This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Banks will get credit for the more than 400 days in jail he’s already served.
UPDATED: 2:28 p.m.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The judge overseeing the sentencing of Jahennessy Bryant and Raymond Banks called their February 2020 robbery and shooting of Casey Bonhorst “brutal, inhumane and senseless” and issued long prison sentences to both men.
After saying an “innocent man died over a few coins” Minnehaha County Presiding Circuit Judge Robin Houwman said there’s nothing she could do to ease the pain of Casey’s family and friends. Judge Houwman, during an hour-long ruling, discredited witnesses that supported Banks’ belief that Bryant was the shooter.
For his role, Banks was sentenced to 80 years in the state prison with 20 years suspended. He’ll get credit for the more than 400 days already served.
Bryant, who was pointed to as the original shooter but cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation, was sentenced to 50 years in the state prison with 25 years suspended and credit for time served. He’s first eligible for parole halfway through his 25 years.
Last month, both Bryant and Banks pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter. You can listen to Thursday mornings sentencing in the video player above.
“Random acts of violence, such as this, impact the entire communities’ ability to feel safe, to feel secure. An innocent man, just doing his job, was gunned down in a senseless act of violence over a few coins,” Houwman said.
Judge Houwman noted Banks has been offered rehabilitation in past stints with the criminal justice system but rehabilitation hasn’t been effective. Banks is 20-years-old today, but was 18 when the shooting happened, while Bryant is 23-years-old today but was 21 when the shooting happened. She said both Banks and Bryant started smoking marijuana regularly when they 14 and cited science that pointed both Banks and Bryant could have brain development of 14-year-olds.
The judge said the amount of social media evidence in this case was staggering. There was lots of videos and photos of Bryant and Banks holding weapons and talking about robbery. One video shows Banks holding a stolen 9mm gun and Bryant discussing a robbery. Following the shooting of Bonhorst, Banks and Bryant both committed another robbery involving drugs, but Judge Houwman said treating Banks and Bryant with the same sentences was not appropriate.
During arguments in the sentencing, attorney Crystal Johnson asked the judge to sentence Banks for the maximum sentence of 60 years. Johnson said a deeper look at the gunshot wound evidence shows Banks was the true shooter in Bonhorst’s death.
Earlier court documents had pointed to Bryant as the shooter, but the state believes Banks is the one who pulled the trigger. Johnson said Bryant has cooperated with the state in the case and helped get the details correct. In exchange for Bryant’s help, Johnson said the state is only asking for 25 years of prison time with 25 years suspended.
While Bryant’s statements collaborate with the physical evidence, Banks testified he was not the shooter. Johnson said it doesn’t matter who really pulled the trigger, because the death occurred during a robbery committed and admitted to by both men.
The morning started with emotional family statements. Casey’s parents, Duwayne and Theresa Bonhorst shared how Casey was their only son. They explained how difficult it has been coping with Casey’s death. Theresa asked why Bryant and Banks would target a pizza delivery man.
Duwayne said Casey was just doing his job and added “life will never be the same.” He said justice must be served.
While arguing to prove Banks was the shooter, Johnson pointed out Banks has been in and out of the criminal justice system since he was 15. Johnson said Casey charged Banks when the gun was fired.
Johnson said Banks is right-handed, while Jahennessy Bryant is left-handed and said health experts believe the shooting came from a right hand. Banks told a friend in a text message the shooting was all in self-defense. One of the biggest pieces of evidence Johnson showed the courtroom was 40-seconds of a phone conversation Banks recently had with his girlfriend. In the video phone call, Banks jokes about getting a slice of pizza tear-drop tattoo on his body.
Johnson says Banks’ remorse and sympathy is hollow. She says Banks continues to joke about that night and wear it like a badge of honor.
Banks’ lawyer, Manuel De Castro, said the community suffered a great loss and he remembered watching the death on TV. De Castro says he makes no excuse for the phone conversation of Banks making a joke about a pizza slice. He asked Banks to be sentenced the same as Bryant.
Banks denied being the shooter. He told Casey’s family that he’s remorseful and accepts responsibility for his actions. He also said he’s not the main reason for Casey’s death. Banks portrayed Bryant as the man who decided to rob Casey and said Bryant fired the gun while Casey was at an incline.
Banks’ sister, Betty Cross, spoke in her brother’s defense. She said he had a rough childhood but that didn’t excuse his actions. She asked for people to help her brother, not sentence him to prison.
Bryant’s lawyer, Beau Blouin, said Bryant’s statements throughout the investigation have been consistent in explaining what happened, while Banks has not. Blouin emphasized Banks has always pointed the finger at Bryant. He said other witnesses have told authorities Banks has bragged about being the shooter.
Blouin said Bryant was new to Sioux Falls when he started hanging out with the only people who would accept him. Bryant, when reading a statement, said being loyal is something that means a lot to him. He said he was truly sorry to the Bonhorst family and he’ll take full responsibility for his actions. Bryant said he’d be willing to be on probation the rest of his life.
The two men accused in the shooting death of a pizza delivery driver in Sioux Falls nearly two years ago will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Minnehaha County Courthouse.
You can follow the court proceedings in the video player above and on KELOLAND’s Twitter account.
Last month, Jahennessy Bryant pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the February 2020 shooting death of Casey Bonhorst. The shooting happened around 8:40 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the area of Bragstad Drive and Cleveland Avenue.
Raymond Banks will also be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the deadly shooting.
Banks and Bryant killed Bonhorst while trying to rob him, according to court documents.
KELOLAND News will livestream audio from the courtroom and have continuing coverage on-air and online. You can hear the proceedings in the player above.