INDIANAPOLIS – In January 2021, James Greenberg thought he was going outside to meet a woman.
It turned out the text messages he’d received were from a jealous boyfriend who ended up gunning him down.
William Ballard, 34, was found guilty this week of murder, domestic battery, obstruction of justice and invasion of privacy after a three-day trial. The jury acquitted him on charges of criminal confinement and kidnapping.
On Jan. 3, 2021, Indianapolis Metropolitan police were dispatched to a reported shooting in the 2000 block of Coil Street. They found Greenberg, 35, lying in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He died from his injuries.
Greenberg had been visiting a friend prior to the shooting. When he left the residence, witnesses reported hearing several gunshots and saw a gray vehicle leaving the area.
Investigators identified Ballard through eyewitness accounts of the vehicle and messages found on Greenberg’s phone that he believed were from Ballard’s girlfriend. Police said Ballard was angry that his girlfriend had been in contact with Greenberg; he’d even confronted his girlfriend about the situation.
Investigators believe Ballard used his girlfriend’s phone to send text messages to Greenberg, luring him outside for an arranged meeting. But instead of finding the woman outside, Greenberg encountered Ballard, who shot him multiple times.
The girlfriend told police Ballard put a gun to her head and demanded he take her to Greenberg, according to court documents. She eventually admitted she was in the vehicle with Ballard when the shooting took place.
She maintained that she didn’t send any messages to Greenberg on her phone, telling police Ballard sent them under the pretense that the messages were from her.
Greenberg received messages from the woman’s phone about three minutes before someone called 911 to report the shooting.
The last message, sent at 5:36 p.m., simply said, “Come out.”
Police found the murder weapon at Ballard’s residence after obtaining a search warrant. They arrested Ballard on Jan. 11, 2021, when VCU detectives identified him as the driver of an SUV that had been reported stolen in a carjacking. A chase preceded his apprehension.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 17.