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Lehigh Valley

Hearing for notorious killer Michael Ballard set for next month

EASTON, Pa. - A hearing will be held next month in Northampton County for convicted mass murderer Michael Ballard.

Ballard is scheduled to appear in front of Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano on Aug. 29 at 8:30 a.m. for his post-conviction relief act hearing.

The hearing will determine who Ballard's lawyers will be throughout the automatic appeal process.

During the hearing, the judge will interview Ballard to make sure he understands his right to appeal, and his right to represent himself.

Ballard has said that he does not want to appeal his death sentence. If he is deemed competent to represent himself during the hearing, it will ensure that an appeal won't be filed on his behalf.

Ballard pleaded guilty in 2011 to killing four people inside a home in Northampton in June 2010.

Ballard was given four death sentences, one for each victim: his ex-girlfriend, Denise Mehri; her father, Dennis Marsh; and her grandfather, Alvin Marsh at their home in Northampton.

Ballard also killed neighbor Steven Zernhelt, who heard cries and came over to help.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied an appeal filed on behalf of Ballard.

Ballard says he never authorized the appeal, and the court has ordered Ballard's former lawyers to explain why an appeal was filed without his knowledge.

Ballard is currently held at the state prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

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