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Rome News-Tribune

GBI: Rome man charged with murdering his friend 15 years ago in Bartow County

By Staff reportsCourtesy: WBHF Radio,

Lance Jay Banister

The GBI and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a Rome man on charges of killing his friend 15 years ago.

A GBI media release shows that on Sunday, March 5, Shannon Tapley, 43, was charged with murdering 19-year-old Lance Jay Banister of Acworth.

On March 28, 2008, the GBI was requested by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a death investigation in reference to a body discovered at Talking Rock Creek at Carters Lake in Chatsworth.

The body later was identified as Banister, and a GBI medical examiner ruled Banister’s death a homicide. Banister had been missing for three weeks before he was found.

Banister and Tapley were friends at the time, and the investigation showed that Tapley was with Banister the day he disappeared.

This has been a joint investigation that included Murray County Sheriff’s Office detectives, FBI special agents from the Dalton Safe Streets Task Force, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office detectives and GBI agents.

Tapley remains in the Bartow County Jail. The investigation will be prosecuted by the Bartow County District Attorney’s Office.

Earlier reports in the Rome News-Tribune show:

♦ Banister was reported missing March 18 by his mother, Beverly Banister. According to a police report, Banister was last seen waiting for someone named “Daniel” to take him to Cartersville.

♦ His body was found by a fisherman close to the Talking Rock Bridge, Ga. 136 and the Gordon County line about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28, 2008, officials said.

WBHF Radio, citing a warrant from Bartow County Magistrate Court, reports Tapley is accused of strangling Banister and then stabbing him repeatedly at a site near a church near Rydal. The radio station also reports Tapley surrendered to authorities.

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