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Amarah Banks

Wisconsin man strangles girlfriend, then 2 daughters because he didn’t want them to live without their mother

The man accused of killing a Wisconsin mother and her two young daughters last year pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

The bodies of Amarah “Jerica” Banks, 4-year-old Camaria Banks, and 5-year-old Zaniya Banks were found in a garage in Milwaukee just a day after authorities issued an Amber Alert for the two girls, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

The remains were found on February 16, 2020, a day after Banks’s boyfriend, Arzel Ivery, was taken into custody in Nashville, Tennessee, Fox 6 said. He reportedly told detectives where to find the bodies.

Banks was last seen when a relative dropped her off at her apartment at around 1 a.m. on February 8, after attending the funeral of her 1-year-old son earlier on February 7. When she didn’t show up for work the following Monday, her family became concerned and contacted police. On February 15, they issued an Amber Alert for Camaria and Zaniya.

Prosecutors said that Ivery admitted killing the three. He said that he and Banks had attended the funeral of their 1-year-old son on February 7 and that afterward, he went to work. He returned home at about 1:30 a.m. on February 8, he said, and Banks was upset with him because he had gone to work. According to the complaint against him, Banks “yelled at him that he did not care about the death of their son.”

Ivery said the two argued, and “he then grabbed Banks and pushed her head into the wall two times” before he “strangled Banks with both hands.” According to the complaint, Ivery said “he did not want the children … to live in a world where they did not have their mother” and strangled them.

Afterward, he tried to burn the bodies and left them in the Milwaukee garage.

Police said they zeroed in on Ivery, who had previously told them he did not know the location of Banks and the children, after his father called and said Ivery told him he “had killed the mother of his children and his children in Milwaukee and burned the bodies.”

Investigators quickly obtained a search warrant for the apartment, where a cadaver dog “detected an odor of decomposing remains” in the childrens’ room and investigators detected the “presence of human blood” in a closet.

After he was taken into custody, the complaint said, Ivery “admitted that he told his father he had killed Banks and the two children” and said “he planned on starting a new life in Memphis.”

Ivery is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16.

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[Feature Photo: Amarah Banks & her children/Handout]