Texas jury convicts man nabbed here
A jury in Houston, Texas, convicted a man of murder Friday, two years after he was caught in Grady County by alert deputies.
Grady County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Steve Clark and Cpl. Jeff Riggins traveled to Texas earlier this month to testify on behalf of the prosecution in the case of defendant Lee Carl Banks III.
A jury convicted Banks in the 2009 death of Spenser Vogt, also of Texas.
‘I’m sure (Spenser’s) mother is relieved that the person responsible was captured,” says Investigator Clark, “she actually came out and thanked us for what we did do.”
Clark said he learned that Vogt, and his brother, were both born deaf, and Vogt had just been accepted to college the day before he was reported missing.
It was around 1 a.m., Monday, March 30, 2009 when Riggins and Clark stopped a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse after it drove through Whigham without rear taillights.
The two officers became suspicious of the driver, then 19, who changed his story about how the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse had become wrecked. Soon, they learned the car belonged to a 19-year-old from Katy, Texas, Spenser Vogt, who had been reported missing just two days earlier.
Clark and Riggins decided to detain the driver, who had given a name other than Banks, until they could talk with Texas authorities. A consequent search of the car revealed a firearm and traces of blood.
When Clark sent the Texas authorities a photograph of the man he had in custody, along with copies of three driver’s licenses found in the vehicle, authorities showed them to Vogt’s mother, only she was unable to identify any of them.
The next day Clark provided the law enforcement in Texas with copies of the driver’s fingerprints, and he was identified as Banks, a teen with a criminal record. Texas authorities drove to Grady County that week and interviewed Banks, who admitted to meeting Vogt in an internet chat room earlier in the month.
The two teens met on Friday, March 27, and went to Banks’ apartment, where Banks claimed he accidentally shot Vogt. Based on his instructions, Texas authorities were able to locate Vogt’s body, and Banks was extradited back to Houston. His murder trial lasted one week. According to Clark, Banks was sentenced to life in prison and is expected to serve 30 years before he will be eligible for parole.