Teen charged with killing his friend’s mom appears in court

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 2:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The 16-year-old accused of the first-degree premeditated murder of his friend’s mother appeared in court Thursday afternoon. Amadeus Courage Ballou-Meyer appeared via Zoom for a detention hearing before Judge Darian Dernovish in Shawnee County District Court. 13 News was the only television station that requested permission from the judge to attend the Zoom hearing.

Ballou-Meyer is accused of killing 46-year-old Hester Workman in Southwest Topeka on Saturday. She was found lying in her home’s attached garage by her son and a friend on Saturday, April 24. Her son called 911. Authorities will not say if the friend who was with her son at the time was Ballou-Meyer.

Defense attorney Mike Francis recommended a mental health evaluation and asked the judge to release his client to the custody of his grandmother. She too was on the Zoom call. Ballou-Meyer is currently in the custody of the Juvenile Detention Center.

Prosecutor Jessica Heinen, an assistant district attorney, made a recommendation to the judge that the defendant be held; the judge considered Ballou-Meyer” to be “an extreme danger” to the public. Ballou-Meyer will remain in custody with a docket hearing on June 28th at 11 AM.

Ballou-Meyer’s grandmother asked if she could visit her grandson in custody. Judge Dernovish told her she would need to go through DCF to set up any visitations. The judge admonished Ballou-Meyer and told him he had guards who would be monitoring him every day. Dernovish advised him that any misconduct would not be tolerated.

Prosecutors also added a charge of sexual exploitation of a child related to a separate case from 2020.

Hester Workman was found with severe trauma to her head and pronounced dead at the scene. Over the following two days, officers canvassed the neighborhood and collected surveillance videos from neighboring homes. That led to the identification and arrest of Amadeus Courage Ballou-Meyer, a 16-year-old friend of Workman’s son.

Ballou-Meyer is charged with: Murder in the First Degree, Premeditated (Off-Grid Felony); Murder in the First Degree, Committed during an Inherently Dangerous Felony (Off-Grid Felony); Aggravated Burglary (Level 4 Felony); Aggravated Battery (Level 7 Felony); Interference with Law Enforcement (Level 8 Felony); and Theft (Class ‘A’ Misdemeanor). The DA’s office has already started proceedings requesting that the Court authorize Kagay’s office to prosecute Ballou-Meyer as an adult.

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