Trial set to start for man charged with killing Raleigh man Andy Banks in 2020




  • In US
  • 2022-11-29 14:50:42Z
  • By Raleigh News and Observer

A trial is set to start Tuesday for the man charged with killing William "Andy" Banks, a Raleigh man who disappeared after a parking lot meeting to sell his SUV.

Banks, 39, went missing Sept. 12, 2020, near Cameron Village in Raleigh, where friends said he had gone to sell a silver Range Rover he'd advertised on Craigslist.

Banks' body was found five days later in a rural Virginia area between Danville and Chatham.

Justin Fernando Merritt, 26, was initially charged with felonies connected to Banks' disappearance, including robbery and larceny of motor vehicle, but later faced a murder charge.

The trial is expected to take from five to seven days. In pretrial arguments, Banks' attorney has indicated they plan to admit that Merritt shot Banks.

William Anderson “Andy” Banks
William Anderson “Andy” Banks  

If Banks if convicted of murder, he will automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

Police arrest warrants indicate that Merritt committed the crime "by means of an assault consisting of having in possession and threatening the use of a firearm ... whereby the life of William Anderson Banks Jr. was threatened and endangered."

Warrants also show that Banks' phone was found on a road in North Carolina after he was expected to meet Merritt, according to ABC11, The News & Observer's news gathering partner.

Merritt was previously convicted of a felony burglary in 2013 and sentenced to 10 years, warrants showed.

Banks enjoyed collecting and restoring cars, driving them for a while and then selling them, his friends said.

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