The trial of a 27-year-old Little Rock woman, charged with stabbing her own mother to death, began Monday morning. Leslie MacKool and her husband, 50-year-old Michael MacKool, were arrested for killing Janie Ballard. She was 58.
Police believe the confrontation started because of money. According to investigators, last August, Leslie MacKool's father died of an illness and apparently, Leslie was not happy with her inheritance.
Less than a month after the death of Lester Ballard, his wife Janie Ballard was found dead in her own home. She had been stabbed more than 70 times. Since the victim's car and other items were missing, it appeared to be a robbery. But, Leslie and Michael MacKool were arrested the next day and Leslie admitted to attacking her mother.
Last week, Leslie MacKool pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease. Attorneys cannot comment on the case because of a judge's gag order, but we did talk to a former classmate of Leslie's who said she hardly recognized her friend in court Monday.
"My thought is that she pretty much was brainwashed. There's no other rhyme or reason for it. It's just not Leslie Ballard that we know."
The prosecution is not seeking the death penalty against Leslie, but if convicted, she'll face a life sentence without parole. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Michael MacKool. His trial starts next month.