LIMA — A 25-year-old Pickerington man charged with murder in the December 2018 shooting death of Lima resident Anthony Bankston pleaded guilty to reduced charges Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Jemonte McNeal was sentenced by Judge Terri Kohlrieser to 14 years in prison for for causing the death of Bankston, whose body was found outside an after-hours establishment at 904 S. Main St. in Lima in late December 2018. Three other persons were injured in that shooting.
McNeal had previously been indicted by a grand jury 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. He accepted a deal from prosecutors Thursday that called for him to plead guilty to an amended count of involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree, and a new charge of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony,
Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Sturgill called Bankston’s death “another senseless loss of life by a member of this community.” The woman who raised Bankston went even further in asking for an end to the gun violence in Lima.
Necole Brownlow described herself as Bankston’s aunt/mother, saying she raised the Lima man from the time he was 6 months of age. She also witnessed his death and hopes to save other mothers from a similar fate.
“All this gun violence has to stop,” Brownlow told the court. “We shouldn’t have to bury our kids at such an early age.”
Bankston was 25 years of age when he was gunned down in what was described as an alcohol-fueled altercation among members of two families.
“I just wish everything would stop; the gun violence … the killing. We’ve got to stop this,” Brownlow continued. “There’s a better way to handle these things other than guns. If we don’t come together as a community and get our city back, this gun violence is going to keep going on. We’ve got to tell our kids to put down these guns and pick up a book.”
McNeal spoke briefly prior to being sentenced, saying only that “there’s nothing I can say that will change what happened, but I’m truly sorry for what happened.”
Kohlrieser sentenced McNeal to 11 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and three years on the tampering with evidence count, then ordered the sentences to be served consecutively.
Sturgill, who said the deal offered to McNeal was made in consultation with Bankston’s family, said the resolution “is what we think is best in this case.”
Rasheign Tisdale, 24, of Lima, was initially taken into as a suspect in the shooting death of Bankston. He later pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premises, a felony of the third degree, and carrying a concealed weapon and theft, felonies of the fourth- and fifth-degrees, respectively. Tisdale was sentenced to 48 months behind bars.