DeSoto resident Thaddeus Terrence Quinn, 41, accepted a plea from the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office on Thursday morning. Quinn plead guilty to the murder of 19-year-old Irving resident Sonya Nicole Ballinger and was given 15 years in prison.
Ballinger’s body was found in the 1400 block of Black Champ Road on Monday, July 23, 2012. Residents exercising in that area discovered the body and called the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office at about 11:03 a.m.
In a previous article sheriff’s office Lt. Rick White, now retired serving as a reserve deputy, said deputies were dispatched to the location – a wooded area in the unincorporated area of Ellis County. The area was secured as a crime scene and it was believed that the body had been there for less than a week.
The victim sustained a single gunshot wound to the skull and it was believed that the victim was killed at a different location but left there. A tip in the case led to Quinn’s arrest.
“Ballinger’s boyfriend was one of those we interviewed, and he was later arrested but not on charges related to this case,” White said in a previous interview. “However through a series of other interviews, we were able to identify several other suspects and one of those had ties to this case. That’s when we secured a search and arrest warrant for Quinn.”
The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office arrested Quinn in the 800 block of Longleaf Drive in DeSoto on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. Members of the DeSoto Police Department assisted on the call and Quinn was arraigned Aug. 3, 2012.
“He pled guilty to murder and he took a plea deal for 15 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I expect him to serve most of that sentence. Before he is eligible for parole he will have to serve half, day for day,” Assistant County and District Attorney Amy Lockhart said. “With his criminal history it is very unlikely that he will be released.”
Lockhart said that Quinn was previously convicted for aggravated assault. According to his indictment Quinn was convicted for this offense in the 195th District Court of Dallas County on April 20, 2001.
Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said the evidence that connected Quinn to the case included a bloody thumb print on items in Ballinger’s purse and Ballinger’s blood was located in the back of Quinn’s pickup truck.
“There are never any known outcomes with a case that we might take to trial. There is no guarantee that it would be no better or worse had we gone to trial in this case. We did the best that we could with the evidence that was presented to us,” Wilson said. “We are just pleased that Mr. Quinn will be off the streets for at least the next seven and a half years.” Wilson added that it's likely it will be much longer than that. Ballinger's mother agreed it was not an ideal outcome, but supported the plea sentence and gave a victim impact statement Thursday morning.