He watched him gamble, robbed and killed him, testimony in Coast capital murder trial shows

Hubert Patrick Anderson, 39, is on trial for capital murder in the March 2016 robbery and shooting death of Biloxi man, Donta Banks.
Hubert Patrick Anderson, 39, is on trial for capital murder in the March 2016 robbery and shooting death of Biloxi man, Donta Banks.

A capital murder suspect accused in the robbery and shooting death of a Biloxi man was caught on a Coast casino’s surveillance camera following the victim around as he gambled.

In the March 22, 2016, footage from Treasure Bay Casino Resort, capital murder suspect Hubert Patrick Anderson, 39, is never caught on tape with any cash of his own.

Instead, he’s sitting next to an acquaintance, Donta Lashawn Banks, 29, while Banks uses cash to play the slot machine and a few rounds at the craps tables.

Banks would cash in some high-dollar chips he’d won at the casino before his killing.

Not long after, other video footage would show Anderson with a load of cash, but Banks is nowhere in sight. He had been robbed, shot to death and his body dumped on a dirt road in Jackson County.

That and other testimony came out this week in Anderson’s capital murder trial.

Capital murder is a murder committed during the commission of another felony crime, in this case robbery.

According to Banks’ family, the Biloxi native was a devoted family man who was working at an apartment complex before his death.

No death sentence

A grand jury indicted Anderson and his then-girlfriend, Rita Johnston, on capital murder charges in the case. However, Johnston has already pleaded guilty to reduced charges of attempted burglary and accessory after the fact to capital murder in a plea deal with the state.

In exchange for testimony against Anderson, prosecutors have recommended a total prison sentence of 45 years.

District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath and Assistant District Attorney Michael Dykes are prosecuting the case.

The state is not seeking a death sentence.

A night of gambling?

The night of the killing, Anderson and Johnston decided to go out to some casinos.

First, they and other friends stopped at the Beau Rivage casino. A short time later, the couple went to Treasure Bay Casino.

It was there that Anderson met up with Banks. Johnston said she had never met him before that night.

When Banks left in his brand new Chrysler Pacifica van, Anderson and Johnston joined him.

Minutes later, a Gulfport DUI officer stopped Banks for going 71 in 45 mph speed zone on U.S. 90 near Cowan Road.

Banks was not impaired, the officer testified, but was ticketed for speeding and driving without a license or proof of insurance.

The police officer said Anderson and Johnston were in the car at time of the 4:26 a.m. stop

Not long after that, according to testimony, a Jackson County deputy found Banks with gunshot wound to the head. His body had been dumped on dirt road in the St. Andrews community.

Banks was still dressed in the plaid shirt, blue jean shorts and a pair of black and red Nike shoes he was seen wearing at the casinos.

Looking for houses

The killing occurred shortly after Johnston said the three of them went looking for a home to break into.

Anderson, she said, told her to get out of the car and look around the home. When she rounded corner, she said she saw Anderson shoot Banks.

The pair left in Banks’ van, but were captured that same day after they were pursued by police and crashed into a house in Biloxi.

After Banks’ killing, video surveillance showed the pair shopping at Walmart in Wiggins.

The footage also showed Anderson for the time with cash of his own. In the tapes, he pulls wads of cash out of different pants pockets and counts it up while he waits at a register.

DNA link

In other testimony, an expert said DNA extracted from Banks’ shirt matched Anderson’s DNA.

An expert also testified that footprints found where Banks’ body was discovered are a possible match to the red and black Nike Air Jordan shoes that Banks had on when he was found.

More than 13 witnesses have testified in the capital murder trial, which continues Thursday.

Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.