Public Defender Says Stabbing Case Under-Investigated, Dragging On

Monday, November 12, 2012

Assistant Public Defender Erin O'Leary told Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Monday that a serious stabbing case has been under-investigated and the prosecution was dragging it on in the courts for months.

She asked that Elecia Banks be placed on house arrest, noting that she has already served over a year in jail on the charge.

Ms. O'Leary said the state had lost track of the victim in the case "and I had to give them the phone number."

Judge Poole declined to free Ms. Banks, who Ms. O'Leary admitted has mental problems. He said he expected some action to be taken on the Jan. 22 trial date.

Patrol Officer Thomas Seiter said he handled the case himself and did not call in a major crimes detective or crime scene investigators. He said he did not at first notice that the victim, Eric Robinson, had been stabbed seven times.

The officer said he looked at the stabbing scene and in the other side of the duplex where Ms. Banks' mother lived, but did not find the knife. There were no recorded interviews or photos.

He said he found Ms. Banks sitting on a couch drinking a 40-ounce beer. Blood was on her jacket.

The patrol officer said he wrote up the report of the case himself. He said he had not obtained any medical evidence about the condition of the victim.

The officer charged Ms. Banks with aggravated assault and especially aggravated burglary. The grand jury heard the case and added a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

Judge Poole noted that raised the stakes for the defendant from facing a possible 3-15 years to facing a possible 15-25 years. 

The mother of Ms. Banks said she heard the pair arguing, but did not witness the stabbing. She said Robinson was known in the neighborhood as "the weed man." She said he taunted her daughter, claiming he had sex with her 13-year-old daughter.

Robinson recovered from his stab wounds, but now he has other health problems, causing him often to miss court dates, prosecutor Jason Demastus said. He acknowledged he had gotten the phone number for Robinson's son from Ms. O'Leary. He called it "a difficult case."

Ms. O'Leary said, "The fact that there was very, very little investigation of this case was quite a surprise to me."

She said Ms. Banks has a number of mental diagnoses, including bi-polar, but she said she is "wonderful, sweet and kind" when she is on her meds.

Ms. Banks was charged with reckless homicide after one of her children drowned in 2003. She pleaded guilty and got a house arrest sentence.

Judge Poole lowered the bond in the stabbing case from $50,000 to $40,000.






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