Hearing in armed robbery case delayed again

Damon Banks

LANCASTER – The preliminary hearing for a man charged with robbing three Lancaster restaurants within a two-hour span was postponed, once again.

Damon Banks appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Thursday, but his preliminary hearing was postponed until August 6 because his private defense attorney was engaged in another trial.

Banks and 27-year-old Lee Vance McQuilkin are accused of robbing Little Caesars, Wienerschnitzel and Subway, between 7 and 9 p.m., on Sunday, June 10. In each case, two men walked into the restaurant, held the employees at gunpoint, demanded money from the register and then escaped on foot, sheriff’s officials said. The crimes were caught on surveillance video.

On June 22, Banks was charged with five counts of robbery, and a $300,000 felony warrant was issued for his arrest. Banks turned himself in on July 3 and has been in custody since.

Family members insist Banks had nothing to do with the robberies and was not in Lancaster when the crimes occurred. They believe the incident is a case of mistaken identity.

Banks’ preliminary hearing was originally set for July 17, but that hearing was rescheduled to July 26 at the request of both the prosecution and the defense.

Banks’ defense attorney, Stephen King, said prosecutors had agreed to take a closer look at the evidence to determine if the district attorney’s office would continue to proceed with the case. King also said he would be reviewing information from “GPS tracking devices and cell phone tower technology” in an attempt to prove that Banks was well outside of Lancaster during the times of the robberies.

King was not present Thursday, but prosecutors turned over several compact discs of discovery to King’s stand-in.

Before Banks was taken back into custody, he pleaded with Superior Court Judge Christopher Estes to reduce his bail.

“I’m in jeopardy of losing my job as of August 1,” Banks said.

His request was denied and he was ordered back to custody on $300,000 bail. Banks is due back in court on August 6.

See previous related stories:

Hearing postponed in armed robbery case

Armed robbery suspect pleads not guilty

Armed robbery suspect arrested

Two sought in armed robberies of three restaurants

Armed robbers hold up three fast food restaurants in two-hour span

  40 comments for “Hearing in armed robbery case delayed again

  1. really
    July 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    There are a lot of people who are mistaking their own opinion for facts. Also this case is moving along just like any other, these things take time to sort out. Too many people on this site are ready to set the man free with nothing more than gossip and conjecture as their basis. Have faith in the system, justice will be served in the end. And stop making it a race issue he was I.D.’d by somebody. How do we know the witness isnt black as well? Surely if he goes to trial there will be blacks on the jury. People are missing the most basic thing… that the guy may be guilty….

    • Vexed
      July 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Really, here you are again with the race thing. I personally believe the comments posted here are probably the most none bias statements I’ve observed in a while. There has been concerns for the victims as well as the defendant voiced here. However, if there wasn’t a history of the innocent being falsely accused as a result of good ole detective work, then I really feel there wouldn’t be so many concerns. You’ve had your say time and time of again. We all have an opinion and a right to be concerned so shut up. Have faith in the system? give me a break. Wasn’t there a young woman who was falsely accused and acquitted November of last year? There have been numerous others and in retrospect the so probable cause was bull. Yes, we have a right to be concerned about this case. Your thinking is so one sided.

    • Letlow
      July 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

      I actually agree with you here. More than likely Damon was ID’d by one of the employees and that’s why he sits in jail now. It wouldn’t be that hard to ID Damon as the robber.

      In fact, he looks very similar to the pics I saw of a forgery suspect and another robbery suspect on this site, but that obviously could not have been him because he was in jail by then.

      He cannot be released based on the word of his family. That’s just not how the system works.

      I do believe his first attorney should have argued to have his bail lowered at his arraignment. More than likely he had a public defender then who didn’t give two sh*ts about the case.

      A $300K bail is too steep for a man gainfully employed with ties to a community who is obviously not a flight risk, and most importantly, a man who turned himself in.

      His public defender should have told the court those things at his first arraignment, but I doubt he/she did. More than likely his family had to choose between dropping 30 grand for bail or putting it toward a good defense attorney. That’s the travesty here, that Damon sits in jail and loses his job because he can’t afford bail. Again, where is the NAACP and TCAL on helping this man raise money for bail?

      Anyone? ANYONE????

      • July 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        Now that you mention it ,Damon could be mistaken for deon fite. The guy accused of robbi.g valero

    • July 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Mr. Really I agree. If Damon is guilty then justice has been served. On the other hand, if Damon is innocent then how can you consider his current situation justice? @letlow and Casey. I looked up Deon Fite Im not saying Deon is the true culprit . However although Damon is better looking then Deon, I can see how the two can be mixed up.

