DeKalb man killed in home invasion

Invaders burst through the back door of Derrick Ballin’s South DeKalb County home early Tuesday, but the home invasion turned into a murder after the suspect or suspects found Ballin downstairs.

The 53-year-old business owner suffered severe head injuries in the 2:30 a.m. attack and later died at Grady Memorial Hospital. It was unknown if anything had been taken from the home.

“Our investigators are looking at several scenarios but unfortunately, our only witness to the crime has died,” said police spokesman Jason Gagnon.

Ballin’s wife, Lelieth, was upstairs in their home in the 5600 block of Tunbridge Wells Road when the attack occurred and was not injured. She remained upstairs when she heard a commotion on the first floor and called 911, Gagnon said.

The couple shared the Colonial-style home in the quiet Stoneleigh subdivision near Lithonia. Family members declined to comment, still shocked by the crime as they congregated at the house Tuesday afternoon.

An autopsy will be done to determine how Ballin's fatal injuries were inflicted.

Ballin and his wife own At Your Service Lawn Care & Landscaping in the area.