Arrest made in Lakeland’s first homicide of the year

Lakeland Police Department

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA)—A Lakeland man was indicted on Thursday in the stabbing death of his long-time friend, which was the city’s first homicide in 2017, according to the Lakeland Police Department.

Police responded to the incident in the area of 418 W. 7th Street.

They say Jesse Banks, 66, had engaged in a verbal argument with his friend of 30 years, Tommy Lee Engram, 63.

Detectives learned Banks had called Engram a “series of insulting slurs and names,” and when Engram expressed his disapproval, without warning, Banks stabbed him in the throat with a folding knife and Engram fell to the ground.

Witnesses came to Engram’s aid, but were not able to save him.  They called 911 and gave operators a description of the suspect.

When the cops arrived, they found Banks, who matched the description, and took him into custody.

Banks confessed to stabbing his friend and was charged with second-degree murder.

He was transported to the Polk County Jail.

Banks, a convicted felon, has an extensive criminal rap sheet with 13 felony and eight misdemeanor arrests.

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