Capital Murder Charge Dropped

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A capital murder charge has been dropped against a mentally retarded man in the death of a newborn who may never have existed.

Medell Banks, Jr., 31, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Friday in Choctaw County Circuit Court.

Banks was released from custody after he pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in the 1999 case. He served 41 months in local and state prisons.

The case took a bewildering turn when a prominent gynecologist determined the purported infant's mother, Banks' wife, could not have been pregnant at the time because her tubes had been tied.

Sources have told NewsCenter 11 the alleged mother lied about being pregnant to get out of the Choctaw County Jail when she was held on an unrelated charge.

Defense lawyers had argued that Banks was intimidated by prosecutors into confessing a role in the death of a non-existent baby.

Banks, who was scheduled to go to trial next week, hugged his lawyers as spectators leaving the courthouse shouted, quote, "Praise the Lord!"

Choctaw County Sheriff Donald Lolley, who had insisted Banks did take part in the baby's killing, declined comment.