ANGOLA — Additional charges have been filed against an Anderson man who is facing a charge of murder in the June death of Wilma Ball, 82, Lake James.
Matthew Roland Hoover, 29, is now facing charges of Level 1 felony rape committed while armed with a deadly weapon, Level 2 felony burglary while armed with a deadly weapon and Level 6 felony abuse of a corpse.
The additional charges were filed on Wednesday by Steuben County Prosecutor Jeremy Musser.
Musser said it has not been decided if the state will seek the death penalty or a sentence of life without parole in the case, though it now qualifies for those penalties.
The charges came after extensive investigative efforts on the part of Steuben County Sheriff’s Department investigators.
“The allegations in Counts 2, 3, and 4 are based upon further lab tests results that were not available at the time of the initial filing of the case,” Musser said in an email.
In the initial case filing, it was noted that Mrs. Ball wasn’t wearing any pants when she was found and a rape investigation was conducted.
The initial charge of murder came using DNA analysis. That charge was filed in August.
Hoover was arrested in Anderson after confessing to the crime to Steuben County Sheriff’s Office Detective 1st Sgt. Chris Emerick. Mrs. Ball was found dead on June 23 by friends.
Hoover allegedly stabbed Mrs. Ball in the neck twice, with the potentially fatal wound being a stab that was some 3 inches deep, an autopsy revealed. Musser said Mrs. Ball was stabbed with a knife.
Hoover was a former neighbor of Mrs. Ball on Lane 200E Lake James. It is believed she was killed sometime between June 22 and June 23, Emerick said in court. Details from the autopsy that were filed in court did not indicate a time of death.
Mrs. Ball was found by two of her friends who arrived at her home to check on her well being after she didn’t show up for their morning golf game. Mrs. Ball was quite athletic, her step-daughter Jennifer Fahlsing said.
Hoover had been living with his brother across the lane from the Ball residence. Hoover’s brother, Noah, told police that he believed his brother might have had something to do with the murder because he quit his job and abruptly left town in a truck he stole from their parents on the day Mrs. Ball was discovered, court records say.
Public defender Benjamin Nordmann is representing Hoover.
Hoover is facing 45-65 years in prison if he’s found guilty on the murder charge. Wheat set a Nov. 29-Dec. 3 trial date. Hoover will next be in court for a status hearing on Monday at 1 p.m. A final pretrial conference is set for Oct. 18.
In addition, a Level 1 felony conviction carries a prison sentence of 20-40 years. A Level 2 felony is punishable by 10-30 years in prison. A Level 6 felony carries a prison term of 6 months to 2 1/2 years.
If Hoover is found guilty on all counts and is sentenced to the maximum time in prison, he is looking at potentially 137 1/2 years.
The Sheriff’s Department has been assisted in its investigation by the Indiana State Police and the Anderson Police Department.