Angelo Hardison Found Guilty of Murder

By: Lanetra Bennett; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Lanetra Bennett; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 6.21.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is found guilty of murder and is now looking at 25 years to life in prison.

The jury didn't buy Angelo Hardison's claims of self defense.

The bailiff handed the judge the verdict form and he read it aloud.

"We the jury find the defendant Angelo D. Hardison guilty of the lesser included offense of murder second degree."

The jury deliberated for two hours before reaching that guilty verdict.

Johnny Banks' wife and parents were in the front row to hear it.

"I really felt relieved knowing that the person who killed my husband is finally going to do time for what he did," said Banks' wife Deanna Banks.

Johnny Banks - who family and friends call JB - was shot and killled in June 2010 in the front yard of a home on Southwood Drive.

An argument over $100 in drug money escalated into gunfire. Angelo Hardison shot Banks four times.

"Did he have reason to believe that he was in imminent danger of injury or worse?" defense attorney Clyde Taylor asked the jury.

The jury didn't buy those claims of self defense.

Banks' family members had hoped for murder in the first degree, but were thankful the jury held Hardison accountable for killing the 30 year old father.

"It will never replace my son. Ain't nothing that can replace him. Nothing. There will always be a hole right here," said Banks' father Henry Banks as he pointed to his heart. "My grandkids are going to grow up without their father. I'm just glad we're going to get it taken care of."

Angelo Hardison's family did not want to comment on the verdict.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Updated 6.21.2012 2pm by Julie Montanaro

Angelo Hardison has been found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of Johnny Banks.

The jury deliberated for just over two hours before reaching its verdict.

A sentencing date has not been set.


Updated 1:45pm by Julie Montanaro

The jury has reached a verdict in the Angelo Hardison trial. Attorneys and family members are being summoned to the courtroom now.


Updated 6.21.2012 11:35am by Julie Montanaro

The jury is now deliberating in the case of a Tallahassee man accused of murder. Closing arguments wrapped up this morning. Angelo Hardison is accused of gunning down Johnny Banks in June 2010. Prosecutors say the men were arguing over a $100 drug debt. Witnesses said Hardison pulled a gun on Banks and shot him repeatedly as they fought over the gun. Hardison claims he was rushed, tackled and fired in self-defense.


Updated 10:45am by Julie Montanaro

Defense attorneys say Hardison was defending himself against "250 pounds of a mad bull."

Clyde Taylor says Johnny Banks wanted his money and "would not let it go."

He says Hardison had to make a split second decision to protect himself from a drug dealer known to carry a gun. He cited more than a week's worth of threats.

The defense attorney argued stipling from the gun shots showed they were fired from close range consistent with two men rolling around on the ground.

"He did what he had to do," Taylor argued. He was in fear for his life or great bodily harm, he said.


Updated 10:15am by Julie Montanaro

Prosecutors say Angelo Hardison asked to borrow a gun the minute Johnny Banks pulled up to his friend's home on Southwood Drive.

"He was ready for a gun fight," prosecutor Robert Hale said, "problem is he was the only one with a gun."

He had time to reflect, Hale said, and rebuffed his friend's attempts to break up the fight.

Hale says Hardison shot Banks four times and continued to fire even after breaking free of the fight.

Hale said Hardison took the stand and essentially testified that everyone else who testified was wrong.

Hale said Hardison's credibility was further damaged by his actions after the shooting. He says Hardison fled the scene, took the gun with him, abandoned his car, and took the tag off.


Updated 6.21.2012 9:45am

Attorneys are poised to make their final arguments in the Angelo Hardison murder trial.

A judge is reading jury instructions right now.

The jury could begin deliberating later this morning.


UPDATED 6.20.2012 5pm

The defense has rested its case against Angelo Hardison.

Both sides will present closing arguments tomorrow morning.

Updated 6.20.2012 - 1:30pm

The state has rested its case against Angelo Hardison.

The defense called Hardison to the stand to testify in his own defense this morning.

Hardison's attorney argued from the beginning that Hardison acted in self defense.

