Arzel Ivery pleads not guilty in deaths of Jerica Banks, daughters

Arzel Ivery

MILWAUKEE -- Arzel Ivery, 25, of Milwaukee pleaded not guilty Monday, March 2 to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Amarah "Jerica" Banks, 26, and her daughters, Camaria Banks, 4, and Zaniya Ivery, 5.

This, after Ivery waived his preliminary hearing in the case. A scheduling conference was set for March 27, online court records showed. He received a $750,000 cash bond on Feb. 21 when he made his initial appearance in court.

Prosecutors said Ivery admitted that a domestic fight escalated to the point that he strangled the three and then burned their bodies. The three were found in a garage near 47th Street and Burleigh Street a day after an Amber Alert was issued for the children.

Amarah Banks, Zaniya Ivery, Camaria Banks

Criminal complaint

Police in Memphis, Tennessee received a call from Ivery’s father on Feb. 15. He stated that Ivery “has confessed to (Ivery’s father) that the Defendant had killed the mother of his children and his children in Milwaukee.” He was arrested a short time later.

Milwaukee police sent a detective to Memphis later on Feb. 15 to interview Ivery. The complaint indicates Ivery said “things had been tense between himself and Ms. Banks since the death of their son. He stated that Ms. Banks had not wanted him around anymore because he reminded her of their son.”

Jerica Banks and daughters found in garage near 47th and Burleigh

The funeral for the son was on Feb. 7 — and afterward, Ivery indicated he went to work. When he went to Banks’ apartment around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, the complaint said Banks “was angry that (Ivery) had gone to work and yelled at him that he did not care about the death of their son.” Ivery claimed to police he and Banks had an argument and “he then grabbed Ms. Banks and pushed her head into the wall two times.” Ivery then indicated he “strangled Ms. Banks with both hands.”

The complaint says Ivery then stated, “he did not want the children…to live in a world where they did not have their mother.” He indicated he then strangled both the children. The complaint says Ivery then tried to hide the bodies of all three by burning them.

If convicted, Ivery faces up to life in prison.