MACON COUNTY, N.C. (WATE) — An Etowah, Tennessee, man has been sentenced to the maximum possible prison sentence under North Carolina law after he forced his way into a Macon County woman’s residence, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

A Macon County jury found Joseph Ball, 42, guilty of second-degree forcible rape, first-degree burglary, interference with emergency communications, kidnapping, and assault on a female.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Bill Coward sentenced Ball to serve consecutive prison sentences on five criminal counts equaling nearly 20 years:

  • Rape: a minimum of 96 to a maximum of 176 months.
  • Burglary: a minimum of 84 to a maximum of 113 months.
  • Interfere with emergency communications: 75 days
  • Second-degree kidnapping: a minimum of 33 to a maximum of 52 months.
  • Misdemeanor assault on a female: 75 days

On May 12, 2019, Ball knocked on the then-65-year-old woman’s door, claiming he had wrecked his truck nearby. The DA notes that the two were former co-workers. Because he was intoxicated, the woman told Ball that he could stay the night in another structure on the property. The DA said in a press release, later Ball again knocked on her door and he forced his way into her home.

“This area in Macon County is not somewhere you wind up by accident,” said Assistant District Attorney John Hindsman, during the sentencing portion of the trial. “It takes quite an amount of effort to get there.

“We truly do believe that this was a very intentional act by Mr. Ball. Being in a remote area, late at night, the victim’s age, as well as the nature in which the act that occurred, speaks volumes about the severity of his actions.”