CA: Wheatland man guilty of murder: Influenced by conspiracy theories, Banks had ‘hit list’ of potential victims

Source: appeal-democrat.com 11/3/22

As the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation continues to creep into every corner of American life, the consequences of movements such as QAnon have shown to be fatal – the most recent well-covered example being the attack on Paul Pelosi at his home allegedly by a man who fell deep into the conspiracy rabbit hole.

On Oct. 28, a Wheatland man, 44-year-old Rory Banks, who also seemed to be affected by misinformation online, was found guilty by a Yuba County jury for the May 12, 2021, murder of 55-year-old Ralph Mendez. The jury found that Banks was guilty of burglary and the premeditated murder of Mendez.

At around 12:45 a.m. on that day in May of last year, the Wheatland Police Department received a 911 call related to a shooting that had taken place in the 200 block of G Street in Wheatland, the Appeal previously reported. Mendez was found by law enforcement officers with a gunshot wound. Lifesaving measures were performed but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the department.

After an investigation, Banks was determined to be the shooting suspect. 
“Banks broke into Mendez’s home, waking Mendez and his 88-year-old mother. Banks executed Mendez, shooting him in the torso and the head,” Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry said in a statement. “Banks then used Mendez’s home phone to call 911. Wheatland Police officers arrived within minutes, finding Banks covered in blood in the driveway, with a pistol on the ground nearby. Banks surrendered and confessed to the murder.”

He was taken into custody without incident and booked into Yuba County Jail for murder and residential burglary. The weapon used in the fatal shooting was recovered at the scene.

“This was not a random act,” Wheatland Police Chief Damiean Sylvester said at the time. “We believe the victim was targeted by the suspect.”

In fact, according to evidence presented during the trial, it was determined that what Banks had done was not random, but was the act of a person convinced certain conspiracy theories were real.

“Rory Banks set out just after midnight on May 12, 2021, armed with two handguns, four knives, OC spray, strobe lights, a hit list with four names and addresses, and an intent to murder every person in Wheatland listed on California’s sex-offender registry,” Curry said. “Banks did not know any of them personally, but appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner.”

Curry said Mendez was one of four men on Banks’ kill list. 

During the trial, Banks’ attorney argued that Banks should be found insane or receive a lesser punishment of voluntary manslaughter because Banks believed he was defending the community from sex offenders – that belief is part of a conspiracy theory often pushed by supporters of QAnon. At the trial, the jury heard from two psychologists who examined Banks.

“We are thankful the jury upheld the rule of law in this case,” Curry said. “While no one likes sex offenders, you can’t lower yourself to their level, murder someone in cold blood, and think you’re going to get a pass.”

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Lower yourself to their level?!?!? *%&$ you!

While I have no wish to be the, “Voice of Doom” in this forum, or anywhere for that matter, the actions of Rory Banks of Wheatland, CA are too disturbing to ignore.

He killed one PFR, but he had a, “Hit list” with other PFRs he intended to murder. He also had a cache of homemade pipe bombs. He was an, ” Internet Conspiracy Theory” believer. In particular, a follower and believer in, “Q” theories.

Perhaps an agenda item that discusses the rising level of violence towards PFRs and how Online Conspiracy Theories are driving it?

How can the State not consider the website to be anything less than, reckless endangerment? Also, emotional cruelty?

This is an entirely predictable consequence of, and a direct link to, the Qanon Party’s willingness to weaponize outrageous and wholly fabricated conspiracy theories and outright lies. Tomorrow, we will be voting (or have already voted) to either reward their pathological tangle of hateful fabrications with the clear intent of denying us a democratic (small d) future or to reject democracy outright. It seems very strange, indeed, that there should be those in our community for whom that stark choice is not abundantly clear, but here we are. Yes, the alternatives are far from perfect – I have many disagreements with the Democrats, myself, but they are truly the only rational choice we have today. We have to vote as if the future, and liberty, matter. As registrants (or former registrants) we can finally see a clear trend towards reform and a modest increase in improvement in our lives, but make no mistake, there is no hope for us if we are to be subjected to a fascist political movement that would love nothing better than to see us all dead. Their signs at their rallies say it as clearly as could possibly be stated: “Kill All Pedophiles.” If you don’t vote in this election, provided that right is not denied you, to help to secure your, and your family’s future, then you are abandoning your responsibilities as citizens.

Anymore proof registrants are 2nd class citizens?

“While no one likes sex offenders, you can’t lower yourself to their level, murder someone in cold blood, and think you’re going to get a pass.”

Since when did Registrants started murdering people all of the sudden? The nerve of some people spreading misinformation and false narratives! It’s sickening! We should sue for libel!

This case isn’t tied to the Pilosi case so why included that paragraph at all?

And of course, our fearless journalists have no role whatsoever in conspiracy theory…

This is reason why the registry should be abolished. Reports like this are becoming all too common. Its only a matter of time until someone else decides to go on a killing spree and none of us are safe. Who’s going to be next? You? Me? Our family members?
We’re not allowed to arm ourselves but at least here in Michigan we are allowed to own black powder cap and ball pistols. I already have one, and I’m going to go purchase a couple more today so I have one within easy access throughout my house. I am NOT going to be a victim.

