- Rory Banks was recently convicted of premeditated murder for a killing in Wheatland, California.
- He was allegedly on a mission to kill everyone on the state’s sex offender list in the city.
- Banks was allegedly deep into the conspiracy theory QAnon, according to the Yuba County DA.
Rory Banks, a 44-year-old man allegedly obsessed with QAnon, was found guilty of premeditated murder in California. Banks had written the name of his victim — a 55-year-old man listed on the state sex offender registry — on a list with three other people he did not know, and according to the Yuba District Attorney’s Office was on a mission to kill everyone in his hometown of Wheatland, California named in the registry.
Banks’ trial ended on October 28. The case gained more attention in recent days after his connection to QAnon became more evident following a Facebook statement last week from the Yuba District Attorney’s Office and a report from local news outlet the Appeal-Democrat. The murder is one of a number of killings and acts of violence connected to QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory movement that falsely believes a powerful cabal of pedophiles secretly control the world.
Clinton Curry, Yuba County’s District Attorney, wrote in a statement to Insider that evidence showed Banks had spent time trawling through QAnon content about child sexual abuse, and that this “appeared to have encouraged his beliefs and ultimate actions.”
“The evidence showed that Mr. Banks spent a great deal of time ‘researching’ the evils of child molestation on the internet and social media sites, such as Telegram,” Curry said. “Banks identified enough with QAnon that he had a ‘Q’ sticker on the back of his vehicle.”
The murder took place in May 2021. Banks called 911 on the victim’s house phone following the killing and then confessed to police when they arrived, according to the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office Facebook statement.
A case filed by the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office in October accused Banks of using a firearm to kill the victim, Ralph Mendez, and alleges Banks used “sex offender information” available to the public to commit the crime. Prosecutors stated that Banks broke into Mendez’s home, where he lived with his 88-year-old mother, and shot him in the torso and head.
Shortly after the shooting occurred in May 2021, Banks’ wife, Julie Banks, told CBS Sacramento that he had become paranoid over the last few months and fallen down the QAnon rabbit hole.
The Yuba County DA’s Office statement, posted on Facebook, said that Banks’ attorney used an insanity defense, claiming that Banks thought he was “defending the community from sex offenders” after spending time absorbing “fringe conspiracy theories” on the internet. But the jury decided against that argument, according to the Appeal-Democrat, and he was convicted.
“The jury listened to all the evidence and argument, including two psychologists who examined Banks,” the statement says.
Banks will be sentenced on November 22, according to the Yuba County DA’s Office statement, and could face 55 years to a lifetime in jail for the murder, with additional time for burglary.