Glasgow Announces Watson Found Guilty in 2018 Shooting Death of Nathan Ballard

March 5, 2024

JOLIET— Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that Elijah Watson, 28, of Joliet, was found guilty today 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.