Jury Spares Life of Mississippi Schoolteacher

Published October 15, 2009

The Mississippi schoolteacher who shot and stabbed to death her lover’s pregnant fiancée three years ago was sentenced to life without parole Wednesday.

 A day earlier, the jury of nine women and three men convicted Carla Hughes of two counts of murder for the death of Avis Banks. In Mississippi, a person is considered a multiple murderer if the victim is pregnant.

 The utter brutality of the crime demanded the death penalty, Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest told jurors. The panel, however, decided to spare the life of the 28-year-old defendant.

 In November 2006, police found the bullet- and knife-wound-riddled body of Banks, 27, lying in a pool of blood in the garage of the home she shared with Keyon Pittman, the father of her unborn child. She was five months pregnant.

 Hughes killed Banks so she could have Pittman, a colleague at Chastain Middle School in Jackson, to herself, according to prosecutors.

 "She took Avis Banks' life and the life of her unborn child because she wanted that life," the prosecutor said.

Hughes’ attorneys maintained that their client is innocent of all charges.

Written by BET.com Staff

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