MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 28, 2013

Mom grieves as son’s killer seeks parole

— Pamela Stonebarger says the man convicted of stabbing her son to death should serve every day of his nine-year prison term.

Maurice Ballard, 37, was convicted in 2005 of manslaughter in the death of Jonathan “Scott” Cannon, 22. Cannon died after he was stabbed nine times Jan. 27, 2004, during an altercation in the 1600 block of Baltimore Street.

“I think everyone who takes a life deserves to serve their entire sentence,” Stonebarger said.

Ballard claimed self-defense, saying that Cannon charged him after beating Joseph Owaidat unconscious. Ballard was not charged by then-District Attorney John David Luton, but a grand jury indicted Ballard, who was convicted more than a year later.

Ballard is up for parole. The first stage of his hearing will be between March 19-22, an Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board spokeswoman said. In the first stage of the parole process, the board receives a report about the offender and his behavior while in prison and decides whether to pass him to the second stage.

During the second stage, victim representatives and offender representatives can appear before the board.

Stonebarger said her son was a fun-loving man but also a hard worker.

“He liked to keep people laughing; he was kind of a comedian,” she said. “Everyone who knew him said he kept people laughing all the time.”

Cannon also worked for Muskogee County Emergency Management, Stonebarger said, and was instrumental in rescue efforts during the 2002 Webbers Falls bridge collapse. At the time of his death, he had begun working at what was then Muskogee Regional Medical Center.

“They gave me his first paycheck the day after he died,” Stonebarger said. “When something like this happens to you, it makes you feel like you’re the only one going through it. It’s all so unbelievable. I can’t imagine anything worse.”

She’s channeled her grief into the Muskogee chapter of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, which will have its sixth annual meeting this September.

“People who this happens to, the feeling never goes away,” she said. “It’s always the last thing I think about when I go to bed and the first thing I think about when I wake up. It’s changed our lives forever.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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