Rome man arrested for 2008 cold case murder after walking into Bartow County Jail and confessing

According to a Bartow County Sheriff’s Office incident report, On March 4, 2023, At approximately 9:00 PM, a man later identified as Shannon Tapley, 43, of Rome, walked up to the bonding window at the Bartow County Jail and told Lieutenant Crutchfield he had information about a 2008 murder cold case. He stated he wanted to confess a crime. Bartow County Sheriff’s Jail officers searched for the victim’s name in their eagle system, an old reporting system, and located the case from March 18, 2008. The victim’s mother had called in to report her son, Lance Jay Banister, 19, missing and explained that she had last seen him on March 15, 2008. The responding deputy had entered his name into Georgia Crime Information Center as a missing person at the time, but he was no longer considered missing. Officers could not locate any more information in their records for Mr. Banister related to the crime Tapley wanted to provide more information about. Continuing the search to identify a possible victim, an officer discovered a 2008 obituary for the victim and an article revealing he had been located, deceased, in Carters Lake three weeks after being reported missing. Carters Lake is in Murray County.

According to a GBI press release: Bartow County, GA (March 13, 2023) The GBI and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a Cartersville man in connection to a 15-year-old murder investigation.  On Sunday, March 5, 2023, Shannon Tapley, age 43, was arrested and charged with murder for the death of 20-year-old Lance Jay Banister, of Acworth, Georgia. On March 28, 2008, the GBI was requested by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a death investigation in reference to a body discovered at Talking Rock Creek, Carters Lake, Chatsworth, Georgia.  The body was later identified as Banister, and a GBI medical examiner ruled Banister’s death a homicide. Banister had been missing for 3 weeks before he was found. Banister and Tapley were friends at the time, and the investigation showed that Tapley was with Banister the day he disappeared. This has been a joint investigation that included Murray County Sheriff’s Office detectives, FBI special agents from the Dalton Safe Streets Task Force, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office detectives, and GBI agents. Tapley is currently being held in the Bartow County Jail.  The investigation will be prosecuted by the Bartow County District Attorney’s Office.

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