A final defense witness is expected to testify this afternoon and then attorneys will have a chance to make final arguments to the jury.


UPDATED 6.19.2012 by Julie Montanaro

An argument over $100 worth of drugs cost a Tallahassee man his life.

Angelo Hardison is now on trial for murder, but claims he pulled the trigger in self defense.

Latoya Stevens cried as prosecutors played the chaotic 911 call she made back in June 2010.

"Ma'am calm down for a second. Who got shot?"

"Johnny Banks."


Her former boyfriend and father of her one year old daughter was shot and dying in the front yard.

"JB, what's your mama's number? What's your mama's number? Don't move JB! Don't move!" she said during the 911 call.

Stevens told the operator that the triggerman was Angelo Hardison.

Hardison is now on trial for first degree murder in the death of 30 year old Johnny Banks.

Stevens testified the gunfire didn't stop until Hardison ran out of bullets.

"He ran a little distance, turned around and continued to shoot at JB," Stevens said.

"Did you know if he used all the bullets in his gun?"

"Yes he did."

"And how did you know that?"

"Because the gun kept clicking," she said.

"He was pulling the trigger at that time?"

"He unloaded the gun into JB."

Yet defense attorneys say Hardison pulled the gun in self defense.

"Stop man. I don't want any hassle with you," defense attorney Clyde Taylor said as he described the confrontation to the jury.

The defense claims Hardison was outweighed by more than 100 pounds and claims Banks had been threatening him for days about the 100 dollar drug debt.

"In a panic and in fear for his ilfe, he tried to stop this attack," Taylor told the jury.

The trial is scheduled to last three days. Testimony will continue tomorrow.

UPDATED 6.19.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Latoya Stevens was the first witness to testify in the first degree murder trial of Angelo Hardison.

The shooting happened in her front yard on June 23, 2010. The victim, Johnny Banks, was her former boyfriend and father of her daughter. The little girl was just one year old at the time.

Stevens says Hardison was one of her brother's friends.

Stevens testified that she saw Hardison point a gun at Banks. Banks took a step forward, she said, and tried to swat the gun out of Hardison's hands. She says the two men wound up tussling on the ground. She said she heard at least two shots.

Stevens testified that Hardison then broke free and fired more shots at Banks. She says Hardison fired all the bullets and she heard the gun clicking.

Stevens wiped away tears as the prosecutor played the 911 call for the jury.

The call was chaotic and initially you can hear Stevens screaming that someone got shot. When asked who did it, she told the operator "Angelo Hardison."

Toward the end of the call, you can hear Stevens softly saying "J.B., J.B., J.B ...." She asked him for his mother's number and told him not to move.

On cross examination, Stevens testified she took everything out of Banks pockets. She says she was looking for his cell phone to call his mother and said she also wanted to make sure there were no drugs in his pockets before police arrived.

The defense attorney also asked her if she took a gun or any other weapons out of Banks' pockets. She said, "He didn't have a gun on him. He didn't have a weapon."

UPDATE 6.19.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Angelo Hardison is now on trial for first degree murder. Hardison is accused of shooting and killing 30-year-old Johnny Banks in front of a home on Southwood Drive back in June 2010.

Prosecutor Robert Hale says the shooting stemmed from an argument over $100 worth of drugs. He claims Hardison confronted Banks the minute he got out of the car and pointed a gun at his head. He claims Hardison fired at least four shots at Banks and continued to pull the trigger even after all the bullets had been fired.

Defense attorney Clyde Taylor argues it was self defense. He told the jury Banks had repeatedly threatened Hardison in the days before the shooting. He says Banks threatened Hardison by text and by phone and even threatened his mother.

The defense claims Banks outweighed Hardison by more than 100 pounds. Hardison was frail and thin at the time, the defense said, because he had a colon tumor. They claim Hardison feared for his life and fired in self defense when Banks bull rushed him.


UPDATED 6.25.2010 by Julie Montanaro

Angelo Hardison made his first appearance in court this morning. He was appointed a public defender and was ordered held without bond.

