A suspended Baltimore, Maryland, police officer has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for the murder of his stepson in 2021, according to a Anne Arundel County news release.
Eric Glenn Banks Jr., was sentenced for the July 2021 murder of his 15-year-old stepson Dasan “DJ” Jones, along with trying to disarm law enforcement at the time of his arrest, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement.
Banks entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder and trying to disarm a police officer in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in Annapolis on Oct. 4, the news release said. In an Alford Plea, a defendant maintains innocence, yet acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Banks and his estranged wife Latrice Banks, DJ’s mother, attended a hearing for temporary restraining orders involving DJ just an hour before police were called to his Curtis Bay home on July 6, 2021, the news release said.
She told officers she was there to retrieve her son from the home, but got no response from him other than a text message saying he had fled the residence.
Banks allowed officers to search his home where they found Jones dead inside the wall of the top floor loft, police said. Additionally, two young children Banks shared with his estranged wife were found unharmed inside of the home.
Banks claimed to have found his stepson “gurgling in the bathtub” and panicked. The death later was ruled a homicide, with the injuries showing consistency with an assault.
“DJ was a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him,” Leitess said. “A rising sophomore at Glen Burnie High School, he was a member of the all-county orchestra as a talented violinist and attended a challenging magnet program which he said ‘made him want to work harder.’ His budding life was taken by his stepfather in a likely selfish effort to punish his estranged wife who was granted a protective order just hours before.”
Banks became combative with police when he was in handcuffs, and at one point tried to take an officer’s gun, saying that his “life was over,” and telling police to “choke me, choke me,” the release said.
“I am grateful that responding county officers insisted that DJ be located before they left the premises. I have no doubt that Banks’ two other children were in grave danger as well given the behavior of the defendant that day. This tragic case highlights the reality of the danger children can face when their caregivers are in crisis and all those who are in the position to intervene, must take that risk seriously,” Leitess said.