Friday, May 13, 2005
An Army sergeant who recently returned from Iraq plotted with a woman he met over the Internet to kill her husband, a Navy sailor, authorities said Wednesday. Sgt. Jason Cline, 27, and Sharonmarie Ball, 29, were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on a charge of attempted murder. The couple met on the Internet in 2002 and saw each other for the first time less than two weeks ago. Cline, who was stationed at Ford Hood, Texas, allegedly stabbed Petty Officer John J. Ball on April 5 with a knife on the chin and right hand, according to a federal complaint. Military police arrested him a few hours later near the scene of the attack on Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. Ball was hospitalized but has been released, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra P. Serano. Michael Berg, Sharonmarie Ball's attorney, said his client told him she was a victim and had tried to stop the attack on her husband. Cline's attorney, Michael Petrik, did not return calls seeking comment. A complaint filed in U.S. District Court by FBI agent Michael Lombardi provides details of the plot: The night of his arrest, Cline told Navy criminal investigators that he had flown from Texas to Ontario, Calif. on March 31 to meet Sharonmarie Ball and "should the opportunity present itself, to kill John J. Ball." The two purchased a knife together two days before the alleged stabbing. Sharonmarie Ball and Cline agreed ahead of time that she would wait at the scene and "play the role of terrified widow" so she could claim full survivor and death benefits. On April 5, Sharonmarie Ball lured her husband to a prearranged spot where, Cline, dressed in camouflage pants and wearing a pair of his intended victim's shoes, attacked John Ball. The sailor got away and summoned help. Sharonmarie Ball drove off in her husband's pickup and was arrested a short time later.