BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
A convicted felon from Ocean Springs is serving a life sentence without parole. Believe it or not, that convicted felon has a Facebook page. A concerned citizen wants to know how Michael Balle has access to the web. He contacted Action Reporter AJ Giardina who investigated those claims.
Michael Balle has more than 60 Facebook friends, and shares his personal info with everyone. He went to Ocean Springs High School. He's from Seattle, Washington and was born on March 8th, 1977.
But what he doesn't share is the fact that he's connecting to Facebook from inside prison.
Balle's online profile with the Mississippi Department of Corrections was taken in 2002 when he entered prison. Balle's older now, but the personal info matches right down to the birth date.
An anonymous source at the Department of Corrections looked at the Facebook page and confirmed the photo is the same man incarcerated.
Twelve years ago, Balle was arrested on a capital murder charge for the death of 25-year-old Rachel Bellman. She was stabbed 19 times with a beer bottle and strangled with a belt. Her body was discovered days later rolled up inside a carpet behind a vacant house on Firestone Road.
Balle and another man were convicted of the murder and sentenced to life behind bars. But some how, from inside the walls of Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville, Balle launched a Facebook page, and is connecting to some people who may have no clue he's a convicted killer.
Checking Balle's Facebook wall, he posts a few times a month. On June 7, he responded to a friend at 5:55 p.m. On May 7, he was on his Facebook page at 12:16 a.m., And on March 8 at 4:05 in the afternoon.
I contacted public information officer Angela Smith at the Correctional Facility to find out if prison officials were aware of Balle's online activities. I told Angela that we had learned that one of the inmates, Michael Balle, has a Facebook page.
Smith was not aware of Balle's page, so I sent her the link.
Five hours later, she sent me this email which stated, "We appreciate your sharing this information with us. CCA's top priority is the safety and security of our facilities, employees and the inmates entrusted to our care. While we cannot speak to the specifics of an issue that may be under investigation, we take all allegations seriously and act swiftly to investigate them."
A person with the Department of Corrections who wants to remain anonymous told me Balle's cell phone was confiscated at 7:30 Tuesday night