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Local News

January 1, 2014

Top 2013 news: murder, animal abuse, economic progress

Abandonment of two-dozen puppies and abuse of some 40 horses riled up the North Country in 2013.

A murder case was closed, and another is under investigation.

And the region saw an unprecedented third consecutive year as a Top Performer for state development funding, along with growth in the transportation industry.

Take a look back at the top news of 2013:

SARANAC LAKE MURDER

On Nov. 25, Angela Ball, 29, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Ward Wilbur, an ex-boyfriend, authorities said.

Police found the Lake Placid man, 65, dead in Ball’s apartment in Saranac Lake after she called 911 to report a “possible assault.”

To keep Ball in Franklin County Jail, Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne will submit the evidence to a grand jury for an indictment decision by Jan. 8, he said.

“I typically don’t comment on grand-jury status until something is filed and part of the public record,” he said.

If she is indicted, the case will transfer from Saranac Lake Village Court to Franklin County Court.

“If there’s a trial, I will be lead prosecutor,” Champagne said.

At year’s end, he released no new information from the investigation, which is being conducted by the Saranac Lake Police Department and State Police.

Any kind of mental evaluation would be at the discretion of Ball’s attorney, Franklin County Public Defender Tom Soucia, the DA said.

“My office has no plan to raise any psychiatric histories (at trial),” Champagne said.

Police seized a knife and a baseball bat from the apartment where Wilbur died.

Ball is the only living witness to what happened that day, Champagne said.

“There are some things (about the case) that nobody will ever know.”

— By Staff Writer Felicia Krieg

KILLERS CONVICTED

Three men were found guilty in 2013 of the gang-assault death of Robert M. Rennie, who was found dead in Keeseville in August 2012.

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