12:22 PM, Jun 1, 2004   |    comments
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    Just after 10:30 Friday night, a Pulaski County jury handed down a guilty verdict against 27-year-old Leslie MacKool. Guilty of capital murder and guilty of theft of property. MacKool confessed to police that she stabbed her mother, 58-year-old Janie Ballard, more than 70 times last September. MacKool claimed her husband, Michael MacKool, made her do it to get inheritance money. She plead not guilty by reason of insanity. After the verdict was read, Leslie MacKool showed little emotion and did not answer reporters questions as she was leaving the courtroom. Her attorney, Bill James, spoke on her behalf. "You know I think most of the pain Ms. MacKool feels is mainly based on what happened to her mother. I think she's been in pain over that since the beginning. [The verdict] certainly hurts but I think [her mother's death] is what's ultimately hurt her and will continue to do so the rest of her life," says James. The defense painted MacKool as a young woman who had never hurt a fly until she was put under mental duress and pressure from her abusive husband Michael MacKool. But a juror, who asked not to be identified, tells us she never believed Michael MacKool could have made his wife - who has a master’s degree - kill her own mother. The juror says, "I don't think [the defense] proved that he was completely in control of her." Prosecutors point to the horrific nature of the crime that took place inside Janie Ballard’s Little Rock home for the guilty verdict. Pulaski County Prosecutor W.A. McComick says, "I think the evidence that showed that she went back and added to the injury by cutting her mother's throat after she was dead - those type of factors are just so overwhelming." Now, MacKool heads to prison where she'll spend the rest of her life. Whether she'll testify against her husband who is also charged in Ballard's death is still in question. Michael MacKool's murder trial begins next month. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in his case. Leslie MacKool's attorney says he will look at appeal options.

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