Baltimore police officer charged with killing 15-year-old stepson
Latrice Banks, the victim's mother, had filed two protective orders in order to protect herself and her family from Eric Banks.
Fifteen-year-old Dasan “DJ” Jones was a talented violist who excelled in school before his stepfather, Baltimore Police officer Eric Banks Jr., allegedly killed him and hid his body in a crawl space, reports People magazine.
Police were contacted last Tuesday due to a reported custody dispute, but when they arrived at Banks’ home in Curtis Bay, Banks told them his stepson had left. According to People, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police said officers searched the residence and found Jones in an attic crawlspace.
“He swore an oath to uphold the law, and he violated it in the most vile way: He murdered a child,” said a prosecutor during a trial on Thursday. A judge agreed with this assessment and denied Banks bail, calling him a danger to himself and his family.
Jones was unresponsive when he was found in the crawlspace, and a medical examiner confirmed he died by asphyxiation, and his death was ruled a homicide. Ultimately, Banks was charged with first-degree, second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
According to a local CBS affiliate in Baltimore, Banks was also charged with assault, reckless endangerment endangerment, trying to disarm a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. A member of the police force for three years, he had been on suspension without pay from a prior incident.
The custody dispute which led police to the house started when Jones’ mother, Latrice Banks, called police to tell them that her son was missing, and she believed he was being held hostage.
Before that call, Latrice Banks had filed two protective orders to protect herself and her family from Banks, who she called emotionally abusive, according to CBS.
“I am in fear for my life and well-being because Eric Banks keeps trying to control, follow and emotionally abuse myself and my sons,“ she wrote just days before her son was allegedly killed.
A judge denied one of the protective orders, and the second was approved, although it was served after the murder of her son.
Jones was buried less than a week after he was found by police.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Jones’ classmate to help with his funeral costs. The $10,000 goal has already been surpassed, but donations are still being accepted.
“He had such a good soul and it is such a tragedy that he had to leave us so soon and so young. I created this to help his family and his mother through this hard time,” wrote classmate Kayla Wright.
Latrice Banks posted an update on the page, saying she was grateful for everyone who donated in her son’s honor and thanking them from the “bottom of her heart.”