Chadwick Banks, 43, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Thursday for a crime he committed over two decades ago. In 1992, the Florida man from Gadsden County murdered his wife and then raped and killed his stepdaughter.
Banks, who was 21 at the time, came home at 3 a.m. after drinking at a nearby bar and shot his wife, Cassandra, point blank while she was sleeping. After that, he went into his stepdaughter Melody’s room, where he told police following his arrest that he “spanked” her and then molested her for about 20 minutes.
Banks claims that Melody did not resist his advances, but investigators say evidence tells a completely different story. Blood was found underneath Melody’s fingernails and pillowcase. She also had a bruise and cut on her face, and Banks’ DNA was found inside of her after he sodomized her. Forensic experts say that, given the position of Melody’s body, Banks’ had to pull her head far back enough to shoot her through her skull.
Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young was one of the responding officers at the time. He reflected on the violent double homicide that shook the small community, saying: "It was one of those gruesome things that happened in the community that had everyone in shock. It was a small town and a huge case.They just couldn't believe such a thing could happen in a small town."
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Banks was officially convicted in 1994 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of sexual battery on a child under 12 after pleading no contest. He was sentenced to death, but his death warrant was only signed recently, on Sept. 22, by Gov. Rick Scott.