10:17 PM, May 27, 2004   |    comments
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    An emotionless Leslie MacKool entered the courtroom for a fourth day Thursday. She continued her claims that her husband Michael MacKool, also charged in Janie Ballard's death, forced her to commit the murder. Dan English knew the couple through business dealings and is following the trial closely. After being in the courtroom all day, English says, "I had kind of an image before I got here of Leslie. I felt like you know she was probably in the wrong place with the wrong people, but it seems like the defense didn't do a very good job. It seemed like they kind of painted her out to be a bad person." On the stand, Leslie MacKool admitted after stabbing her mother numerous times she heard a gurgling noise and knew she was dead. But, later after taking things from the house to make it look like a robbery, returned to her mother's lifeless body and stabbed Ballard several more times in the chest. English says, "I mean she was pretty cold on the stand and didn't have a lot of emotion which kind of bothered me a little bit about her." During testimony MacKool said repeatedly she killed her mother because - quote - "I was terrified of Mike" and I continued stabbing my mother because "I knew if I messed it up he would kill me." It's a plea English doesn't buy. "Supposedly the way Leslie was making it out was that she was scared and Mike had pushed her to do this and I don't feel like Mike would have ever killed anybody," says English. The defense argues Mike MacKool's past abuse of Leslie proves differently. A former boyfriend of Leslie MacKool's also took the stand Thursday. Timothy Hastings testified Leslie asked him to help her get away from Michael. Two other defense witnesses said Janie Ballard was afraid of her son-in-law, but never believed Leslie would hurt her. MacKool's trial continues Friday morning. Closing arguments are expected to wrap up by late afternoon.

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