He killed a man for cash and a car, but Coast judge considered previous crimes at sentencing

Hubert Patrick Anderson
Hubert Patrick Anderson

Hubert Patrick Anderson is headed to prison for the rest of life for the March 2016 robbery and shooting death of a Biloxi man.

Judge Dale Harkey sentenced Anderson on Friday following a sentencing hearing in Jackson County.

The judge heard testimony about Anderson’s prior convictions before ordering him to serve life without parole for capital murder.

A jury convicted Anderson, 37, a day earlier for the March 22, 2016, killing of Donta Lashawn Banks.

Banks died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Anderson killed Banks and stole his new Chyster Pacifica along with an estimated $1,700 in cash the victim had received from state and federal income tax returns.

His then girlfriend and co-defendant, Rita Johnston, testified against him.

Prior convictions

Anderson was sentenced as an habitual offender because of previous convictions.

He had two state convictions for burglary and drug-trafficking.

In addition, he was convicted on federal charges of escape and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

The escape charge came after Anderson ran away from a halfway house he had been sent to following his release from custody on the federal firearms charge.

Anderson had violated other conditions related to his release from custody following the federal convictions dating back to 2007.

His violations, records show, included his repeated failure to report to probation officers, changing his address without consulting probation officers and testing positive for cocaine.

The jury didn’t buy it

At the time of Banks’ killing, Anderson had nothing of his own — not a home, a job, a car or a cent of his own — and was looking to commit a robbery to get some cash.

The day after he killed Banks, Anderson was caught on surveillance videos shopping at stores as far as two counties away.

He spent the stolen money on on top-dollar shoes, clothing, camping supplies and other items.

On Thursday, Anderson testified in his own defense, denying any involvement in Banks killling, blaming the crime instead on his Johnston.

But a Jackson County jury didn’t believe him.

The jury deliberated for less than hour before convicting Anderson.

Prosecutors did not seek a death penalty.

“I want to commend the casinos, local businesses, and other law enforcement agencies spanning the Coast, led by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, who helped solve this crime and bring justice to the victim’s family,” District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said following the conviction. “ We could not have held this defendant accountable without their due diligence.”

Johnston has already pleaded guilty conspiracy after the fact to capital murder and attempted burglary in the killing. She is awaiting sentencing.

A plan to rob

The chain of events that led to Banks’ killing began the evening before his death.

Anderson had starting making plans to commit a robbery to get some fast cash and shared the information with friends.

He caught a ride to Coast casinos the evening of March 21, 2016, armed with 9 mm handgun.

Anderson said he first planned to rob The Fillin’ Station in Biloxi, but it fell through because the restaurant had already closed.

He had caught up with Banks, someone he had met about a year earlier, at Treasure Bay Casino. Surveillance video showed Anderson following Banks around while he gambled.

Anderson and Johnston left the casino with Banks, and Johnston said they went looking for a home to break into in the St. Andrews community.

Anderson told Johnston to go check out a house, then shot Banks, she said. Jackson County deputies found Banks on a dirt road with a gunshot wound to the head.

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.

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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.