In short: More than four years later, it’s ongoing.
Almost half a year has lapsed since the last hearing in the case against 69-year-old Thomas S. Banta — a former Franklin County constable accused of running a prostitution ring, kidnapping and impersonating a police officer. And court records indicate Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate does not have one scheduled for the 2015 case anytime in the immediate future.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker declined to comment on particulars of the case, saying only that subsequent to the last hearing the “parties continue negotiations.”
Banta was last seen in court in December demanding a new trial date on the charges of kidnapping a minor, a Class B felony, and three counts of impersonating a peace officer and promoting prostitution (two or more prostitutes), both Class D felonies.
His defense attorney, Guthrie True, said then that additional pretrial work would be required before they were ready for either a plea deal or a trial by jury.
True did not immediately respond to a reporter's request for comment.
Banta, who served as a constable from 2011 to 2014, ran a private security and investigation service, where he also allegedly ran the prostitution ring.
The other charges stemmed from an incident in which Banta and co-defendant Hendra “Dre” Chanault Valentine, 51, allegedly posed as police officers, zip-tied a teen boy’s hands behind his back and transported him to Banta Security and Investigation, which was then on Louisville Road, to question him about a case they were working for a client.
More than four years ago, Valentine pleaded guilty to reduced charges of criminal facilitation to kidnapping a minor, a Class D felony, and four counts of facilitation to impersonating a peace officer. A five-year prison sentence was recommended for Valentine contingent on his cooperation in the prosecution of Banta.
Court records indicate Valentine’s case is still pending.