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Baltimore officer handed 42 year sentence in death of teenage stepson

Baltimore officer handed 42 year sentence in death of teenage stepson
Baltimore officer handed 42 year sentence in death of teenage stepson 00:33

BALTIMORE -- A suspended Baltimore City police officer has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for the murder of his teenage stepson two years ago, the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's office announced Friday. 

Officer Eric Banks Jr. entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder and attempting to disarm a police officer last year. 

Banks is charged with murdering his 15-year-old stepson Dasan "DJ" Jones in July 2021 at their home in Curtis Bay. Prosecutors say Banks stuffed Jones' body into an attic crawlspace and then tried to cover it up.

According to police, Banks became combative with a responding officer when the body was found and tried to reach for the officer's gun.

During this altercation with police, Banks said "my life is over. Choke me. Choke me. Choke me," according to prosecutors. 

Jones' mother filed several protective orders against her husband, claiming he was dangerous and stalking her. She wrote, "I am in fear for my life and well-being because Eric Banks keeps trying to control, follow and emotionally abuse myself and my sons."

A judge denied the first one filed in late June 2021.

A second order was granted but was unable to be served because Banks was already in custody after the discovery of the teen's body.

"DJ was a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him," State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said. "A rising sophomore at Glen Burnie High School, he was a member of the all-county orchestra as a talented violinist and attended a challenging magnet program which he said 'made him want to work harder.' His budding life was taken by his stepfather in a likely selfish effort to punish his estranged wife who was granted a protective order just hours before." 

An Alford plea means Banks admits there is enough evidence to convict him, but maintains his innocence. 

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