DELAWARE, Ohio — In the year and a half since Deanna Ballman’s body was found in the back seat of her car, the doctor who ultimately was convicted of raping her and killing both her and her unborn daughter has been free.
After he was charged with two counts of murder in February, Dr. Ali Salim was released from the Delaware County jail on a $1 million bond. Salim pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter last month, and again was allowed to go home to await sentencing in December.
Yesterday, a judge put him back behind bars.
Andy Califf Bailiff Bonds, the company that posted bond on his behalf, had been monitoring Salim, 44 and a former emergency-room psychiatrist. But the company filed a request last week that his bond be revoked.
Before a judge could rule on that request, Salim’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, worked out a deal with the bond company’s lawyer. Under that agreement, Salim would have paid the bond company additional money and lived at his home under tighter restrictions.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney didn’t care about the new agreement.
“The court obviously is not going to ignore the fact that the bonding company has real concerns that he’s not going to be there,” Whitney said. “There’s no longer the presumption of innocence.”
Salim is facing up to 37 years in prison. In addition to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, Salim also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and abusing Ballman’s corpse. He entered an Alford plea to charges he raped Ballman, which allows him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging he would likely be convicted if the case went to trial.
Salim, who is not a U.S. citizen, also could be deported to his native Pakistan after he is released from prison.
Ballman’s body was found in her car in a field in a rural part of Delaware County on Aug. 1, 2012, a day after she told her mother she was answering a Craigslist ad to clean a house. She was nine-months pregnant when she died.
Prosecutors said that Salim gave Ballman heroin and that there was evidence to suggest he injected it into her thigh. An autopsy showed she died of a heroin overdose.
Paul AuCoin, who represented the bond company, said that when Salim was convicted, he became a flight risk.
“Our thought was if he’s going to be deported anyway, why wouldn’t he leave the jurisdiction and go now?” AuCoin said. “He has the financial wherewithal to leave.”
AuCoin said the bond company asked Salim to agree to tighter restrictions on his freedom and Salim refused.
“That was another red flag,” AuCoin said.
Shamansky said Salim has complied with detectives, bondsmen and the court throughout the investigation and trial.
“I don’t know, really, what more this man can do to establish the good faith that he’s showed for the last year or so,” Shamansky said. “He’s going nowhere. He’s got no passport, nothing.”
Until his arrest, Salim was an emergency-room psychiatrist at Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon. The State Medical Board suspended his license in April.
Shamansky asked that Salim’s sentencing hearing be held as soon as possible. The hearing had been set for Dec. 20.