 69, who was shot and killed early Tuesday morning while he slept in his bed at his residence on Selden Road, Le Roy.

A neighbor, Kyle Johnson, has been charged with murder in the second degree.

The Falcone Funeral & Cremation Service in Le Roy is handling arrangments for the Ball family. Calling hours are from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, 8700 Lake Road, Le Roy. Funeral services are at noon, with interment to follow at Stafford Rural Cemetery.

Ball, a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Air Force, will receive military honors.

For the complete obituary, click here.


December 1, 2015 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Kyle Johnson.



Norman Don Ball
Photo provided by a family member

Kyle G. Johnson, 53, of 7324 Selden Road, Le Roy, has been charged with murder in the second degree in the shooting death this morning of Norman Don Ball, 69, of 7421 Selden Road, Le Roy.

Johnson is also charged with first-degree burglary, third-degree arson, and reckless endangerment. Additional charges are pending.

Johnson is accused of entering the home of Ball through an unlocked rear door at about 3:50 a.m., going upstairs, asking a roommate if Ball was home, and then going back downstairs, entering Ball's bedroom, where Ball was sleeping, and shooting him in the head with a 12-guage shotgun.

Johnson then fled on foot, according to the Sheriff's Office, and returned to his house, which he then allegedly set on fire through unknown means.

The roommate reported hearing a pop, went downstairs and found Ball in his bed with a gunshot wound to his head. The roommate then went next door, where Mr. Ball's son lived, and informed him of the shooting, and the son called 9-1-1.

The first deputy arrived on scene at 4:02 a.m., followed by a Village of Le Roy police officer at 4:06 a.m.

At 4:15 a.m., dispatchers received a call from another Selden Road resident who reported a structure fire at 7324 Selden Road.

Le Roy fire was dispatched and a chief and village officer arrived on scene. The suspect fired his shotgun in their direction, according to the Sheriff's Office statement. 

No firefighters or officers were injured as a result of these shots.

Numerous deputies and troopers then arrived on scene and the suspect was contained within the general area around his house.

The Batavia PD emergency response team then arrived on scene and kept the suspect contained to the immediate vicinity. 

The suspect reportedly paced back and forth around his house and out onto the roadway and ignored numerous commands to drop his weapon.

The SWAT team of the Monroe County Sheriff Office arrived on scene and provided further assistance with its armored vehicles. 

The vehicles were used to confront Johnson, but Johnson allegedly failed to comply with commands to drop his weapon and surrender. 

"He would charge the armored vehicle and then back off," according to the statement. 

At approximately 7:55 a.m., Johnson placed his weapon on the ground and he was rushed by members of the SWAT team and taken into custody.

There was a press conference at the Sheriff's Office this afternoon and we will have an additional story on today's event later.

Photos of Johnson being escorted from his arraignment in Le Roy by Ray Coniglio.




December 1, 2015 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, fire, Le Roy, Kyle Johnson.
Based on information obtained from sources, we believe the suspect is in this photo, standing near the front of the Sheriff's patrol vehicle with the lights on. The photo was taken at 7:09 a.m. with a 300mm lens and has been enlarged substantially for publication. We were told the suspect wandered around the area of the roadway and his home while officers tried to talk him into surrendering. Shortly after this photo was taken, SWAT teams arrived. The suspect surrendered at about 8:10 a.m., we are told.


A Selden Road resident who is suspected of murdering a neighbor early this morning in Le Roy and setting his own home ablaze was taunting the police once they arrived on scene, according to a witness.

"Did you see what I did to my house?" the witness said the man told police. "Just shoot me."

Sheriff's deputies and Village of Le Roy police, along with Mercy EMS, were dispatched to 7421 Selden Road just after 4 a.m. after dispatchers received a report of a person being shot in the face. About 10 minutes later, Le Roy fire along with the Bergen Fire Department were dispatched to 7324 Selden Road for a structure fire with flames showing. Shortly thereafter, Stafford and Pavillion fire departments were called to provide mutual aid.

At first, there was no indication the two incidents were related, but when the first assistant chief for Le Roy fire, accompanied by the department's safety officer and a chief from a mutual aid company arrived on scene, along with a patrol from Le Roy, the suspect reportedly turned his shotgun on the responders and opened fire.

None of the responders were hit and they made a quick exit from the area, with the chief informing dispatchers they had been fired on and to hold back all responding units.

The chief was pretty shaken and returned to the fire hall a short time later, said 2nd Assistant Chief Tom Wood.

