CLEBURNE -- An 83-year-old man jailed for the death of his 87-year-old wife is not competent to stand trial.

The prosecutor and defense attorney both agreed Wednesday to the psychiatric evaluation of Sam Ball. District Judge William Bosworth ordered Ball committed to a state mental hospital for at least four months for treatment. At that point, he will be evaluated.

Cleburne police arrested Sam Ball on May 5 for allegedly murdering his wife, Betty. Their son and daughters say the couple had been married more than 55 years.

Their son and two daughters say dementia parted them before death.

Beverly Fox, one of the couples' daughters, described her father's occasional episodes as 'Hallucinations. Delusions,' and angry outbursts over nonsense.

In April, police had come to the house on an assault call, but Betty didn't press charges. She did ask a justice of the peace to commit Sam for a mental evaluation for dementia. Judge Ronny McBroom said government mental health workers checked him, and did not find justification to commit him at that time.

'Everyone was saying, 'It's that department over there.' 'No, it's that department over there.' And we couldn't get him treatment,' said son Stephen Ball. 'We couldn't find a front door. It was like trying to assault a fortress.'

McBroom said Betty Ball was desperate, and he's frustrated he couldn't do more to help her.


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