The judge also scheduled a hearing to discuss Hardiman's mental health on July 13th.

Hardison was arrested Wednesday and supposed to be in court first thing the next morning, but he refused to leave his cell. Today's hearing went on without any further complications.


UPDATED 6.24.2010, 2:30pm by Julie Montanaro

Angelo Hardison was scheduled to appear before a judge via video link from the jail this morning, but refused to leave his cell.

Hardison was arrested Wednesday and accused of first degree murder in the shooting death of 30 year old Johnny Banks.

Hardison will have another chance to make his first appearance tomorrow, but if he physically resists, it's likely the judge will appoint a public defender for Hardison and the hearing will go on without him.
UPDATED 6:20pm 6-23

Just hours after a Tallahassee man is shot and killed during an argument, police are able to track down the man they believe pulled the trigger.

Tallahassee Police were searching for 27-year-old Angelo Hardison after they say he shot and killed 30-year-old Johnny Banks in broad daylight.

Hardison has now been caught and charged with murder. But, residents say their neighborhood is forever changed.

As investigators place evidence markers in the yard, neighbors wonder how Southwood Drive off of Orange Avenue in Tallahassee went from being filled with peace--to riddled with petty crime--now to murder.

Area resident Veneka Ceasar said, "We never had nothing like this on this street. This crime in the black community has got to stop. We can't have this. It got to stop."

Police say when they arrived at 2814 Southwood Drive around 10:45 Wednesday morning, 30-year-old Johnny Banks had been shot. Authorities say he died after being taken to the hospital.

"They were good people. I never know them to mess with nobody or nothing like that since I've known them." Said, Ceasar.

Officers say based on the preliminary investigation, Banks was arguing with another man when he was shot..

Investigators identified 27-year-old Angelo Hardison as a person of interest; and tracked him down just after 2:00 p.m.

Hardison was arrested at a relative's home on Darryl Drive off Paul Russell Road.

Even the youngest of Banks' neighbors see the effect of crime on their streets.

One young girl, Tamya Gonzalez, said, "It's horrible. We shouldn't be living in this kind of environment because we need peace. People don't like when this happens. So, we need peace around here."

Hardison has been charged with murder.

Leon County Jail records show that Hardison was just released from jail on May 2nd, with a list of mainly gun charges that include grand theft of a firearm and possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon.

UPDATED 5:22pm 6-23 by Lanetra Bennett

Tallahassee Police say they have now charged 27-year-old Angelo Hardison with murder in the shooting death of 30-year-old Johnny Banks.

UPDATED 3:50pm 6-23 by Julie Montanaro

Tallahassee Police say Angelo Hardison is now in custody and being questioned at police headquarters.

Investigators arrested him on Darryl Drive, off Paul Russell Road, just after two this afternoon. They say he has family there.

Charges have not yet been filed.
Updated 1:36pm 6-23

TPD Press Release:
Wednesday morning, at approximately 10:45AM, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to a reported shooting in the 2800 Block of Southwood Drive.

Upon arrival, officers discovered that 30 year-old Johnny Banks had been shot.

Banks was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Investigator Mark Lewis from the Tallahassee Police Department’s Violent Crime Unit responded to the scene, along with a team of investigators. Investigators located physical evidence and witnesses to the shooting. Based on the preliminary investigation, Banks was arguing with another man when he was shot. Investigators have identified 26 year-old Angelo Hardison as a person of interest in the shooting death of Banks.

Anyone with information about this crime or the whereabouts of Angelo Hardison is asked to contact the Tallahassee Police Department at (850) 891-4200 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS (8477). Remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information. You could be eligible for a cash reward.


Angelo Hardison, B/M, 9/10/83. Possibly Driving a silver 1997 4 door Cadillac, bearing Florida Tag L261YU.
Tallahassee Police are at the scene of a shooting on Southwood Drive off of Orange Avenue.

The victim was taken to the hospital.

At this point we do not know how many people were involved or the condition of the victim.

We have a reporter en route and will bring you more details as soon as they become available.

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