ATLANTA - The murder of a civic leader shocked Atlanta. Police caught the teen they said is responsible, but they never spelled out why Barney Simms was shot dead until a court hearing on Tuesday.
Investigator Kyle Kleinhenz, said 17-year-old defendant Eric Banks confessed to an aunt and told her he acted out because Simms "came on to him" both verbally and physically. The packed courtroom was quiet as details of a brief encounter between Banks and Simms were explained to a judge.
Banks also confessed to police and said he met Simms two days before the April 9 violence. At the first meeting, Banks said the two exchanged phone numbers. Then on the day of the murder, Banks said, he called Simms and suggested they go eat at a Waffle House in East Point.
Afterward, Simms drove Banks to his home and while seated on a lawn bench, the suspect said Simms began touching him. Banks told investigators he felt threaten, took out his gun and shot Simms. It turns out Simms was shot in the back twice, a fact the prosecution raised in casting doubt on the teens story.
The prosecution's theory is that a robbery was on Banks' agenda. The suspect admits stealing Simms' car. He also had Simms' wallet, according to detectives.