A jury found a Henrico County, Va., man not guilty of first-degree murder despite the fact that he admitted to shooting his wife during an argument while their two children were sleeping.
According to WTVR-TV, Alvin Banks faced charges of first-degree murder, child abuse and gun-related charges in the November 2016 shooting death.
Banks was found not guilty of murder. He was also found not guilty of using a firearm during a murder or an attempted murder, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The jury did, however, convict him of two counts of child abuse and on charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm inside the couple’s home.
Authorities were notified about the shooting after Banks ran to a nearby fire station claiming that he had accidentally shot his wife, Katrina, WTVR notes.
When police got to the scene of the couple’s Orion Court home, Banks repeated that he had accidentally shot his wife and urged officers to go inside.
On the second day of the trial, a jury watched an 18-minute video of police detectives questioning Banks about the moments before his wife was killed.
Banks acknowledged that he had gotten into an argument with his wife over some phone calls he had made. He admitted to firing three rounds into the ceiling of the couple’s split-level home, saying it was a “‘get away, stop’ thing,” or meant to prevent further argument.
Banks insisted that he had never put his hands on his wife before but wishes he had assaulted her in this case, since she would still be alive, according to WTVR.
Although Banks admitted to firing three rounds, a detective testified that five shell casings were recovered, including the bullet that killed Katrina. When police entered the house, they heard “a young child screaming in the basement,” an affidavit noted.
“[The officer] entered the basement and located a deceased female in the hallway lying face down,” the affidavit continued. “Two children were located inside the residence and removed … by on scene officers.”
Prosecutors maintained that the shooting was intentional; however, Banks’ defense attorneys, James Maloney and Joe Morrissey, brushed off that argument, claiming that the fatal shot, which went through one of Katrina Banks’ lungs and her spine, had ricocheted off of something before hitting his wife in the “horrible accident,” the Times-Dispatch notes.
According to the Times-Dispatch, the jury recommended that Banks serve a total of 16 months in jail and that he pay out $4,000 in fines for the three convictions.
Banks, who has been sitting in jail since the shooting, is expected to get credit for time served and will be formally sentenced Jan. 30.