BURNET — The suspect in a Burnet County double homicide apparently used a law enforcement officer’s rifle in the alleged murder of two men at a residence Aug. 19.
The suspect, identified as Garrett James Ballard, 21, is the son of Burnet County Precinct 3 Constable Jimmy Ballard, according to Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith.
Burnet County deputies and the Texas Rangers charged Garrett Ballard with the murder of Elijah Adam Benson, 17, and Travis Leslie Fox, 26, after the three men allegedly used hallucinogenic drugs, according to an arrest warrant affidavit sworn out by Investigator Robert Clark and signed by Burnet County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Calvin Boyd.
Burnet County deputies responded to a residence in the 5800 block of CR 340 at 6:16 a.m. Aug. 19 where they discovered the bodies of Benson and Fox. Smith said both men suffered from what appeared to be gunshot wounds. He added that investigators had recovered the suspected weapon — a rifle — at the scene.
According to the affidavit, Garrett Ballard told investigators he, Benson and Fox wanted to celebrate a birthday on Aug. 18 and at sometime purchased some “acid” from another acquaintance. Then the three went to the suspect’s residence to use the drugs.
Garrett Ballard told investigators “that as the narcotic hallucinogen took affect, strange and disruptive behaviors were exhibited by Fox and Benson,” according to the affidavit.
At some point, the suspect got the keys to his father’s patrol unit and retrieved the .223-caliber rifle from it and then loaded it, the affidavit stated. As he stood by the patrol unit with Benson nearby, Garrett Ballard told investigators Fox came out of the house “exhibiting erratic behavior.” Garrett Ballard then shot Fox, according to the affidavit.
Benson apparently began losing control at this time due to the unfolding situation. Garrett Ballard told investigators that, “for unknown reasons,” he aimed the rifle at Benson and shot him, according to the affidavit.
The suspect told Clark and Texas Ranger Jason Bobo that he then left the residence and went to his girlfriend’s home and told her what happened. The suspect also contacted his sister and spoke with her husband, who is also a police officer. He then told investigators he did contact his mother and father, according to the affidavit.
Officers booked Garrett Ballard into the Burnet County Jail on a charge of capital murder of multiple persons.
The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation with assistance from the Burnet Police Department, the Texas Rangers, the 33rd/424th District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab.