Columbus murder suspect chooses not to make court appearance after allegedly killing father and son

Columbus murder suspect chooses not to make court appearance after allegedly killing father and son

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus murder suspect waived his initial court hearing after being charged with the murder of a father and his 3-year-old son.

37-year old Antonio “Tony” Willis pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder after being accused of shooting and killing 41-year old Joseph “Jo-Jo” Banks and his 3-year old son.

According to Columbus police, they were called to the scene of an abandoned house on Stuart Dr. where they found Banks and his son dead in the front yard.

Police say Banks and his son were staying at the Colony Inn on Victory Dr. when surveillance video saw Banks, his son and Willis get into a white Ford pick up truck the night before.

Columbus detectives say evidence shows they were shot inside of the truck and several witnesses were able to identify seeing them get into the truck.

“The next time Mr. Banks and [his son] are seen is at the scene. The other individual inside the vehicle was identified by witnesses that were present at the Colony Inn,” said one Columbus detective.

The truck was later found on Henry Drive.

Police say Willis fled from Columbus to Atlanta where he tried to sell a firearm police believe to have been used in the shooting.

“It was discovered that while Mr. Willis was in Atlanta the day after, there were witnesses in Atlanta that indicated to investigators that Mr. Willis was trying to sell them, in Atlanta, a ruger 9MM,” said a Columbus detective.

Court testimony revealed Willis told police he walked to Groome Transportation from his location, which police say would have taken him almost five hours, but he ended up there in just two hours.

Police say Willis was homeless and was picked up in Atlanta and brought back to Columbus.

Because of the nature of the crime, Willis was given no bond and his case will go to Superior Court.

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