      • Vexed
        July 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        Looking back he also resembles the Asian fellow accused in the June 28th robbery. And then those fellows resemble the guys in the videos released of the May 24th Little Caesar’s robbery. I still have to ask why the videos were never released of Banks if the robberies occurred June 10th and his DL pic wasn’t in the av times until June 25th? The videos were released of all the other robberies in a matter of days, but not the one’s in which Banks was allegedly involved. Isn’t it fair to assume if it took 15 days to so-call ID Banks why weren’t the videos released to assist in identifying him. To date, the videos are still a mystery. The detective work was very uncharacteristic in comparison with the other robberies. This is all too much to sort out, but I hope the DA is seeing what some of us see. I’m not saying all these guys are innocent or guilty but the detectives stated they ID banks via surveillance tapes and good ole detective work. I honestly hope this wasn’t a deliberate attempt to get Banks locked away knowing they couldn’t ID him in the videos and had insufficient evidence. Better yet, maybe they thought Banks would have a Public Defender who would go along to get along. I truly believe if this case gets to court more than Banks’ innocence will be exposed.

        • really
          July 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

          Your opinions and thoughts are valid however, there are many answers to the things that puzzle you. If the police are tracking down leads and trying to watch somebody they wont release video or photos. And I am not saying the man is innocent or guilty, but there are 3 robberies he is charged with. I’m sure multiple people id’d him. And if thats the case what would the public say if the police didnt arrest him?

          • Vexed
            July 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

            If there are many answers then please Mr Really indulge me. On May 24th per the av times there were multiple robberies in a single night and no hesitation to release videos. Please don’t insult me and those who suspect this is a bogus charge by daring to claim these robberies were somehow different than the ones that occurred before and after June 10th.

          • really
            July 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

            Ok ill indulge you, if you have no leads you ask for the publics help, if you have leads you work them and keep it out of the media. There are witnesses who id’d the guy, the cops cant just pull the guy out of thin air and get a filing without witness id. Also the people have no burden to present their evidence in the court of public opinion. All I am saying is settle down at let the court sort it out. There has been no evidence submitted by the family that exonerates him so why are people so viamently protesting his innocence? More than likely it is simply because they are the type of people who have no belief in our government and think that because 1% of the time there is injustice that it most occur in every case.

          • Vexed
            July 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

            Mr. Really, if you are going to look at percentages than please don’t focus on government lets look at our own little place, Lancaster. I have watch too many cases in Lancaster where defendants are badly represented by pubic defenders. Where is the fairness? Why should I have blind faith. The family has been clear the they feel this is a case of mistaken identity. I however, feel differently. Your reasons as to why videos weren’t released is bull. What about the other suspect accused in this case. Why haven’t the videos been released? Maybe the detective are staking him out or waiting for an opportune time to grab him. Please give me a break. If remember correctly, Banks wasn’t captured, he walked into the police station to address the allegation. I don’t know of guilty man that would do the same unless they are mental unstable. I will support that young man until I know different. I love Lancaster, but I’d be a fool to think Lancaster loves me. The injustices here are not behind me but ahead. I don’t expect you to agree; It’s easy to believe in a system that has not violated you or yours.

  2. Raptorman
    July 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Who you goin to believe? The picture with your own eyes or what his family says?

    Never mind, if the state can prove its case, good. If they can’t, they need to find out who did it.

    • Just saying
      July 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

      That’s the point, it’s not Banks in the video! This is a trumped up mess. My concern is, if the prosecution was willing to let this thing get this far in lieu of just acknowledging they have the wrong man and dropping this whole thing, than there must be other factors motivating the system to keep an innocent man behind bars. God forbid if anyone ask the question, it this racially motivated; But what else can you call it. The family can keep the faith if the like, but if this young man was my kid, I’d contact the US Attorneys Office and have them look at this mess before it even gets to trial. The guy is going to lose his job and I can’t guess how much has and will be spent on the defense attorney. Going to trail shouldn’t even be a consideration. If the defense attorney is a good as Michelle Egberts claims, Banks should be home following the prelim.

      • Michelle Egberts
        July 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        @ Just Saying… Unfortunately the U.S. Attorneys Office and/or the State of California Department of Justice has no authority to interfere with an individual with “pending litigation”. In addition, the role of the role of the Office of the Attorney General is to represent the State of California in criminal appellant cases and to advocate that convictions be upheld.

        The case may be dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing if the prosecution fails to show sufficient evidence to believe that the charges were committed. However, the threshold is VERY LOW at Preliminary Hearing. Whereas at Trial, it is a whole different story… it is PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

        Just remember… deputies do not always tell the truth and cannot be trusted blindly just because they wear a badge. Yes, they come to court in uniforms with badges confirming their power and authority. They are not beyond reproach, contrary to the reception they often receive from jurors when they testify in criminal cases. Law enforcement witnesses are not infallible, and often embellish or fabricate in order to get a conviction. But they get caught in their tangled lies by experienced defense attorneys such as Stephen King.

