Banks Executed By Lethal Injection For 1992 Double Murder
By The News Service of Florida // November 14, 2014
appeal turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court
STARKE, FLORIDA – Death Row inmate Chadwick D. Banks was put to death by lethal injection Thursday night at Florida State Prison near Starke for killing his 10-year-old stepdaughter after also murdering her mother.
He was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m., according to the Department of Corrections. The planned start of the execution was delayed nearly one hour before a final appeal for Banks, 43, was turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The execution of Banks was the 20th since Gov. Rick Scott took office and the eighth this year, the most for Florida in a single year since 1984. Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Scott repeated his assertion that he takes capital punishment seriously.
“I think about the victims, I think about their families,” Scott said.
“It’s what I think about and I’m going to continue to do the job that I’m committed to do.” Scott in September signed a death warrant for Banks, who was convicted in the 1992 slayings in Gadsden County.
Banks was accused of shooting his wife while she slept and then going to his stepdaughter’s bedroom, where he sexually battered her before shooting her in the top of the head as she knelt at her bedside. He was sentenced to death for the child’s murder and also received two life sentences.
The 20 executions for Scott is one short of the number overseen by former Gov. Jeb Bush, which was the most for any Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
Bush served two terms. Scott was re-elected to a second term on Nov. 4.
Since 1924, the most executions by Florida in a single year is 11, occurring in both 1936 and 1942, according to Department of Corrections records. The most executions under the watch of any governor since 1924 is 35, coming while Spessard Holland, later a U.S. senator, was in office from Jan. 7, 1941 through Jan. 2, 1945.
PREVIOUS REPORT: September 24, 2014
Gov. Rick Scott Signs Double Murder’s Death Warrant
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Florida Gov. Rick Scott transmitted a letter and signed Death Warrant on Monday to Warden John Palmer of the Florida State Prison in regard to Chadwick Banks.
According to the Death Warrant, while on felony probation, Banks entered the home he shared with his wife, Cassandra Banks, with a gun in the early morning hours on September 24, 1992.
He shot Ms. Banks in the head as she slept, killing her. Banks then went to the bedroom of his 10-year-old stepdaughter, Melody Cooper, and brutally raped her for approximately 20 minutes. Banks then forced Melody to kneel facing her bed, and shot her in the head, killing her.
Banks did not contest his guilt of the murders, after which a Gadsden County jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of nine to three.
The execution date has been set for Thursday, November 13, 2014, at 6 p.m.
CLICK HERE to see the Judgement and Sentence document.
FACTS AND TIMELINE OF CASE
Second Judicial Circuit, Gadsden County, Case #92-841-CFA
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable William Gary
Trial Attorney: Stephen Seliger – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Teresa Sopp – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Terri Backhus – Registry
• Dates of Offense: 09/24/92
• Date of Sentence: 04/29/94
Circumstances of Offense:
Chadwick Banks, the defendant, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, Cassandra Banks, and the murder and sexual battery of his 10-year-old stepdaughter, Melody Cooper.
In the early morning hours of 09/24/92, Banks entered his wife’s trailer, proceeded to her bedroom and shot her execution style while she lay sleeping. Reports indicated that Mrs. Banks died without ever gaining consciousness.
The defendant then went to Cooper’s bedroom, brutally raped her for approximately 20 minutes, and then shot her in the head.
Prior to the instant offense, Banks was charged with two violent felonies in which the adjudication of guilt was withheld. Upon the commission of these murders, however, Banks was adjudicated guilty on the two aggravated assault charges and was sentenced to five years on each charge.
• 09/28/92 Defendant arrested.
• 10/02/92 Defendant indicted on:
– Count I: First-Degree Murder
– Count II: First-Degree Murder
– Count III: Sexual Battery/Victim Under 12
• 03/13/94 The defendant entered a plea of no contest on all counts.
• 03/14/94 The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.
• 03/18/94 Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 9 to 3 majority, voted for the death penalty for the murder of Melody Cooper.
• 04/29/94 The defendant was sentenced as followed:
– Count I: First-Degree Murder (Cassandra Banks) – Life
– Count II: First-Degree Murder (Melody Cooper) – Death
– Count III: Sexual Battery/Victim Under 12 – Life
• Chadwick Banks filed his Direct Appeal, pertaining only to the penalty phase for the murder of Melody Cooper, in the Florida Supreme Court on 05/31/94.
In addition to the issues raised in the appeal, Banks argued the following issues: the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the cold, calculated, and premeditated (CCP) factor when the state did not provide sufficient evidence for the claim; the court erred in its application of the heinous, atrocious, or cruel (HAC) aggravating factor; and the court doubled the aggravating factors, which could be consolidated into one. Banks also contended that the court did not adequately weigh the mitigating factors presented on his behalf.
• The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentence of death on 08/28/97. The mandate was issued on 11/13/97.
• The defendant filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on 01/12/98, which was denied on 03/23/98.
• Next, Banks filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court on 06/10/99. The motion was denied on 04/30/01, and an appeal was filed on that motion in the Florida Supreme Court on 05/22/01. The 3.850 denial was affirmed on 03/20/03.
• On 01/11/02, Banks filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/20/03.
• Banks filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S. District Court, Northern District, on 12/01/04 that was dismissed on 07/29/05.