The charges against one of the men charged in the shooting death of 34-year-old Calvin Kentrell Banks in the summer of 2009, has received a dead docket, meaning the case will not move forward at this time.
Daniel Adams, now 25, was shot during the murder of Banks when several people were exchanging gunfire. According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Anne Kurtz, "What we know for sure is that only Adams and Larry Grison Jr. [another defendant in the case] had guns. We are not sure what gun the bullet(s) came from because the projectile remained in his body and the wound to his arm was through and through."
As a result of the gunshot wounds, Adams was paralyzed from the waist down. He was taken to Texas where his adopted brother lived and was placed in various nursing homes. However, according to Kurtz, the relationship between he and his family in Texas became strained and he was taken from Texas to Louisiana where he had biological family. He was arrested in the hospital in Louisiana after a check on him from law enforcement showed what they believed was improvement in his condition, since he was able to sit in a wheelchair. From there he was taken to South Carolina where he was arrested to the Columbia Regional Care Center, a special facility that deals with inmates who suffer from severe medical issues.
"His health situation was so grave that we determined it was not cost-effective to house him in the Newton County Detention Center," explained Sheriff Ezell Brown in an email. "Therefore, he was extradited from one state to another, costing the county more than $100,000 (but saving much more). This sounds like a huge expenditure. However, it was much smaller than what we would have spent on 24-hour security, a full-time nurse and the possibility of costly specialized medical treatments. Bringing him back to Newton County would have resulted in a price tag of more than a half million dollars."
In January, Kurtz, along with Adams' attorney Bryan Frost, made a trip to South Carolina to assess Adams' physical and mental condition in an effort to see how to move forward with the case.
"I don't think any of us were prepared for how bad of shape he was actually in," Kurtz said in an email.
Adams had been receiving advanced medical care around the clock but was still in very poor condition. Kurtz spoke with Adams' doctors, nurses and psychologist and the prognosis was grim. His paralysis is permanent, he cannot move his legs or control his bowels, his legs are covered in decubitus ulcers [bed sores] - some down to the bone - and requires large regular doses of antibiotics from the continuous infections he gets. His left arm and leg are severely contracted despite several surgeries attempting to fix them and because of the painful ulcers he is on a high dosage of pain medication and must be rolled from side to side every few hours.
"Because of the defendant's physical condition, the State will not be able to further proceed with the prosecution of this case," Kurtz said in the email. "The defendant cannot be in court for the amount of hours that would be required to complete the full trial of this case. The defendant would require special medical transportation to and from the courthouse every day and could not adequately be housed on breaks in the holding cell due to his paralysis.
Additionally, medical personnel would be required to be in the courtroom at all times due to his wounds needing regular cleaning, his diaper and urine bag needing to be changed and him needing to be rolled over from side to side to avoid further deterioration of his skin every few hours."
Kurtz also cited the "extraordinary costs associated with the defendant's continued incarceration and required medical treatment" as another reason to not move forward with the case, saying the case would be "financially crippling to the NCSO," and a strain on the state as well in order to keep him incarcerated.
"The State also believes that a conviction would be difficult to obtain based on the outcomes of the previous two trials of the co-defendants which resulted in an acquittal on the murder in [Ricky Lamont] Matthews and a mistrial on Grison for the murder and the armed robbery. Furthermore, putting all costs aside, the State believes it will be unlikely to obtain a conviction based on the likely sympathy prospective jurors would have for defendant in his current physical condition," Kurtz said.
District Attorney Layla Zon explained that a dead docket does not get rid of a case and that if Adams health were to improve in the future, the charges and the case could be revived.
Adams was returned to Louisiana with some of his biological family members.
According to Kurtz the victim's family was kept abreast of the situation and explained why the case was being dead docketed.
"The Banks family was very hopeful that we would be able to proceed with the case against Adams," said Kurtz. "We explained the situation to them and why continuing any further with the prosecution would not be feasible."