Man pleads guilty to murder of elderly woman at Lake James

Matthew Hoover
Matthew Hoover(WPTA)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:24 AM EDT
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STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA) - The man who was arrested and charged with the murder and rape of an elderly woman at her Lake James home has entered a plea agreement.

Matthew Hoover was arrested on Aug. 4, 2021, for the fatal stabbing of 82-year-old Wilma Ball on June 23. Police say DNA evidence led them to his arrest.

A plea agreement entered on Tuesday shows Hoover is pleading guilty to murder and burglary--dropping the attempted rape and attempted abuse of a corpse charges.

If a judge accepts, the plea deal calls for Hoover to spend 45 to 65 years for the murder charge and 10 to 30 years for the burglary charge, a total of 55 to 95 years. He is set to be sentenced on Oct. 4.

Court documents say two women had come to check on Ball after she missed their morning golf game and found her unconscious and covered in blood in her bed. Police arrived at the scene and say they found a window near the front door of her home that was torn and pushed inwards.

Officers also found men’s socks and two beer cans in Ball’s home and collected them as evidence for DNA testing. Documents say the DNA test results found that the profile “is at least one trillion times more likely if it originated from Matthew Hoover than an unknown, unrelated individual.”

When police interviewed Hoover, he said he saw several officers in the area but said he never went inside Ball’s home. He said he heard that Ball was found dead with stab wounds but denied ever entering her home. He was then taken into custody on Aug. 4.

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