Prosecutor rejects Banister family request for state police investigation


Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter has denied a request by the parents of a Pine Bluff woman who was shot to death in 2012 to have the Arkansas State Police take another look at the case.

Sheila Banister called Hunter on Friday morning and asked Hunter to have the state police examine the case, but Hunter declined.

“In order to do that, I would have had to have some basis for making the request and in this case I don’t,” Hunter said Friday afternoon.

Hunter ruled that Ryan Bishop was justified in using deadly physical force when he shot and killed Tashara Banister, 22, on June 26, 2012.

In a two-page statement issued last week, Hunter said evidence collected by police established that Banister was committing an aggravated robbery, which is a felony involving violence or force.

“Therefore, Bishop was justified under (Arkansas Code Statute) 5-2-607 in using deadly physical force,” Hunter said in the statement.

Hunter said he based his decision on the investigative file, evidence and witness statements collected by police.

“If there were things that I thought needed to be done, I’m sure the police department would have done them,” he said.

Friday morning, Sheila Banister said she was not satisfied with the investigation by Pine Bluff police, and felt there was a “conflict of interest,” because Bishop’s father is a former police officer. Her husband, Vincent Banister, went further, saying “the young man’s daddy was a former cop and police all cover up for one another.”

Sheila Banister also said she had looked at the police report and there “were holes in it.”

“Number one, there were no fingerprints on the gun,” she said. “He admitted using the gun to kill my daughter. Why were there no fingerprints?”

Sheila Banister also said she believes material was left out of the investigative file, including an interview with Tashara Banister’s roommate, who allegedly told police that Bishop had been to their residence to buy drugs and picked up Banister the night she was killed.

“There are still things that have not come out,” Sheila Banister said, adding that she thinks her daughter was “stereotyped.”

Tashara Banister was black. Bishop, then 20, is white.

In his statement, Hunter said Bishop called Banister on June 26, 2012, and arranged to meet her to buy cocaine. One of Banister’s sisters confirmed that call and Banister told the sister to “take me to hit this lick.”

“According to Bishop, when Banister got in his truck, she pulled out a gun, demanded his wallet and money and directed him to an ATM at Simmons Bank on West 28th Street,” Hunter said. “While leaving the initial location, Banister saw her sisters in another car and motioned for them to follow.

“Bishop pulled up to the ATM as directed and attempted to withdraw cash, even though he had no money in the bank,” Hunter said. “While at the ATM, Banister placed the gun on the seat as she went through Bishop’s wallet. Bishop grabbed the gun and a struggle ensued for the gun as Banister leaned across the driver’s side of the truck, grabbing the wrist of Bishop and forcing him out the driver’s side window. The truck began to roll forward and during the struggle over the gun, Bishop fired the gun four times, striking Banister three times and killing her.”

As to Hunter’s statement that Banister was attempting to rob Bishop when she was shot, Vincent Banister said “she didn’t have to rob nobody. Any time she wanted something she came to me.”

Vincent Banister also complained that while Detective Jerry Lambert (who is black) worked on the case, “there were also white detectives who worked on the case.”

“She’s dead and can’t talk and they got what they wanted,” he said.

Sheila Banister also questioned how her daughter could have been shot on the right side when she was in the passenger seat of Bishop’s truck.

“Kyle Hunter is not looking at this like I am,” she said. “I think we deserve a second opinion.”

“This is a long way from being over,” she said. “I’m a mother who is trying to seek justice for her daughter and get Ryan Bishop prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Vincent Banister said the family is “going to continue until we get answers.”