Frederick and Deborah Banks provided peaceful and loving lives for their three daughters Latonya, Avis and Fredreana in Vicksburg, Mississippi. However, their idyllic close brotherhood would be destroyed when one of them chose the wrong life partner.
The girl in the middle, Avis, was a bookworm who dreamed of creating an affordable daycare. She made her family proud by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in child development from Aukland State University in 2001. She was the first in the family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Older sister Latonya got married in September.
After graduating, Avis started working as an assistant director at a daycare to help learn more about the daycare industry as she one day wanted to open her own daycare.
A year and a half later, Fredreana and Avis were training at the gym when Keyon Pittman, 29, approached them and started flirting with Avis. He said he was a teacher, was in school, and worked part-time as a bartender in a Mexican restaurant.
Avis was impressed that Keyon was a hard worker and continued to take an interest in him. Soon she invited him to meet his parents. Six months after they met, Keyon and Avis moved in together, which shocked his family.
In 2006, Avis announced that she was pregnant. She was living in a beautiful house with Keyon and was working on her masters degree, which she had almost completed. That year everyone went to Latonya for Thanksgiving. At dinner, Keyon’s phone kept ringing and he left the house to talk. He said it was his mother on the phone. Eventually the phone calls stopped. Avis had a strange, worried look on her face that made Fredreana feel like something was wrong.
The girls were supposed to go shopping for Black Friday, but the next day Kayon woke up early and said he and Avis had to visit his mother. It was the last time Avis’s family had seen her.
On November 29, 2006, police received a 911 call from a neighbor claiming that a man had killed his wife. Officers found Avis lying on the floor in the garage. Keyon was bent over sobbing.
Keyon had called Avis’ family and told them that “something had happened to Avis.”
Police discovered that drawers were pulled out everywhere and the bathroom cabinet doors were open. It seemed like a burglary, but nothing seemed to have been taken. Police suspected it was a false burglary.
Avis had received four punches and bullets, including in the abdomen area. Detectives believed it was a personal crime committed by someone who intended to kill both Avis and the child she was pregnant with.
Keyon claimed he had returned from basketball practice and found Avis dead. When questioned by detectives, Keyon seems more concerned with himself than his late girlfriend.
Gunshot residue was found on Keyon’s clothes, but these are only tiny traces that could be explained by Keyon holding Avis when he found her. Because of this, they ruled out Keyon as their suspect.
They spoke with the principal and other workers at Keyon’s school. A woman came in sobbing, it was a woman named Carla Hughes who was a language arts teacher at the school. They asked her if she was crying about Avis, but she said she was upset by what happened to Keyon.
Detectives also learned that he enjoyed his part-time job as a bartender because he had met a lot of women. Carla Hughes was a regular customer of the Mexican restaurant where he worked. She was more than a client and a colleague, however, Carla and Keyon were dating. Carla’s connection to Keyon made her suspicious, but she claimed she was at home the night of Avis’ murder.
Keyon shocked Avis’ family by attending his funeral. They hadn’t wanted him there because of what they found out about his cheating, and the family also suspected Keyon of the murder. He started screaming at the funeral and Latonya fought back.
In December 2006, a man named Patrick Nash told police he loaned Carla Hughes a gun and knife. When he gave her the gun, it contained five rounds. When she returned it, the gun was empty. Carla said she trained on target. Patrick gave the gun to the police, which matched the bullets that killed Avis.
Police searched Carla’s home and found pictures of Keyon everywhere. They also found blood spatter on part of Carla’s shoes. They used the cell phone tower recordings to place Carla at Avis on the night of the murder, not Carla’s.
Carla has been charged with two counts of capital murder. In October 2009, Carla was put on trial. Keyon testified in court that he never wanted to be with Carla long term and that it was just sex.
Carla had broken into Avis’ house and was waiting for her to come home from work. She ambushed him in her garage after the garage door crashed.