"We actually never got told there were any shots fired or the second incident was happening, so we responded as a normal incident," Wood said.

It's unclear if the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was firing indiscriminately or deliberately targeting either firefighters or police.

Wood said it appeared to the firefighters the gun was pointed at them.

"When they got on scene they saw the individual and he pointed the gun in their direction, or the direction of the police, and, I believe, fired two or three rounds at them," Wood said. "Nobody was hit, but it was definitely scary."

It was a tense time for Jon Marcello and his family, who moved from the village to Selden Road in July. He said he spoke to his neighbor, the suspect, for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The suspect, he said, placed a no trespassing sign in his front yard because he was going through a divorce and he didn't know who his ex-wife might had given keys to.

"He was concerned about other people coming into the house and on the property," Marcello said.

When Marcello saw a fire burning outside this neighbor's house, he went outside to investigate. He then heard two gunshots. A police officer told him to get back in his house. He said he and his wife and his two small children, who are too young to have comprehended what was going on, sheltered upstairs.

"It's certainly concerning when you see him walking down the street and on our property with a shotgun, SWAT teams all around telling him to put the gun down and he wasn't complying," Marcello said. "He was actually taunting them telling them to shoot him. I don't know if it was a suicide mission, or what."

The suspect surrendered about 8:10 a.m.

The name of the victim has not yet been officially released.

No other injuries have been reported in connection with the incident.

The incident was troubling for the volunteers who responded to the scene, Wood said. Even though nobody has forgotten what happened in Webster, where firefighters were shot and killed responding to a fire, on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago, it's still not something you expect to happen here. Wood said he doesn't know how you prepare or train for such unexpected violence.

"It's scary," Wood said. "We don't know how to deal with stuff like this. We're a small rural department and all volunteer."

The Sheriff's Office has scheduled a press conference at 2 p.m. about the incident.

Previously: Person reportedly shot at residence in Town of Le Roy



The residence of the shooting victim.





Tom Wood speaking with members of the media.

December 1, 2015 - 4:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Kyle Johnson.

Law enforcement and Mercy medics are responding to a residence on Selden Road in the Town of Le Roy where a person has reportedly suffered a gunshot wound.

A dispatcher advises that "the victim has been shot in the face. The suspects appear to have left the area."

UPDATE 4:10 a.m.: It's described as a "marauding incident" (which Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines as "roaming about and raiding in search of plunder.") Further law enforcement communications have been moved to a secure channel.

UPDATE 4:18 a.m.: Now there is a report of a structure fire at a residence near the original caller's address. Smoke and flames showing. Le Roy fire and Bergen fire dispatched. Of course, at this point, it's unknown if the incidents are related.

*** We're withholding the address pending more complete information and to avoid identifying the victim at this stage.

UPDATE(S)(By Billie) 4:28 a.m.: "Shots fired. Back out of the area," the fire chief on scene tells responders. Stafford and Pavilion fire departments were also called to the fire.

UPDATE 4:41 a.m.: Le Roy Fire Police are instructed to shut down Selden Road at Route 19 and at West Bergen Road. Only emergency responders and law enforcement will be allowed to pass.

UPDATE 5:08 a.m.: Flames are no longer visible at the scene of the structure fire, however firefighters have not yet been allowed to access the property because law enforcement has not cleared the scene. An emergency command center, or staging area, has been set up at the Eastern Carolina, LLC, complex at 7591 Selden Road, near Route 19. (The gunshot incident and the fire are roughly a block apart on Selden Road.)

UPDATE 5:34 a.m.: People on Selden Road are ordered to "shelter in place," according to an order given by law enforcement. They must remain inside until further notice.

UPDATE 6:17 a.m.: A reader who lives on Selden Road said he "came outside when I first noticed the fire and a police officer told me to get back in the house and there was an active shooter. Soon after, there were two loud gunshots, sounded like a shotgun. ... The fire is still blazing pretty good on the west side of the house closest to me. No firefighters on scene, assuming they have not found the shooter (s). ..." This reader also submitted the photo above.

UPDATE 6:58 a.m.: A woman who has identified herself as the daughter of the shooting victim has told the media that her 69-year-old father has died as a result of the gunshot wound(s). Police have not confirmed this.

UPDATE 7: 22 a.m.: Photo from the scene:

UPDATE 8:14 a.m.: Multiple law enforcement units have cleared the scene; they've left the area. It has not been confirmed, but indications are that the situation has been resolved, that the incident has concluded.

8:32 a.m.: A suspect has been taken into custody.

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