        There are avenues for Damon and his family to take once his case is thoroughly adjudicated and is ACQUITTED for False Arrest and False Imprisonment etc…

      • Raptorman
        July 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

        Learn to read!

        I said; “Never mind, if the state can prove its case, good. If they can’t, they need to find out who did it.”

        It is incumbant upon the state to prove its case, if they cannot prove their case, they need to continue to investigate further.

        Do you have a problem with reading comprehension?

        • Yep
          July 31, 2012 at 8:28 pm

          Raptoman, your written words are confusing to say the least. You made reference to pictures. So look back at your post. Better yet, do me a favor and copyright your posts before someone steals them. Now that’s sarcasm. You written communication is as fragmented and your thought process.

      • Delron
        August 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

        Just saying, have you even seen the surveillance tapes? If not, then STFU!

    • Yep
      July 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Raptoman, the way you speak seems like you may be a witness. ” Who you goin to believe? The picture with your own eyes or what his family says?”, was your statement. I hope you are not foolish enough to be posting here. You sound a bit defensive and that can hurt your credibility down the road. I don’t think any video related to this case were ever placed in the news paper.

      • Raptorman
        July 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

        Did you read my entire original statement?

        Sarcasm is lost on some people! Jeesh!

    • idunno
      July 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      The restaurant owners and its employees that were present during the robberies have been violated. Nothing to refute there. Often times the police and DA office want to bring the victims justice that they fail to adequately evaluate evidence and prosecute innocent people. The victim usually believes the officers selected a particular person for a valid reason and goes along with the officers option.@Michelle the bourden of proof should be set at a higher threshold for preliminary hearings.Especially if an officer testimony is all thats needed at a pre trial hearing.

      • Yep
        July 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

        Idunno, I agree. Still, I really don’t believe the detectives put much effort in their investigation if the man is innocent. I recall in the first article that was printed following the first preliminary hearing that was postponed, the DA hadn’t even reviewed the videos. Yet, he/she signed the arrest warrant. So basically, the DA signed a warrant based on witnesses who may have criminal records themselves and the word of detectives who are motivated to close a case. Yes, the burden of proof should be set higher at a preliminary hearing, but DAs should ask the appropriate questions and view so-called evidence prior to placing their stamp of approval on warrants. Probable cause should warrant verification. There are so many individuals in this case who should be held accountable for disrupting that man’s life. Unbelievable.

        • Delron
          August 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

          You have no clue WHAT evidence the DA reviewed or didn’t review prior to signing off on the arrest warrant, outside of a quote FROM THE GUY’S DEFENSE ATTORNEY in a news article here where he claimed the DA/Prosecutor hadn’t seen the tapes.

          That doesn’t mean the DA/prosecutor hadn’t seen the tapes, it’s just a claim from the defense attorney! No doubt the DA/Prosecutor has/had seen enough to sign off on the arrest warrant – no prosecutor/DA is going to waste their time on cases that aren’t open and shut – they are in it to win cases and have their winning % be as high as possible.

      • Michelle Egberts
        July 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        @Idunno… I agree with you as the burden of proof should be higher at a Preliminary Hearing. I feel there must be rational ground, and the court should conscientiously entertain a stronger suspicion of guilt than a very low threshold.

        There are many victims of crime in this particular situation in which you referred to, i.e. business owners and employees. If they falsely identified Damon Banks by feeling pressured by law enforcement and Damon is vindicated, they could face lawsuits.

        For the employees that were victims of these robberies it can be a frightening and traumatic experience that often carries with it physical, emotional, or financial harm. Many victims have questions about whom they can turn to and where they can go for help. When it comes to fonancial assistance, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov or CalVCP Helpline 1-800-777-9229 may provide needed compensation to help cover treatment and other support services for victims and their families.

        With the victims in mind, this website (www.vcgcb.ca.gov) aims to provide access to valuable information and resources to ensure victims are supported through this critical time. The Victim Compensation Program can help victims and family members of victims for such crimes as: Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Assault, Sexual Assault, Molestation, Homicide, Robbery, Drunk Driving, and Vehicular Manslaughter.

        As much as the media tends to focus on sensationalizing criminals, with “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality and not reminding society that just because an individual has been arrested, charged with a crime, it is NOT evidence that the charge is true.

        It would be nice for our community to see a feature story done in our local media on the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board so their readers know that there is help for them if they are victims of crime or know someone who is.

