Baltimore man charged with killing son, 17

November 22, 1991|By Roger Twigg

A 38-year-old man has been charged with killing his 17-year-old son, who was in protective custody at a Northwest Baltimore foster home and waiting to testify that the man had sexually abused his daughter, police said.

Lawrence Sarmartaney Banks, who lived in the 1600 block of East Federal Street, was charged with first-degree murder and a handgun violation in connection with the slaying of Lawrence Foster. Banks was held at the Baltimore Detention Center last night and was scheduled to have a bail hearing today.

Susan G. Kaskie, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Parole and Probation, said Banks was paroled from state prison in December 1988, after serving 12 1/2 years of a 15-year sentence imposed for assault. Banks was convicted of slamming his 7-month-old daughter against a door.

In January 1990, he was again convicted of assault and put on three years' probation. Three months later, his parole agent recommended revoking his parole, but the state Parole Commission chose not to do so, said Ms. Kaskie.

Police said young Foster was killed Tuesday at the foster home in the 3500 block of West Northern Parkway.

The youth, who was a student at Pimlico Middle School, was waiting for a teacher to pick up his homework papers and drop off some additional schoolwork, said Sgt. Jay Landsman. The youth was not in school because he was recovering from a broken leg.

A young girl who lives in the house discovered young Foster's body when she got home at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The Foster youth, who was shot in the head, was still clutching his homework papers when he was found.

Sources said the Department of Social Services also had been investigating allegations that Banks had sexually abused his 14-year-old daughter.

The Foster youth was supposed to provide statements regarding those allegations and had been placed in protective custody with a foster family, sources said.

Banks' last prison term stemmed from a Dec. 27, 1975, domestic argument with his estranged wife, Vivian. During the incident, Banks grabbed his 7-month-old daughter, Mylane, took her into another room and slammed her against a door. The child suffered a serious head injury, but survived.

On June 9, 1976, the day before the assault case was to be tried, Banks' wife died. The state medical examiner could not determine the cause of her death. Two months later, Banks was convicted of assault and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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