No one likes LE who think they are above the law either and is part of the 95% who perp offenses against others because they are in positions of trust.

What a disturbing read. What’s even more scary is there are untold numbers, perhaps thousands of incels out there with the same radical programming just ready to put their sickness in action. These misguided individuals are trying to “prove their worth” because they don’t have a life to begin with.

The hate and “othering” in America has reached an all-time high. It’s 110% political too.

Couple years back I had got it to it with a neighbor ex-gang member cholo dude with tattoos all over his face.
He would stand in the hallway of The building, screaming he was going to kill me and all kinds of crazy shiit but every time I would open my door or see him, he wouldn’t say anything it was weird. One time he had a gun though he didn’t say it directly to me he was screaming in the hallway of the building that he was going to shoot me and kill me, But this time I had it recorded on the ring doorbell so I called the Long Beach Police and show them the footage, they asked me is there any reason this guy would be after you I said no I’ve never had a conversation with the guy but I’m a 290 registrant it could be that.
Once I told them I was a 290 registrat their whole attitude changed, They said they couldn’t do anything unless he physically tries to harm me and that I couldn’t defend myself unless he was physically in the process of trying to take my life, I had my kids old baseball bat by my door he told me that if I hit him with that bat, that I would be going to jail.
I ended up just moving before someone got hurt my lease was up anyways.

Even though the jury found the man guilty, the D.A. Could pass on the chance to demean the murdered man by saying no one likes him and that he was a lower level person for his offense. Serving the ENTIRE community, are you Mr. D.A. ?

Might I suggest everyone go on the contact page for Yuba DA office and submit your displeasure with his remarks.

I sold my AR-15 and my Glock 19 to a close friend when I was arrested 8 yrs ago. Now that I am eligible to own a firearm again I asked and he said he would either sell them back or if he couldn’t , then he would “ loan them” to me. I plan on protecting myself.

Good to know where Yuba City’s DA stands.

If we needed any more proof the registry does nothing but harm, this guy is it.

Who even cares about the Q crap ? the fact is that cowards look PFRs up and kill and harm them , and that list these thugs go to is Posted By LE ! many PFRs are harmed/threats /fights / injured / property damaged/ family harmed / and PFRs Murdered!! , yet LE keeps telling these Fruit Loops out here that the list makes John Q Public the list make them safer! OH yes real HERO’s LE is , they have lied about this lame registry from the get go ! and no one cares , its all a trap ,we can’t move away from the registry , at best you could hide for a little while but sooner or later they will catch you and that is a felony ! even tho you did your time and prole , you can still be charged with a felony even tho you have committed no real crime because of the registry, 4th amendment violation all day long among other clear violations of Rights/Constitution, It is far over due that the registry end , “Don’t want hear Well What About These Or Them Trash” the fact is the registry is Far to dangerous ” and far to much responsibility for LE,or public , the registry is a ” HATE CRIME” !

“While no one likes sex offenders, you can’t lower yourself to their level….”
Really??!! 😠
The murderer would have been a decent, hard-working, community-involved, taxpaying citizen if he were “lowered” to my level! 😠

The District Attorney should choose his words more carefully. The ones he chose only support the argument that PFRs and others convicted of sexual offenses are lesser citizens. 😡

“… continues to creep in every corner of American life.”
Sounds like the DDI to me, How about you? It all depends on how you opt to use it.

Rory Banks,
Armed to the teeth every day and all the time. We’ve got millions and millions of guys like him who live that thug life. He is the kind of guy who gets parole before the child molesters and unlawful pornography users and suppliers.
How peculiar is it the people prefer to cage both, but release the violent murderer first. If leadership, both political and Social, cannot succeed in circumventing the culture of murderous retaliation, why do the people buy the efforts at preventing interpersonal attacks of a sexual nature as legitimate? Its an issue in every campaign now. Americans love to attack other cultures based upon their treatment of women, yet some other cultures suffer far less interpersonal attacking in general. To me America was the first to utilize the database to attack liberty and that is shameful. It began with ” them and only them” but that is not how it ended up, is it?

ACSOL,
This case, with the 88yr. old, is the same dismissed case from Smith V Doe2003, The nurse wife ( co-complaint) from Alaska was worried about retaliation, but not factually committed by law implicated by Wetterling Act. Few ( if any) have tried to revive that case perspective from the 9th. Many released offenders are compelled the live with grand parents, more or less. I cannot speak to CA law, but WI statutes provide for extraordinary appeal citing ” A new factor not contemplated at trial process.” Rehnquist failed to consider the homes address & photo available by DDI which relevant to to co-op complaints of the nurse and the grandmother. Judge Salas found out the hard way, and she wasn’t housing a sex offender. In my opinion Rehnquist’s SCOTUS has retribution blood as it’s legacy along with the reinstitution of human indentured servitude to database and database driven device. And crickets for Anti trust indictment.