        • idunno
          July 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm

          @banks family contact the innocence project and larger news organizations such kcal ,kcop,fox, la times etc

          • Michelle Egberts
            July 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

            The Innocence Project is an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals. Mr Banks and his family have an excellent attorney in Stephen A. King who is all too familiar with the total misconduct that occurs in Lancaster and will do justice in representing this young man.

            Perjury, faulty witness identification and prosecutorial misconduct are the LEADING reasons for WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS. Lets not forget law enforcement acts of violation of constitutional rights, fabrication of charges, fabrication of evidence, fabrication of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause, illegal search/seizure, false arrest, dishonesty, writing of false police reports, planting of evidence, false or misleading internal reports…

            Innocent suspects plead guilty through “plea bargains” offered by the prosecution to avoid the risk of more serious punishment or cases that have been dismissed because of legal error without new evidence of innocence, represent only a fraction of the problem in the criminal justice system.

            What this shows is that the criminal justice system makes mistakes, and they are more common than people think. It is not the rule, but they won’t learn to get better unless we pay attention to these types of cases and the individuals involved in the misconduct. Why should law enforcement and prosecutors change their habits if they aren’t held accountable and disciplined for their misconduct?

            Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not merely score convictions.

          • July 30, 2012 at 9:43 am

            Nothing else to say to your post ,but amen. At the end of the day District attorneys and officers are people. Thet have their own motives behind their actions. Police recieve credit for how many arrests they make and th prosecution are credited by how many convictions they hold on their records. I hope Banks case illuminates current areas within our judicial system that require reform.

    • Hmmm
      July 29, 2012 at 9:03 am

      I will believe the pictures over a family that is willing to lie for one of their own!

      • July 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        What pictures? I would like to see video survallence of Banks posted on this site or released to the media. Can you explain what pictures you are referring to? I have reviewed the previous articles the only pictures sheriffs released was Damon drivers license photo.

  3. Shawn riot
    July 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    28 year old Damon Banks. He turned 8 on July 7 th while behind bars.(Minor detail.)

    • Shawn riot
      July 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm


  4. carol shoemaker
    July 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Free Damon Banks!

    • Delron
      August 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Only if he’s innocent!

  5. Just saying
    July 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I can’t believe that the prosecution is just turning over the video disc to the defense. Is that standard practice to produce videos at a preliminary hearing. Not much time for the defense. Did the DA see those videos prior to issuing the arrest warrant for Banks? There something very wrong with this case. Seems like they are trying to build a house out of straws. Just release the guy.

    • Michelle Egberts
      July 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Yes, it is called “discovery”. In which by law the prosecutor has to give the defence any evidence it is using to prosecute Damon Banks. At the Preliminary Hearing, after the prosecution has put on it’s witnesses (usually the arresting/investigating officers) the defense attorney will cross examine and the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to bound him over for trial.

      Now, I can personally attest that the defense attorney, Stephen King is an exceptional attorney who recently represented me in my two trials and I was found not guilty by my jurors. Mr. King is a very thorough attorney and will bring “due justice” to this young man and his family.

      I can empathize with Mr. Banks family as I know what its like to be falsely accused and have to wait for the judicial process to play out. However, you have the GREATEST attorney representing Damon, and believe me, he’s in good hands with him. Be strong, be patient and know that our judicial system does work when the jurors see the obvious truth… take no “plea bargains” for reduced sentence in exchange for a plea… GO TO TRIAL Mr. Banks!

  6. Letlow
    July 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

    What happened to the other suspect in this case? Have the cops given up on finding Lee McQuilkin? Finding him should be key to seeing if the two men know each and were partners in this crime.

    From reading this article I gather that Damon would have spent more than one month in the slammer by the time his prelim rolls around. Terrible predicament if he really didn’t do it. And he will lose his job on top of that. What is the recourse for this????

    • Letlow
      July 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

      And another thing, WHERE is TCAL and the NAACP on this?? So far, not a word from either? Somebody do something!!!

      • Adam Chant
        July 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        Seriously! If there was ever a case of a ‘community action league’ helping a person out this would be it.

        Here is a imponderable question:
        You have bail set at $300,000 and you only have around $30,000 in money available to you in all; Do you post bail or get an attorney?

    • July 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      This case reveals major holes within our judicial system. I can only imagine how many innocent people are behind bars because they could not afford an attorney or bail.

  7. Whoever
    July 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Oh now they decide to check if he was in town using “GPS tracking devices and cell phone tower technology.” Meanwhile, he loses his job and is in jail. Guess he won’t need a job after he gets done suing everyone involved.

    • hm
      July 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      looks like his attorney isnt too concerned about all those issues tho..or else he would have shown up in court..

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