Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Tuesday (April 9) secured the guilty pleas of two men whose armed robbery of a New Orleans East store in 2015 led to an accomplice being fatally shot by police.
Stepbrothers Halbert Adams (pictured above left) and Spencer Banks, both 28, averted their scheduled trials by pleading guilty before Criminal District Judge Benedict Willard. Adams pleaded guilty to armed robbery with a firearm enhancement and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. Banks, who was to serve as the getaway driver in the heist, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and received a 10-year sentence.
The defendants, along with 21-year-old Jared Johnson, attempted to rob the Dollar General at 10600 Chef Menteur Highway around 10 p.m. on April 28, 2015.
Adams and Johnson forced two employees back into the store at gunpoint just after closing and ordered them to empty cash from register tills and a timer-controlled safe. Banks waited outside, behind the wheel of Adams’ dark blue Jaguar that was to be used
in their escape.
The activity had triggered a silent alarm, however, prompting the store’s outside security company to report a robbery in progress to New Orleans police. NOPD officers converged and surrounded the store. Adams and Johnson attempted to escape through a side door, but retreated after encountering police. In a second attempt to escape through a back door, Adams managed to flee into a wooded area but Johnson was fatally shot after turning to point a gun at police.
Banks was arrested in front of the door after officers discovered him reclined behind the wheel of the Jaguar hoping to escape notice. Adams later was linked to the crime through witness statements and DNA found on evidence inside the car.
An internal investigation later determined the two NOPD officers who fired their weapons at Johnson had acted properly and that the shooting was justified. The officers’ body-worn camera video recording of the incident was released for public view in March 2016.
Assistant District Attorneys Zach Grate and Brandon Brisco prosecuted the case.
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