Derrell Bennett Re-Enters Guilty Plea for Murder of Keith Banks

Derrell Bennett pleaded guilty for a second time Wednesday to second-degree murder while armed in connection with the 2010 shooting death of 29-year-old Keith Banks.

Bennett, 24, first pled guilty in connection with Banks’ death in December 2012, but in January he withdrew that plea.

The terms of Bennett’s latest plea agreement say prosecutors will request that he serve no more than 17 years in prison.

According to plea documents, a few days before Banks’ murder, Bennett sent him text messages demanding payment for some drugs he fronted Banks in the fall of 2010.

Documents say that in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, 2010, Reginald Vance was driving Bennett and Banks around Northeast D.C. when Bennett asked Vance to pull over in the 1100 block of Galloway Street so he could urinate. After Vance stopped the vehicle, Bennett pulled out a gun and ordered Banks out of the car, documents say.

Banks fled the vehicle and tried to run through Fort Circle Park, but Bennett chased him firing several shots until Banks collapsed. Court documents say Bennett then returned to the vehicle and ordered Vance to drive away.

Police found Banks lying on the ground in Fort Circle Park, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds: two to the back of the head and one to each arm. He later died at the hospital.

Vance pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact in April 2012; he was sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in Banks’ death.

Bennett is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ronna Beck August 23.

Plea documents are below.

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