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Sins of Henry County: After Two Wrongful Convictions & the Death of Jerry Banks, a 35-year-old Cold Case is Reinvestigated Paperback – May 23, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475004931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475004939
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Two words describe this book: riveting, and scary.

I lived in Henry County when Jerry Banks was on trial, and I remember the general concensus was that Banks was innocent and was being framed, but nobody knew why or by whom. Anyone who did know was either in on it, or too scared to talk. Read this book if you want to find out. Charles Sargent did a staggering amount of research before writing this book, but if you're expecting dry nonfiction, think again. Sargent is a natural storyteller, and in his words the Banks story unfolds like he is talking to you over a cup of coffee at his kitchen table.

Jerry Banks was convicted of murder and sentenced to death twice, but was freed on what authorities at the time called a "technicality". The truth, as Charles Sargent proves, is that he was freed because determined lawyers proved the evidence against him was a sham, and that there was absolutely no evidence to warrant a third trial.

To add to the travesty, once Banks was cleared, there was no attempt to reopen the case or find the guilty parties (just like there was no real effort to find them in the first place). The murders of Marvin King and Melanie Hartsfield went unsolved, but not before an innocent man's life was destroyed. This is a cold case that needs to be reopened.

There are still people walking free, holding their heads up in what passes for society in Henry County, with blood on their hands.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very intriguing. Marvin King was a very successful high school band director in Jonesboro, Georgia, and was well known in music teacher circles throughout the southeastern United States. It was obvious to most of us that Jerry Banks was being framed for his murder, and that a massive cover-up was being orchestrated in order to hide the real facts of what happened and why. Things just didn't add up. It was hard to believe that the law enforcement agencies involved could be so incompetent, but it was a time of "good ole boy justice" in the south. If a person had enough money or power, they were above the law and could get away almost anything, even murder. Many people were too afraid of the consequences of questioning the illegal actions of those in power, and as a result just kept their mouths shut. Charles Sargent is to be commended for his bravery and tenacity in researching the facts of this case and making that information available in "Sins of Henry County". Jerry Banks was finally set free, but only after his life was ruined. The real murderer was never caught and convicted. We can only hope that there is enough public outcry to force the case to be re-opened so that justice can finally be served.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Charles L. Sargent has written a book that everyone should read and none should forget. It is (amazingly) the first book ever written about one of the most shocking perversions of criminal justice in the history of the state of Georgia. Sins of Henry County tells the true but terrifying and tragic story of an innocent man who was railroaded by corrupt police and sent to death row, and of the brutal double-murder for which he was framed--execution-style killings which remain unsolved after nearly 40 years.

The only person ever charged with or convicted of the murders was innocent. He was Jerry Banks, a 23-year old married black man with three children. The case against him was a frame-up masterminded by police--the Henry County Sheriff's Office--in charge of investigating the crime. The evidence of guilt was entirely circumstantial and, except for the ballistics evidence, extremely weak. The ballistics evidence itself was fraudulent in that it was based upon empty shells police planted at the crime scene after firing Jerry Banks' shotgun. Police who testified repeatedly committed perjury. Exculpatory evidence was suppressed by police.

Sins of Henry County admirably recounts both a horrifying perversion of criminal justice and an immense human tragedy. A talented musician and a beautiful young woman were methodically and cruelly murdered. The members of their families were devastated beyond description. An innocent man was diabolically framed, twice sentenced to electrocution, and imprisoned for years. That innocent man, driven by the horrors of his experience, ended up killing himself and his wife, leaving their three children orphans. The innocent man's family was devastated.
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By Cari S. on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be fair, I didn't finish 15% of this book. I was too distracted by the author's frequent reminders of his disability and his sideline stories about his life and his biases. It sounds like he has an interesting event for a subject and he's done extensive research. If he gets a good editor's assistance and republishes his book with a lot more focus, I would love to give the new version another chance.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and the story but the author jumped around too much. At times it was hard to keep up with the story. I was born and raise in Henry County and know a lot of people named here. I do not dout the information and even though I was just a child during this time I do remember bits and pieces. This is a very sad thing that happened to JERRY BANKS and everyone involved.My prayers go out to all of them.
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