Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

THE TRUE STORY OF GEORGE EMIL BANKS

Prelude to Mayhem

George's mental state continued to worsen in late 1981.  He had obtained a mail-order ordination from the Universal Life Church; however, he became angry after being rejected for religious tax exemptions by the state and picketed city hall in rebuttal.  He began to keep a meticulous diary of his thoughts and ideas.  He compiled his own list of heroes, including cult leaders Jim Jones, who directed a mass suicide; Charles Manson, who orchestrated a mass murder; and serial killer John Gacy.  Banks also had begun to collect survivalist magazines and news accounts on murder and racism.  Perhaps the most ominous of all his new hobbies was his desire to build a stockpile of guns and ammunition.  A former neighbor stated that Banks "read paramilitary magazines like Solider of Fortune, had books about making bombs, and talked frequently about starting a war.

By the summer of 1982, Banks had begun talking to fellow guards at work about committing mass killings, preparing his children for warfare, and going into the watchtower and blowing his brains out.  Upon learning this, on September 6, 1982 prison officials sent Banks home on extended sick leave to seek psychiatric help. Camp Hill authorities then contacted Luzerne-Wyoming Countys Mental Health-Mental Retardation Center in Wilkes-Barre, requesting assistance for Banks.  They scheduled a psychiatric evaluation for September 29, 1982. Kenneth Robinson, a former spokesman for Camp Hill, stated, He was removed and put on sick leave by the institution as a reaction to the incident (suicide threat).

By September 24, 1982, George was teetering on the breaking point.  He was bitter over his forced leave from work, and even more so by the custody dispute he was having with Sharon Mazzillo over Kissamayu Banks.  He wanted full control and custody over the child and was angered that Sharon would not comply.  Banks had told the judge during a preliminary custody hearing that, she (Sharon) can come and see him anytime she wants, I just want the ultimate control over his future, as far as his education and stuff is concerned.  Judge Chester B. Muroski ruled that Banks would retain custody of the child with liberal partial custody granted to Sharon.  However, even after the ruling that made Banks the child's primary care giver, Sharon would not comply with the order and kept the child to herself.  By the early morning hours of September 25, George Banks, waking from a self-induced drunken/drugged haze, lost whatever control he had left.

 

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