ATLANTA — An 18-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a well-known Atlanta community leader has pleaded guilty.

News outlets report Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said Eric Banks Jr. was sentenced to 35 years in prison without the possibility of parole after accepting a plea bargain Monday for charges in connection with the April 2016 death of 70-year-old Barney Simms.

Simms was found dead in his yard with his front door unlocked and black Lexus, wallet and television missing. Banks was arrested five days later.

Simms was a former chairman of the Atlanta Housing Authority and Fulton County Division of Family and Children Services advisory board. He had been commended twice by the State of Georgia’s Secretary of State office as an outstanding Georgia citizen.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.