Skip to comments.Execution hinges on expertsí words (mass murderer George Banks)
Posted on 04/28/2010 6:26:13 PM PDT by Born Conservative
WILKES-BARRE For the first time in more than 20 years, convicted mass murderer George Banks returned to Luzerne County on Tuesday.
Banks, 67, appeared before Judge Joseph Augello for a third competency hearing to determine if he understands he faces the death penalty as a result of his crimes.
In September 1982, Banks shot 13 people, including five of his own children, in Wilkes-Barre and Jenkins Township. Its apparent the former prison guard and Wilkes-Barre resident has aged.
Banks no longer has the dark mustache and black hair he had when he originally appeared in court 27 years ago. His hair is now salt-and-pepper, his face unshaven and framed with large red eye glasses.
He sat quietly Tuesday in Luzerne County Court, whispering only briefly to his attorneys and their assistants.
Dressed in a gray Luzerne County Correctional Facility jumpsuit and county-issued jeans jacket, Banks stared straight ahead, listening to testimony from two psychologists who said he isnt competent enough to be executed for his crimes.
Banks was convicted and sentenced to death by a Luzerne County jury in 1983.
Former judge Michael Conahan had previously declared Banks was incompetent to be executed, finding that he was too mentally ill to understand that he was facing execution.
The ruling was issued after a several-day hearing in August 2008 at which various psychiatric experts testified. County prosecutors appealed that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to allow another hearing.
Five Luzerne County sheriffs deputies were in the courtroom Tuesday, keeping a watchful eye on the convicted killer.
Banks made few movements, only bringing a tissue to his mouth and continuously fixing the collar of his denim jacket. During a court recess, Banks stretched his legs and spoke with his attorneys.
One asked if Banks was doing OK, and patted him on his shoulder before the judge reentered the courtroom.
Banks will be in Luzerne County for at least the next three days as attorneys continue to call witnesses to testify at the hearing.
Augello will then determine if Banks is competent enough to be executed.
Unlike this murderer, his victims have not aged in the past 27 years. I'm okay with executing this mass murderer (and I haven't looked up and don't care about his skin color or that of any other criminal - it's the crime, not the quota system that matters).
I'm not a big fan of capital punishment, if only because of the way DNA evidence is showing our system of trial, alleged to be the best in the world, is falling so totally flat when new technology exposes its frequent failures in the very same cases where prosecutors tell us they take the utmost care.
(And all the rest? where they aren't so very careful but like Nifong dig hard for conviction?)
But why the emphasis on being "mentally ill"? If they are ale to understand, they go down. If they're animals (think killer pit-bulls) they go down. But this space in-between... nope.
This system is screwed up.
Revenge can demand the death penalty, no question about that. But there is no consistency in application.
I wonder how much the state of Pennsylvania has invested in this creep after 27 years.
Thanks. I put the link in, but didn’t notice that it didn’t come through.