The mother of a Greenwood murder victim is angry after learning a police officer who was blamed for the 2017 mistrial of her daughter’s alleged killer may be promoted back to a detective’s role.
“I need help with this situation. I’m reliving my daughter’s murder case every day. No justice is being done,” said Trevia Foreman, a Leflore County native who now resides in Memphis.
Her daughter, Lakeyla Broom, a hospice nurse and mother of three, was stabbed multiple times in her West President Avenue residence in September 2014. She was 29 at the time of her death.
The Greenwood Police Department accused Lakeyla’s husband, Edward Broom, of the murder.
Lt. Jeri Bankston of the Police Department was the chief investigator on the case as well as the prosecution’s lead witness at Broom’s first-degree murder trial during the fall of 2017.
Two days into testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses, Circuit Judge Carol White-Richard declared a mistrial after discovering Bankston had been texting then Assistant District Attorney Trish Rodgers while Bankston was still on the witness stand.
Ultimately, White-Richard threw out the murder indictment, citing prosecutorial misconduct, and ruled that Broom could not be tried again because it would violate the constitutional ban on double jeopardy.
Broom was released in February 2018 after spending two years behind bars in the Leflore County Jail.
At the time of the mistrial, Police Chief Ray Moore said Bankston would face an internal disciplinary action for her conduct on the stand. Although at the time he did not specify what the punishment would be, Mayor Carolyn McAdams said Friday that Bankston had been demoted to a patrol officer.
Foreman said she first learned on Facebook Friday morning of Bankston’s possible reinstatement as a detective.
She then called Moore, who, she said, verified the rumor. She said that Moore told her Bankston would not be assigned to investigate murder cases.
When contacted later Friday by the Commonwealth, Moore acknowledged speaking with Foreman but declined to confirm or deny whether Bankston was being promoted.
“I don’t discuss personnel issues,” he said.
McAdams subsequently confirmed, however, that Foreman’s information was accurate about Bankston.
“I’m thinking about putting her back on the detective office,” the mayor said, adding that she had spoken with Moore in the past to have him reassign Bankston as a detective.
“She’s a good detective, and they’re hard to find,” McAdams said.
“She’s paid her dues.”
Foreman begs to differ.
“Ms. Bankston has moved on with her life and is still getting promotions. I don’t think that’s fair to me or my child,” Foreman said.
“I want justice for my daughter.”
Foreman said she didn’t want Bankston fired, as she said everyone needs a job, but to let her remain as a patrol officer.
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original version of this article incorrectly reported that the texting by Jeri Bankston had occurred after she has finished testifying. It occurred during a break in testimony but while she was still on the witness stand.