An absolutely disturbing story coming out of Ocala, Florida after law enforcement agencies can finally shut the case on a horrifying quadruple murder involving two adults and two young children.
Police had charged 37-year-old James Edward Bannister of four individual counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson stemming from the quadruple murders which occurred back in 2011.
Bannister murdered 6-year-old CorDerica Hill, 8-year-old CorDarrian Hill, 27-year-old Jocalyn Gray and 52-year-old Bridget Gray at a residence in Marion County; where he shot each victim in the head and then set the home on fire to try and hide the evidence.
After committing the crime Bannister fled the state and was on the run for several years before he was finally captured and brought to justice.
Fortunately, on Wednesday, a Jury in the Marion County District Court found Bannister guilty on all five charges.
An hour before the verdict, the family gathered in a small witness room where they stood in a circle, held hands and prayed.
“God, only you know what happened that night,” said Tarkyshia Wade, Bridget Gray’s niece, and Jocalyn Gray’s cousin. “Give us the peace of mind and comfort we need right now.”
Assistant State Attorney Robin Arnold and Bannister’s defense attorneys Terry Lenamon and Tania Alavi declined to comment.
Later this month the Jurors will reconvene in order to determine whether to recommend a life sentence to the judge or if he should be executed for his heinous crimes.
In the State of Florida, a death penalty must be a unanimous decision.
The Ocala verdict provides “big closure” for the family, one victim’s brother said. “We still got to go on with life.”
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