LIMA — A Columbus-area man charged with murder in the December 2018 shooting death of Lima resident Anthony Bankston made a brief appearance Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Jemonte McNeal, 25, of Pickerington, sat quietly and did not speak as his attorney, Jon Paul Rion, discussed with prosecutors and Judge Terri Kohlrieser the merits of a defense motion filed last month that seeks to suppress certain pieces of evidence in the case.
McNeal is scheduled to stand trial beginning March 2 on two counts of murder with three-year firearm specifications, both unclassified felonies, and one count of felonious assault with a three-year firearm specification, a felony of the second degree, in connection with Bankston’s death.
The indictment returned by a grand jury alleges that McNeal purposely caused the death of Bankston, 25, of Lima, who was found dead Dec. 29 on the sidewalk outside a known after-hours establishment at 904 S. Main St. that at one time housed a bar known as The Alamo. Three other persons were injured in that shooting.
Several items were submitted to the court by prosecutors Thursday that are at the heart of Rion’s objections. Those included search warrants — and the affidavits prepared and submitted to the court by law enforcement officials that were used to determine the probable cause for issuing the warrants — for McNeal’s Facebook account and his cell phone history.
Other evidence the defense attorney is seeking to quash includes three videotaped conversations between McNeal and Lima Police Department officials. One of those tapes was made from a LPD cruiser during McNeal’s transport from Columbus to Lima following his arrest there.
Two of the other videos captured interviews with McNeal by LPD detectives on March 8 and March 11 of this year.
Kohlrieser said the evidence being contested by Rion will be submitted to Judge Jeffrey Reed, who issued the search warrants that are being contested, for a ruling on the admissibility of the evidence gleaned as a result of those warrants.
The state was given until Jan. 10 to submit written arguments on the evidence and the defense was granted an additional week to respond to the state’s filing.