Man who murdered reverend’s wife dies in prison

Published 7:35 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The man who murdered the wife of Beaver Dam Church of Christ Rev. Tony Krantz in 1993 died in prison Wednesday.

Terry Lee Ball died at approximately 4:36 a.m. Wednesday, stated a letter received by the local District Attorney’s Office from Raleigh Central Prison Warden Eddie Thomas, according to Ruth Spruill, District Attorney Seth Edwards’ administrative assistant.

“I was just told it was natural causes,” Spruill said.

According to Spruill, a Beaufort County jury convicted Ball of first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, two counts of attempted robbery and first-degree murder on Jan. 27, 1994. Days later, the jury recommended a death sentence for the first-degree murder of Laura Krantz. Ball has been on death row at Central Prison since.

In 1993, the murder of Laura Krantz rocked Beaver Dam Church of Christ and the greater community.

During the early morning hours of June 17, 1993, Ball knocked on the front door of the Krantzes’ home, asking for money. Since Ball was known to him, the reverend invited him inside the home. Later, Ball would pull a knife and stab Rev. Krantz, then his wife when she stumbled upon the scene. Laura Krantz was stabbed repeatedly and ultimately died of her wounds. Both the reverend and the Krantzes’ two children survived the assault.

Ball was 35 years old at the time of the murder; 59 at the time of his death. Former 2nd Judicial District Attorney Mitchell Norton and then-Assistant District Attorney, now U.S. Assistant District Attorney, Frank Bradsher prosecuted the capital case.

Prior to the murder, Ball had been convicted in North Carolina of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, causing serious injury; in California, he had been convicted of armed robbery and aggravated assault. At the time of his trial, expert witnesses from the defense testified that Ball had a serious substance abuse problem, in addition to suffering from antisocial personality disorder.