MILWAUKEE (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to killing a Wisconsin mother and her two young daughters was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to online court records.
Arzel Ivery, 27, admitted in April that he killed 26-year-old Amarah “Jerica” Banks, 5-year-old Zaniya Ivery and 4-year-old Camaria Banks at their Milwaukee home on Feb. 8, 2020.
According to a criminal complaint, Ivery told police that he had fought with Banks because she was upset over his decision to go to work as a security guard so soon after the Feb. 7, 2020, funeral of their son. One-year-old Arzel Ivery Jr. died in January 2020 from respiratory problems, according to an autopsy report.
Ivery told police he killed Banks then killed the children because he didn’t want them to live in a world without their mother, the complaint said.
He kissed Zaniya, who was his daughter, told her “Daddy loves you” and that her mother wanted to be in heaven with her, and then he strangled her, the complaint said. Ivery returned to the girls’ bedroom, woke up Camaria, kissed her and told her the same thing before strangling her too, the complaint said.
Police said he then set the bodies on fire in a Milwaukee garage.
Ivery was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee, after he told his father that he killed Banks and the girls.
According to court documents, authorities had started a missing persons investigation on Feb. 9, 2020 — after a neighbor called 911 to report that Banks was screaming and begging not to be killed as Ivery dragged her back into an apartment building after she tried to escape. One neighbor said Banks was running without shoes and bleeding from the mouth.
One witness said she heard thumping as if someone was slamming a person or head against the wall. Police later found a head-sized hole in the wall of the bedroom, as well as a bed missing its comforter and a napkin with blood on it.