Dionne Baugh: Attractive Jamaican Dionne Baugh makes a living for herself in Atlanta, Georgia. Despite her recent divorce, things are going well. Dion has a good job and a rich boyfriend. She caught the attention of local businessman Lance Herndon, and the two were one project.
But Lance is a lady, and at least once, Dion caught him with another woman. In fact, she was arrested for a farce outside his home. Then, in August 1996, Lance was found clubbed to death in his bedroom.
Police went to Dionne, who admitted she had seen Lance the night before, but claimed to know nothing about the murder. The DNA linking Dionne to the crime scene would prove otherwise. Police charged her with murder. She was tried and convicted, but controversial testimony led to a new trial.
The second jury deadlocked, giving Dion a chance for a third trial. Dion decided to make a deal. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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After a high-profile killing, an overturned life sentence and nearly a decade of fodder for the national news media, Dionne Baugh is a free woman.
Ball, 44, is serving 10 years in prison for the voluntary manslaughter of Roswell millionaire Lance Herndon. She was released in July and is currently serving 10 years of probation, said Kristen Stancil, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Corrections.
“I’m glad she’s out and I hope she’s doing well,” said a relative who did not want to be named. The relative is no longer in touch with Baugh, but could not escape the sensational unfolding of the case from Herndon’s death in 1996 to the 2007 publication of a true crime book detailing Baugh’s trial from a murder conviction to a guilty plea. “I’ve heard of the book, but I can’t read it,” the relative said. “too painful.”
Herndon, 41, was found dead at her home in Roswell by her mother in August 1996. He was shot and killed by an object that was never found. With no fingerprints and no witnesses at the scene, it took police more than a year to arrest Baugh in January 1998. Baugh, who has a husband and a young daughter in her native Jamaica, became Herndon’s lover after she received an invitation. his birthday party.
At the time, Bao was a petite, polished, mildly accented 29-year-old girl studying finance at Georgia State University while serving as executive secretary at MARTA. She owns a house in Norcross and, according to prosecutors, loves finer things. Herndon seems capable and willing to serve them at some point.
It was Atlanta’s golden age — host to the Olympics and a rising jewel of the New South — and Herndon, who made his fortune in computer consulting, embodied the city’s spirit.
Ball is reportedly one of several women with whom he has shared the benefits of success, including access to credit cards and luxury cars. But when she found out he was with another woman after a few months of dating, she was furious with jealousy. Herndon filed criminal charges but was unable to appear in court as planned.
In 2001, a jury convicted Baugh of murder and sentenced him to life in prison. Two years later, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the appeal decision because a police officer’s testimony was inadmissible. After a two-week trial, the second jury was deadlocked. In September 2004, Baugh was scheduled for a third trial, but pleaded guilty to reducing charges of manslaughter.
Baugh has been behind bars, most recently at the medium-security Pulaski State Penitentiary in Hawkinsville, but her story has come under the spotlight again. In 2005, the case appeared in Oxygen’s true crime series “Snapped” about female killers. In 2007, “Redbone: Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta” by Ron Stodghill (Amistad/HarperCollins, $26) hit bookstores.
Baugh’s relatives hope her release will free both Baugh and Herndon’s family from the devastating crime.
“She is in my prayers,” the relative said, “and everyone else involved.”