Fern Creek shooter had 'anger and authority issues' in juvenile detention, report says
A Jefferson Circuit Court judge will decide next week whether to let Andre Banks out on probation and send him to prison for rest of 18-year sentence.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Whether he is given probation or sent to prison next week, a teen convicted last year of shooting a classmate at Fern Creek High School needs to "continue treatment for anger management and substance abuse," according to a sentencing report.
In addition, Andre Banks "needs to focus on the seriousness of his offense and the impact that it has and can have on an entire community," a counselor at the Adair Youth Development Center wrote to Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman, according to court records filed Wednesday.
Banks, 17, has been in juvenile detention centers since March, when he pleaded guilty to shooting a 15-year-old student. He was ordered to serve 18 years behind bars but must be sentenced again when he turns 18 next week.
Next Thursday, McDonald-Burkman will decide whether to give Banks probation or have him serve out the rest of his sentence in adult prison. The judge will use the sentencing report and recommendation of prosecutors in making her decision.
Prosecutors had agreed that if Banks finished his diploma and stayed out of trouble while behind bars, they would not fight his release -- giving him a second chance.
But Banks has not obtained his diploma, though he has earned some credits, according to the report. If released, the counselor said Banks plans to live with his family and earn his diploma or GED.
And Banks has had a "mix of positive and negative behavior" during his time at the Adair Youth Center, the report concluded.
Banks has struggled with anger issues, "displaying a negative attitude towards authority and rules in general," the report said. He was confined to his room three times for refusing to follow rules. And on Sept. 13, he assaulted a peer, without provocation, during a basketball game.
"I just let my anger get the best of me," Banks told officials, according to the report.
However, the report said Banks also worked hard at times "trying to understand new ways of thinking and problem solving" and "is working on becoming a more positive leader and influence for his peers as well as his younger siblings."
"Youth appears to be trying to make changes in his negative mindset and talks about how he is learning that if he wants things to be better for him and his family that it is up to him to make those changes," according to the report.
The report did not recommend whether Judge McDonald-Burkman should release Banks or send him to prison.
On March 20, Banks pleaded guilty to first degree assault, first degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a weapon on school property, possession of a handgun by a minor and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
At the time, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown said the family of the victim, Javaughntay Burroughs, wanted Banks to have a chance to become a productive citizen.
"They were not out for vengeance," she said in March. "They were out for making sure that he took responsibility and moving on with the rest of his life and not hurting anyone else."
Now, given Banks' behavior, Jones Brown said in an interview that she will object to releasing Banks.
An attorney for Banks could not be immediately reached for comment.
If released, the counselor recommended Banks continue working toward his diploma and get a job.
Banks originally told police he was trying to shoot another student after the altercation on Sept. 30, 2014, when he inadvertently hit Burroughs in the stomach. Burroughs survived the shooting.
“I shot the wrong person,” Banks told Louisville Metro Police, according to an interview filed in his case, though he expressed little regret about the mistake.
Banks told police he "got mad" because he believed another student had given him a counterfeit $100 bill in exchange for an iPad.
While he told police he was wrong for shooting someone, he said that he didn't feel too badly because the person he felt had stolen from him likely "learned his lesson though."
Javaughntay, who was hit one time in the stomach, told police Banks "missed" and hit him after arguing with another student. He said he and Banks had a class together but weren't friends.
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