Joliet Man Found Guilty of First Degree Murder in 2018 Shooting Death of  Nathan Ballard

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that Elijah Watson, 28, of  Joliet, was found guilty Tuesday in the shooting death of Nathan Ballard in 2018. Watson was  found guilty by Circuit Judge Vincent Cornelius of First Degree Murder and Unlawful Use of a  Weapon (a Class 2 felony) following a 5-day bench trial. Co-defendant Anthony Francimore  previously was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery in the shooting on an  accountability theory.  

On October 28, 2018, Francimore had arranged for a drug deal with 20-year-old Nathan Ballard  on the east side of Joliet, on the 500 block of Fox Street in Joliet Township. Francimore and  Watson had planned to rob Ballard of $75 by pretending Francimore was going to sell him  ecstasy. After Ballard paid, Francimore entered a waiting vehicle containing four other  occupants, including Watson in the front passenger seat. Both Ballard and his brother attempted  to stop Francimore from leaving with the money, but Watson pointed a firearm at them, causing  them to step away. As the car fled, Watson fired multiple shots in their direction, one fatally  striking Nathan Ballard in the chest. Following the robbery, Francimore used the robbery  proceeds to buy drugs off Watson, before the two ultimately fled to the city to hide from police. 

Watson is eligible for a sentence ranging from 45 years to life in prison. The sentence will be  served at 100 percent. Sentencing is scheduled for May 23. 

Glasgow thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Christine Vukmir, Michael Fitzgerald, Katie  Rabenda, and Jon Walters, Victim Witness Advocates Danette Pasdertz and Emma Rannells,  Legal Secretary Nikkol McGuire, IT Specialists Albert Bailey and Braulio Guzman,  Investigators Shawn Filipiak, Pat Cardwell, Scott Lustik, and Mark Reavis, as well as the Will  County Sheriff’s Department and Shorewood Police Department, for their outstanding work and  commitment in this matter.