Columbia man pleads guilty in killing at house party

April 09, 2010

A 27-year-old Columbia man pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in a 2003 shooting at a house party in Columbia. Clarence Michael Banks entered the plea after a motions hearing in front of Howard County Circuit Judge Richard S. Bernhardt had been adjourned for lunch. Banks was indicted in May. According to Senior Assistant State's Attorney Claude de Vastey Jones, Banks shot fellow Columbia resident Terrence Armstead after an argument at a party in the 5700 block of Stevens Forest Road in Columbia. One of the partygoers handed Banks the gun used to shoot Armstead. Banks completed a five-year sentence for the December 2005 robbery of a Columbia gas station last year but had remained in the detention center on the murder charge. The initial investigation after Armstead's killing failed to produce sufficient evidence to file charges, but a subsequent investigation by the Howard County police's cold-case unit brought an indictment. Banks is to be sentenced June 22.

-Don Markus

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