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Woman who gouged out mother's eyeballs, placed them on cardboard box pleads guilty to manslaughter

Camille Balla, 38, sentenced to 15 years in prison
Camille Balla, pictured during March 19, 2018, first appearance, pleads guilty
Posted at 12:33 PM, Nov 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-27 18:52:12-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Royal Palm Beach woman who gouged out her mother's eyeballs and placed them on a nearby cardboard box has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter with a weapon.

Palm Beach County court records show that Camille Balla accepted a plea deal Monday and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 15 years of probation. She also received 2,083 days of credit for time served in jail, meaning she'll only serve about 10 more years behind bars.

Her trial had been scheduled to begin Friday.

Balla, 38, was arrested in 2018 and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of her mother, Francisca Monteiro-Balla.

Woman accused of gouging mother's eyes out

Camille Balla

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office probable cause affidavit, Balla called a co-worker and asked for help because Balla "believed she may have murdered her mother." The co-worker arrived at the Royal Palm Beach home and saw Balla standing outside covered in blood, so the co-worker called 911.

When deputies arrived, Balla spontaneously said, "I killed my mother and I need help."

Balla handed deputies the blood-drenched keys to the house. When deputies entered, they found blood splatter throughout the house and Balla's 55-year-old mother dead in the garage.

"Both of her eyes had been removed from their sockets," Detective Mathew Orr wrote in the affidavit. "Several feet away from the victim was a cardboard box which had the victim's eyes found on top."

The affidavit said Monteiro-Balla had "several large, deep lacerations" to her body, "including her head, arms, chest, stomach and groin." He also noted several pieces of broken glass on the garage floor.

"Several handwritten notes were found in the garage which contained religious-themed written messages related to clearing of the soul," Orr wrote.

Deputies said Balla was being treated by paramedics at the scene when she started to scream, "I'm a murderer."

Balla was treated for large lacerations to her hands at St. Mary's Medical Center before being booked into jail, where she's been spending her days and nights since her March 16, 2018, arrest.