A man charged with killing his daughter in a rollover accident south of town last year will stand trial in September.
Gasoa “Josh” Balas faces seven felony charges, including second-degree murder, child abuse, DUI and assaulting an officer for the Aug. 1 rollover that killed his 7-year-old daughter Calandra.
Balas was reportedly trying to avoid arrest after assaulting a woman in a Payson trailer park when he lost control of his vehicle, rolling near Corvair Curve, according to police. Balas, who was buckled in, walked away from the accident with only minor injuries while his daughter, who was not wearing a seat belt, was
thrown from a back window.
After the accident, Balas told officers he didn’t know his daughter was in the vehicle at the time.
Balas was initially set to face trial Jan. 29, but the date was postponed. Now, the Gila County Attorney’s Office plans to try Balas Sept. 18 for assaulting the woman in the trailer park then prosecuting him for killing his daughter shortly after that trial ends.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Shawn Fuller said they would nail down trial details at an Aug. 5 status conference.
On Monday, a judge denied Balas’ motion for new defense counsel.
Sentencing for assault
In addition, at 11 a.m. on Aug. 6 in a Payson courtroom, a judge will sentence a Payson man found guilty of assaulting two officers and resisting arrest.
The original June 3 sentencing date for Brandon Lee Lewis was postponed shortly after the trial wrapped in May.
During the six-day trial, three Payson officers took the stand along with a number of witnesses, detailing what happened the night before Halloween in 2011 that left a large dent in a squad car, Lewis’ eye bloodied and officers with minor scratches.
The jury learned Lewis had been drinking that night when he ran his truck over a low retaining wall. When police arrived to collect insurance information, they suspected Lewis of drinking. When Lewis reportedly refused to cooperate with a field sobriety test and grew combative, officers took him to the ground and punched him several times in the face to get him under control.
When they finally had him cuffed, Lewis allegedly hit his head against the hood of a squad car repeatedly.
The jury found Lewis had resisted arrest and assaulted two officers, but on the most serious charge of assaulting a third officer, the jury found Lewis not guilty.