Suspected gang member pleads guilty in 3 cases, gets 19-year sentence

Defendant admitted to joining Cobb gang when he was 15, state officials say
Donald Bannister, 20, of Marietta, pleaded guilty to charges in three separate cases involving violent crimes and gang charges, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Credit: File photo

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Donald Bannister, 20, of Marietta, pleaded guilty to charges in three separate cases involving violent crimes and gang charges, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Credit: File photo

A suspected gang member has pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes in three separate cases out of Cobb County, including one count of voluntary manslaughter, and will spend the next 19 years in prison, according to state officials.

Donald Bannister, 20, of Marietta, pleaded guilty to charges in all three cases earlier this month, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement. Bannister’s most serious charge, voluntary manslaughter, resulted from the killing of 30-year-old Norval Bailey in June 2021. Bannister’s other cases involved the armed robbery of two teenage victims in January 2019 and the assault of a fellow inmate at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center in September 2020.

According to Carr, Bannister is a suspected member of the 2Solid street gang, which has ties to the Bloods. Bannister told the court he had been a member of 2Solid since he was 15, the attorney general said. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison followed by 11 years on probation.

Bannister’s series of crimes began in January 2019 when he tried to rob two other teens, ages 18 and 19, during a drug deal at a Marietta hotel, Carr said. Bannister was 15 at the time, but he pistol-whipped the 19-year-old and shot the 18-year-old. He was later arrested and both victims made full recoveries. That case was transferred from Juvenile to Superior Court.

While Bannister was being held in jail and his assault case was making its way through the courts, he and two others assaulted another inmate, Carr said. That incident led him to be charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

Court records show that Bannister was granted bond in February 2021, but about four months later, he met Bailey for a drug deal that went bad and shot the man twice. Marietta police found Bailey injured at an apartment complex on Massachusetts Avenue on June 15, 2021, around 9 p.m. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead once he arrived.

Bannister remained at large for more than a year before he was arrested in August 2022 by the U.S. Marshals Service in East Point, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. He was 18 at the time.

Bannister remains in the Cobb jail, where his incarceration is being administered by the Georgia Department of Corrections. His maximum possible release date is July 17, 2038, prison records show.

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