Case Analysis : Delma Banks

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In 1980, Delma Banks, a 21-year-old black man from Texarkana, Texas, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death as a result of the Bowie County District Attorney’s false representation of testimony, suppression of material evidence, and by his trial defense counsel 's ineffective assistance of counsel during the prosecution of his case. He was on death row for 32, becoming one of Texas’ longest-standing death row inmates. On April 14, 1980, the body of Richard Whitehead, a 16-year-old white male, was found in a Bowie County, Texas, state park. After investigation, the Bowie County law enforcement officials determined that Delma Banks had been with Whitehead on April 11th. Charles Cook, one of the prosecution 's lead witnesses, told the police that Banks had admitted committing the crime to him and gave him the pistol he used so he could hide the evidence. Banks had no prior convictions or criminal record. Banks went to trial on September 29, 1980. The prosecution relied heavily on Charles Cook’s statements and had no eyewitnesses or confessions, and Cook was a twice-convicted felon who was awaiting trial himself for an arson charge at that time. Patricia Hicks and Patricia Bungardt, two other prosecution witnesses who were acquaintances of Whitehead, testified that they had seen Whitehead with Banks on the evening of April 11th drinking alcohol at the park where Whitehead’s body was later found. Bungardt testified that Banks and Whitehead
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