Prosecutor Challenges Longtime Inmate's Release On Parole

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason is opposing the release of longtime prison inmate William Louis Banks.

Mason has asked the Ohio Parole Board to reverse its decision to parole the twice-convicted killer next month. Now 64, Banks has spent more time behind bars than any of Ohio's 44,582 inmates, all but eight months of the last 46 years.

If the parole board holds a hearing, it will then decide whether to uphold or reverse the recommendation of one board member and a hearing officer last month to free Banks on Dec. 21.

In a letter to the board last Tuesday, Mason recounted Banks' long criminal record, which includes the murders of William J. Cater in 1955 and David Ames in 1959; the attempted murder of Cleveland Patrolman Charles J. Tuite in 1955; and the wounding of Banks' brother, Edward, in 1973.

Banks was paroled in 1959, 1973 and 1985, but was quickly sent back to prison each time, the last time for slapping his common-law wife and threatening her relatives.

"With such a sterling record -- two killings, several assaults and three failed attempts at parole -- it is quite unlikely that Mr. Banks is the model for a rehabilitated inmate of our prison system," Mason wrote.

Parole Board spokeswoman Andrea Dean said the board has not decided whether to grant a hearing on Mason's request. If it does, representatives of Mason and Banks will be given five minutes each to address the full board at a public hearing.

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