A Virginia man who confessed to shooting his wife during a heated argument was found not guilty of murder by a Henrico County jury on Thursday.
Alvin Eugene Banks, 46, was charged with first-degree murder for the Nov. 2016 killing of his wife, Katrina Banks. Although he confessed to shooting her, he argued during the trial that he accidentally shot his wife, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
During the trial, prosecutors argued the fatal shooting involved an intentional and malicious act which stemmed from an argument between Eugene and Katrina. As a result of the Nov. 21 fight, Banks fired five shots, one of which fatally went through Katrina’s lungs and spine. The other bullet sailed through a wall and into a downstairs bedroom where the couple’s 2-year-old daughter was sleeping in bed, according to Geneva Gnam, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Henrico.
Banks was also found not guilty of using a firearm during a murder or an attempted murder.
Although the jury acquitted Banks for murder, they did find the father guilty of unlawfully firing a weapon in an occupied home. They also found him guilty of two counts of child abuse or neglect in connection with the shooting. The couple’s 7-year-old was also home during the shooting.
The jury recommended that Banks serve a total of 16 months in jail and that he pay $4,000 in fines for the three convictions.
Gnam attempted to prove his decision to retrieve the weapon before firing was enough to pursue a murder conviction.
“We have his own statements that he decided to go get the gun before he shot his wife, his wife who he could see before he shot her and killed her,” Gnam told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Banks’ defense attorneys, James Maloney and Joe Morrissey, argued the killing was not intentional and that the fatal shot had ricocheted off something before striking his wife.
Banks, who has been in jail for nearly a year, will get credit for time served. His sentence hearing is scheduled for Jan. 30.
(Photo: Henrico Police Department)