- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2003

BALTIMORE (AP) A man who admitted shooting two boys and a young man because they "jeopardized" his peace has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
William Banks, 60, told police he asked the boys, ages 11 and 15, and an 18-year-old to move from his steps, but they became irate and yelled insults at him on the day of the July 28 shootings.
Delegate Clarence Davis, a Baltimore Democrat who testified as a character witness, said Banks must have been pushed over the edge to wound the youths.
"There had to have been extenuating circumstances for him to do something like this," said Mr. Davis, who has been a friend of Banks since they were 6-year-olds.
"The young people today have become terrorists," Mr. Davis said. "We live in a society where parents no longer have control over their children. We are afraid in our own homes."
Banks accepted a plea agreement last month and pleaded guilty to shooting the youths with a .38-caliber revolver he had stolen from his employer the previous night. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and handgun charges.
As part of the plea arrangement, prosecutors dropped attempted murder charges and agreed to a prison term of 10 years or less. The first five years of Banks' sentence will be served without the possibility of parole.
Banks told police the youths had been bothering him for some time, and that he believed at least one of them was dealing drugs in front of his home.
He shot Barry Bolling, then 18, three times, and two of the bullets are still in his chest. He hit William James, who was 15, once in the right arm; and Dominique Byrd, who was 11, in the left forearm. None sustained life-threatening injuries, prosecutors said.
"If they got on my nerves, that's no justification for shooting them," Banks told the court. "I felt as though my peace was jeopardized."
Prosecutors said Banks and his neighbors had called police 320 times in the year before the incident to complain about problems on the block.

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