Murder of Avis Banks by Carla Hughes examined on American Monster

Mugshot of Carla Hughes
Carla Hughes was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Avis Banks. Pic credit: MS Dept. of Corrections

American Monster is investigating the brutal murder of Avis Banks by Carla Hughes at her home in Ridgeland, Mississippi, in 2006.

Banks was the victim of a love triangle, which involved her fiancee Keyon Pittman and Hughes with whom her husband-to-be had been having a sexual affair.

Banks was pregnant and due to marry Pittman when Hughes conducted her savage attack in the misguided hope that she could be together with Pittman.

On November 29, 2006, daycare worker Avis Banks returned home to the house she shared with Pittman. In the garage, she was attacked and shot four times in the head, chest, and leg before being stabbed multiple times in the face and neck. She had been 27 years old and was five months pregnant.

Suspicion for the murder initially fell on Pittman, but when he admitted to having an affair with Hughes, the focus of the investigation switched. Pittman and Hughes were teachers at the same school and had begun their affair shortly after Banks became pregnant. Pittman claimed their relationship was based purely on sex.

There was compelling evidence against Carla Hughes

The two main pieces of evidence against Hughes were the murder weapons and cellphone data. Hughes’s cousin told the cops that he had lent the killer a knife and a loaded .38 caliber revolver the weekend before the murder. The forensic detectives matched the bullets in the firearm to those pulled from Banks’s remains.

The cops also uncovered data from a cellphone tower that placed Hughes in the vicinity of the scene on the night of the murder.

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In October 2009, Hughes was found guilty of killing Avis Banks and her unborn child. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hughes has continued to maintain her innocence and claimed she was framed. Her defense lawyers tried to paint Pittman as a womanizer who wanted to avoid fatherhood, but the police and jury just didn’t believe he could be the killer.

Hughes’s family are still campaigning to have her released and has set up a fund to raise money.

More from American Monster

Follow the links to read about more American monsters profiled on ID.

Aaron Compton broke into the home of his former partner, Tabatha Spake Heavner, stabbed her, and dragged her to her car. He then drove to the neighboring county where he stabbed Tabatha again. She managed to escape but was tragically run over by another vehicle.

Jean Schwarzkopf was trying to live out her retirement in peace in New Port Richey, Florida when her so-called friend Ottavio Volpe hired Anthony Carcione to steal her jewelry. But Carcione didn’t just rob her; he brutally murdered her.

American Monster airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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