WHEATLAND, Calif. (KTXL) — A man was found guilty in a 2021 Wheatland murder case has and is facing a 55-years-to-life sentence for first-degree murder and up to 16 years for burglary, according to the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office.
Just after midnight on May 12, 2021, Rory Banks, 44, broke into the home of Ralph Mendez, 55, armed with two handguns, four knives, pepper spray, strobe lights and a hit list with four names and addresses, according to the district attorney’s office.
The district attorney’s office said the list of names was made up of the four registered sex offenders in Wheatland, which included Mendez.
Banks is said to have forced entry into the home where he shot Mendez in the torso and the head before calling 9-1-1 with a house phone.
Mendez’s 88-year-old mother was in the home at the time of the murder, according to the district attorney’s office.
When Wheatland Police Offices arrived at the home they reported finding Banks in the driveway, covered in blood and a handgun nearby on the ground.
Police said that Banks surrendered to police and confessed to murdering Mendez.
Banks’s attorney revealed that Banks was influenced by “fringe conspiracy theories on social media” and that he should be found insane or be charged with voluntary manslaughter as Banks believed he was “defending the community”.
Two psychologists provided their findings to the jury after examining Banks, according to the district attorney’s office.
“We are thankful the jury upheld the rule of law in this case,” said District Attorney Clint Curry. “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.”