Doctor accused of murder posts bond
A doctor accused of murdering Deanna Ballman and her unborn child last summer spent five nights in jail before posting his $1 million bond.
Dr. Ali Salim, 44, was released Monday afternoon, ignoring reporters’ questions as he exited the jail and entered an SUV.
Salim is to remain under house arrest and monitored by GPS-tracking ankle bracelets until his trial, scheduled to begin May 7 in Delaware County Common Pleas Court. Salim is only allowed to leave his Turner Close home in New Albany to attend appointments with his attorney or Adult Court services appointments or court hearings.
The court also ordered Salim, a native of Pakistan, to surrender his passport, and forbid him to leave the state while the case is pending.
Both prosecutors and Salim’s defense team had expected Salim to post bond after Judge W. Duncan Whitney ordered a $1 million bond in the case. Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien didn’t doubt the former emergency room doctor had the financial assets to meet the requirement.
Salim had been working at Knox County Community Hospital in Mt. Vernon until August; he lost his privileges there when the story connecting him to Ballman’s death broke, his defense attorney Sam Shamansky said.
The state had recommended a $5 million bond, describing Salim as a flight risk with parents in Pakistan.
Shamansky had retorted that if Salim was going to flee, he would have done so during the six-month span between Ballman’s death and Salim’s arrest on Feb. 20. He also cited Salim’s clean criminal record prior to the murder allegation.
Salim’s brother helped post the requisite 10-percent payment to the bonds bailmen, said Delaware County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tracy Whited.
When asked his reaction to Salim posting bail, Sheriff Russ Martin responded via email that the office “respects the decision of the court.”
“Our detectives are continuing to work hard in presenting the best case possible,” Martin stated. “It is our intent to bring some justice in this matter to the decreased and her child.”
Prosecutors allege Salim lured the 23-year-old Ballman to his New Albany home with a Craigslist ad, then injected her with a fatal dose of heroin. Her body was found the day after her mother reported her missing.
Salim pleaded not guilty last week to two counts of murder, rape, felonious assault, corrupting another with drugs, kidnapping, two counts of tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Shamansky claimed Salim’s innocence after the arraignment hearing and referred to Ballman as a “heroin-addicted woman.”
O’Brien said personal witness interviews, including her supervisor at the Army National Guard in Colorado, suggest Ballman was not a drug user.
The Franklin County Coroner concluded that Ballman died from “acute intoxication by heroin.” The autopsy report noted a needle puncture surrounded by a bruise on her thigh.
Before her death, Ballman had recently returned to her hometown in Pataskala and told family members she was trying to earn extra income by responding to cleaning service classified ads. She was the mother of two young children and nine-months pregnant with her third.