The Journal Gazette
Friday, February 26, 2021 1:00 am

No extra jail time in attack on wife

Felony strangulation brings officer suspended sentence

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne police officer who admitted strangling his wife will not serve additional time behind bars but could lose his job.

Allen Superior Court Judge Steven Godfrey sentenced Sgt. Boyce Ballinger Thursday to 1 years for felony strangulation and misdemeanor domestic battery.

The sentence will be suspended, and Ballinger will be placed on probation as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. But the judge ordered Ballinger to have “no contact whatsoever” with the victim, who told the judge Thursday she accepted the plea agreement.

Police Chief Steve Reed has submitted a petition to the city's board of safety to fire Ballinger. The board has not met to consider the petition. Ballinger has been on unpaid leave since November and has been in jail since December.

Ballinger, 48, apologized for his actions. He was charged after an Oct. 17 incident at his home.

His wife told police he pushed in her neck for two to three seconds and nearly broke down their bedroom door. An officer at the scene wrote that she had redness and bruises to her neck.

In December, Ballinger was jailed after violating a no-contact order. His wife left Kroger and was sitting in her car Dec. 12 when Ballinger “pulled up directly next to her in the parking lot,” according to a supplemental police report.

Ballinger asked whether she would get back together with him, to which she replied she would not, court records said.

Ballinger also asked her not to call the police. She asked if he were following her and he said he wasn't. However, he said, “you know I only pushed you.” At that point, she drove away, court records said.

Four years ago, Ballinger received the department's Purple Heart for running into a home after a man stabbed two people and started a fire. Ballinger was seriously injured and hospitalized with lung damage from smoke inhalation.

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