Delco man to stand trial for first-degree murder of neighbor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Any hopes of bail for the man who shot and killed a neighbor in Delaware County on Memorial Day Weekend, were dashed Friday, when a judge decided that man should stand trial on first-degree murder.

The lawyer for John Ballas argued first-degree murder charges against his client should be thrown out, as this is self defense and — at worst for Ballas — third degree murder.

Prosecutors argued it should be up to a jury, and the judge agreed, ordering Ballas to stand trial on all charges for shooting and killing Joe Iavarone. Bail is not allowed for anyone charged with first-degree murder.

Related: Police say Delco teacher shot, killed by neighbor

In the early morning hours of May 26, police were already on their way to the row homes on Bishop Drive in Chester Heights responding to calls for a man who was yelling and breaking things. 

The State Police corporal who got there first testified at Ballas’ preliminary hearing, that Ballas was standing with his hands above his head, was cooperative, telling him he’d just shot a man and pointing out where where the gun was.

The corporal said Ballas said he thought he shot him in the torso, but the only gunshot wound was to the top of Ivarone’s head.

Friends of Ivarone who were at the hearing say he was having personal problems. He’d recently quit his job a gym teacher and coach at Garnet Valley high school. And, while they say it isn’t hard to imagine him getting of hand while drinking, he had a zest for life and didn’t deserve to get shot and killed.

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