Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

THE TRUE STORY OF GEORGE EMIL BANKS

To Lure a Killer

Monroe Street
Monroe Street
(David Lohr)

By 7:20 a.m., the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, Luzerne County Sheriffs Department, and Pennsylvania State Police had the house on Monroe Street surrounded with officers.  Banks had barricaded the doors with furniture and kicked out a first floor bedroom window of the two-story home when he saw officers arriving at the scene.  Approximately 110 law enforcement officers prepared themselves for a possible shoot-out with Banks.

Wilkes-Barre Detective Patrick Curley and Luzerne County Chief Detective James Zardecki took turns on a loud speaker attempting to get George to surrender and urging him not to do anything that would endanger himself or others.  Banks screamed back about living in a racist community and not wanting his kids to grow up in a racist world.  Whenever he noticed an officers position, he would call it out and threaten to shoot.  Detectives Harold Crawley and Jerry Dessoye were hidden across the street from Banks location and on several occasions noticed that they would be able to get a clear shot at Banks whenever he came near the window to yell out.   However, upon radioing in for permission, they learned that Chief John Swim would not authorize any such action, If you fire a shot and miss, or just wound him, God knows what will happen.

At approximately 8:15 a.m. Chief Detective Zardecki went to a nearby phone and called Banks, attempting to use the ploy that his children were still alive again. George, youve got to care about your kids. They need your blood to survive. Come out, George, youve got to take care of your children.  Banks replied that he might consider coming out but that he doubted any of the children were still alive.  Just before slamming the receiver down, Banks informed Zardecki that he wanted a transistor radio so he could listen to news reports regarding the events.

Shortly after 9:00 a.m., police brought Georges mother to the scene with hopes that she could talk him out.  Mrs. Yelland spoke to her son over the police loudspeaker:

Yelland: Come out for my sake Georgie. I love you. Please son, please.  None of your children is dead. Believe me.
Banks: I want them to kill me!
Yelland: No, youve been taking that medicine.
Banks: Im tired. I want them to kill me. 

In an effort to end the drama, District Attorney Robert Gillespie asked local radio station WILK for help. Convinced that if Banks heard a newscast that his children were still alive, he would give himself up.  WILK News Director Pat Ward agreed to Gillespies plan to go on the air and report the erroneous facts that Banks children were not dead although seriously injured.  A radio was brought to the scene at 9:58 a.m. Officers began playing it over a police loud speaker.  Following the newscast, Banks informed officers that he did not believe the report and was not going to surrender. 

Wilkes-Barre policeman Dale Minnick attempted to talk Banks out of the house shortly after the false radio broadcast.  You heard the broadcast over the radio, Minnick conveyed to Banks over a bullhorn.  Throw out your gun and come out. We wouldn't lie to you. You can go down to the hospital and see your kids. Its been a long day for you and us. Throw your gun out the window. You heard it on the radio, what more do you want from us?  Minnick's words had no affect on Banks, who kept quiet during the entire one-sided conversation.

 

 

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