Georgia stop leads to arrest in murder case

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imageA traffic stop in a small southwest Georgia town last week led to an arrest in the slaying of a 19-year-old man, bringing to an end an investigation of a relationship that started in a gay chat room.

Lee Carl Banks III, also 19, is on his way back to Katy, Texas after an astute Grady County sheriff’s deputy stopped Banks on March 30 as he was driving the damaged Mitsubishi Eclipse of Spenser Vogt (photo) in Cairo, Ga. Vogt was later found dead in Texas, shot twice in the head and his body wrapped in a tarp and dumped.

Police say the two men, who knew each other for less than a week prior to the killing, initially met in a gay chatroom.

Banks was stopped early in the morning of March 30. As sheriff’s deputies questioned him, they later searched the car and found a .38-caliber handgun inside. Two days later, a Texas Ranger and a homicide detective were in Cairo to interview Banks, who then said the shooting was accidental.

[Sheriff’s Investigator Steve] Clark says Banks told the Texas officers he had met Vogt in an Internet chat room about a week before his disappearance, and the two had been out together the evening of Friday, Mar. 27. That night the couple went to Banks’ apartment, where Banks claims he accidentally shot Vogt in the head. Banks told the officers he then dumped the body in a ditch in southeast Houston.

By Wednesday night, officers had found a body with multiple gunshot wounds to the head dumped and wrapped in a tarp in the area Banks described. Because the body had been there five days, authorities had to wait on a medical examiner’s report to positively identify it as Vogt.

On Monday, Banks appeared in a Grady County court, where he waived extradition. Authorities returned from Texas Tuesday to transport Banks back to the state.

Coverage of the case in the Houston Chronicle has generated scores of comments.

That is so sad. Now is the killer really gay or just out searching for people to rob and kill? Death Penalty is in order and hopefully he’ll get it!

Gay or not, this young man did not deserve this. I agree with SUEGAR who wrote “Was it really necessary to report that the two met in a gay chat room?” NO, it wasn’t. This was someone’s son.. I am sure they would give anything to have him back in their arms.

Yes. It brings out all the anti-gay crowd to the boards. Now they can use this tragic event as ammunition to further their homophobic cause. Its the same reason they publish immigrant status, race, and religion to excite the opposite crowd. Have you ever noticed 300+ comments on an immigrant crime versus >20 on a regulat crime?

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