Hayden Banks, Gregory Thomas sentenced in Adams County murders

Two men convicted of murder in separate Adams County cases have been sentenced to prison.

Hayden Banks, 33, and Gregory Thomas, 38, were sentenced to prison this week following second-degree murder convictions, according to the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.

Hayden Banks 

Banks was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison in the shooting death of David Islas, according to a release from the DA’s office.

On March 15, 2022, Banks shot and killed Islas inside the victim’s motel room at the Venture Inn on North Pecos Street in Adams County, the release stated.

The two men had a dispute about a counterfeit $100 bill that Banks attempted to recover from Islas, according to the release. Banks shot Islas once through the heart.

On June 30 a jury found Banks guilty of second-degree murder following a week-long trial.

“The defendant egregiously and unnecessarily took another man’s life – and he will now have to pay the consequences,” said District Attorney Brian Mason, in the release.

Gregory Thomas

Thomas was sentenced Thursday to 48 years in prison in the shooting death of 21-year-old Lavanya Jain.

On May 20, 2021, an Adams County deputy discovered a body in a trash can inside a storage unit at the Free Up Storage facility along Devonshire Street, the news release stated.

The storage unit was owned by Thomas, and the body inside the storage unit was identified as Jain.

Thomas, who was arrested June 6, 2021, in Washington, admitted to meeting Jain online and that she had been staying at his house. Thomas claimed he shot Jain in self-defense on March 19, 2021, and then hid her body inside the storage unit.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on May 19.

“The defendant’s actions in this gruesome case were absolutely abhorrent,” said District Attorney Brian Mason, in the release. “Both of these deaths were entirely avoidable – and they are yet another example of the cost of gun violence in our community.”

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