Pretrial Hearing in Banks Case

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Attorneys seeking to throw out a capital murder charge against a mentally retarded man were back in court Thursday in Butler, Ala.

The case involves Medell Banks, who initially pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a newborn that his lawyers say didn't even exist.

A state appeals court threw out the conviction last year and sent the case back to Choctaw County, where the original capital murder charge was reinstated.

Today prosecutors called state investigator Stan Stabler as a witness. He took Banks' confession after giving him a lie detector exam in 1999.

Stabler, of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, was one of at least 20 people who heard all or part of Banks' alleged confession. He testified he read Banks his Constitutional rights, which he said Banks understood.

Stabler also said Banks was not threatened or coerced in any way. He told the court that Banks gave a statement and drew a map of where the newborn was buried. Stabler's testimony was allowed over the objections of Banks' attorneys.

Circuit Judge Thomas Baxter must decide whether Banks' confession can be allowed as evidence in his upcoming trial, scheduled to begin next week.