CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A man was found guilty on Thursday, September 22 in the 2014 murder of a Cape Girardeau, Missouri woman.
In a unanimous decision, Brandon L. Banks was found guilty of first degree murder, three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a weapon by a felon.
The jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning the verdict.
On January 14, 2014, a passerby found her body in a grassy embankment while driving on Hwy. 51 near Makanda, Ill. and called police.
Brown's family and acquaintances reported that she was last seen on Jan. 13 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. when she left her home in Cape Girardeau en route to Carbondale, Ill. with Banks and two others.
According to Jackson County State's Attorney Michael Carr, interviews with witnesses revealed that the group went to Carbondale to attend a party at an area motel. During the party, an argument broke out between Brown and Banks, and at one point it became physical.
Brown called 911 and reported that she was being held against her will, but did not know the name or location of the hotel.
Carr said she hung up the phone before her location could be found by the police department.
He said Banks became suspicious that Brown had called police and he told the group to get in the car to leave Carbondale immediately.
Brown and Banks continued to argue in the car and Banks became irate with Brown. He reportedly ordered the driver to stop the car on Potters Road and demanded that everyone get out of the vehicle.
Once outside of the vehicle, Carr said Banks shot Brown in the face and then fired at least two more shots which hit her body.
He said Banks then ordered everyone to get back into the car and left the scene, leaving Brown's body in the embankment to be found the next morning.
He faces a sentence of natural life in prison.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled in about 60 days.
Banks has been in custody since his arrest in St. Louis two days after the shooting.
This case was investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the Carbondale Police Department and Murphysboro Police Department, with assistance from the Cape Girardeau Police Department, the St. Louis Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Marshal's Office and the U.S. Secret Service.
State's Attorney Michael Carr and Assistant State's Attorney Abigail Dinn handled the prosecution.