Danville man found guilty of first-degree murder, to serve life in prison

This verdict comes after the 2020 murder of a North Carolina man

Justin Merritt was found guilty of first-degree murder. (Credit: Danville City Jail) (WSLS)

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Danville man has been found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after killing a North Carolina man in 2020, according to NBC affiliate WRAL.

10 News previously reported that Justin Merritt met William “Andy” Banks in September 2020 for the sale of Banks’ Range Rover SUV at a shopping center in Raleigh.

Banks’ body was found days later near Merritt’s home, and the SUV was found abandoned in Danville.

WRAL reports that Banks was shot several times and stated that blood, cleaning supplies and bullets were found in the SUV. Investigators also found a gun under a couch cushion in Merritt’s home.

Banks’ cell phone held conversations between the two men that led to Merritt’s arrest.

Merritt faced a murder charge along initial with charges of:

  • Robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • Larceny of a motor vehicle
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

WRAL reported that the jury deliberated for around two and a half hours before returning a unanimous verdict.

“Please hear me when I say, this was never my intention. I am sorry. I am so sorry,” Merritt reportedly said to Banks’ mother.

He also addressed his own family saying, “These words are not enough and can not express enough how I really feel.”

About the Author:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.