YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The lead detective in the case of a man accused of killing his girlfriend on the West Side in 2019 testified Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the defendant had called the victim 10 times in an eight hour time period.
In fact, Detective Sgt. Michael Lambert of the Youngstown Police Department said Kyle Rice, 31, was able to make calls to 28-year-Daneuka Bankston, even after she blocked his number.
Lambert said that Bankston was getting her hair done by her sister in the hours before the gunshot wounds that led to her death and she tried to block Rice from calling her, but he was still able to get through.
“He blocked her block,” Lambert testified.
Rice is charged with aggravated murder for the February 2019 shooting death of Bankston, who was shot in front of the youngest of the three children the couple shared as they argued in Bankston’s Oregon Avenue apartment.
The other two children the couple had as well as Bankston’s sister were also present when she was shot.
Bankston died on Feb. 12, 2019 a few days after she was shot in the head on Feb. 8.
Jury selection and opening statements took place Monday before Judge Anthony Donofrio.
Lambert also said that he never had a suspect other than Rice and that was because of interviews he had with witnesses in the case.
During opening statements Monday, defense attorney Doug Taylor told jurors his client did not plan to kill Bankston. Jurors would have to find that Rice did have a plan to kill her in order to find him guilty of aggravated murder, which carries a stronger sentence than a sentence of straight murder.