Where is Lee Hawkins now? Whereabouts of Betsy Ball's killer explored ahead of Murder in the Heartland on ID

Lee Hawkins
Lee Hawkins was handed a life sentence with an additional 36-month term in Betsy Ball's 2012 murder (Image via Ohio Department of Corrections)

Lee Hawkins, from Bidwell, Ohio, was found guilty of multiple charges in the death of 67-year-old Betsy Ball. Betsy's partially-clothed body was found in a field on March 1, 2012, not far from the Gallia County home she shared with her husband David. Hawkins occasionally worked as a farmhand for the Ball family. He was linked to the crime after investigators found DNA, fingerprints, and tire tracks on Betsy's body that matched Lee's.

Reports state that Lee Hawkins was found guilty of aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole with an additional 36 months to be served consecutively. Hawkins is now serving his sentence at the Pickaway Correctional Institution.

This week's episode of ID's Murder in the Heartland titled Field of Bad Dreams chronicles Betsy Ball's 2012 murder case. The all-new episode will air on the channel this Wednesday, April 19, at 9 pm ET.

The synopsis of the upcoming episode reads:

"The grotesque murder of a beloved citizen, Betsy Ball, shatters the quiet farm community of Vinton, Ohio."

Lee Hawkins initially alleged that a third person was behind Betsy Ball's murder

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It was tire tracks near Betsy's body that led investigators to Lee Hawkins, who maintained his innocence. However, he claimed that he witnessed the crime and alleged the involvement of a third individual. His lies only surfaced after DNA evidence and fingerprints placed him at the scene of the crime.

Lee Hawkins was indicted by a grand jury on March 15, 2014, two years after he murdered Betsy. He was charged with aggravated murder, murder, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse in Betsy Ball’s death. He pleaded not guilty to all counts. The case ultimately proceeded to a jury trial, and Hawkins was found guilty of aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, and abusing a corpse.

After the guilty verdict, Hawkins was sentenced to life in prison without parole for an aggravated murder conviction with an additional 36 months for tampering with the evidence conviction. Both sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. He is currently serving the sentence at the Pickaway Correctional Institution.

Betsy Ball, 67, was abducted from her home Gallia County home sometime on February 29, 2012. Her husband filed a missing persons report after finding signs of unusual disturbances around their house and garage after returning home from working a double shift at the Kyger Creek Power Plant. Betsy's belongings, found in the garage, suggested that a struggle took place there.

The next day, Betsy's partially-naked body was found in the field, which was approximately a six-minute drive from their house. She was strangled to death and run over by a vehicle given that there were tire marks on her face and upper body. She had multiple cuts to her body and ligature marks on the neck and wrists. Her right wrist was nearly severed and her body was doused in gasoline.

Authorities also found DNA evidence near her body. The tire marks and DNA along with fingerprints from the garage were used to link Lee Hawkins to the crime.

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Investigators alleged that Hawkins had known the Ball family for about two decades and occasionally worked for them as a farmhand. They believed he was familiar with Betsy Ball's husband David's schedule and knew that the victim was home alone that night.


ID's Murder in the Heartland will shed further light on Betsy Ball's murder case this Wednesday.

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