Diversion awarded following deadly boat accident

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It has been more than a year since a holiday on a Memphis lake turned deadly for two children when an overloaded boat capsized. Thursday, the boat's owner escaped the possibility of prison time.

For a change, longtime defense attorney Marvin Ballin is actually happy with a decision by the District Attorney General.

It approved pre-trial diversion for Kenny Banks. A man charged earlier this year with the July 4, 2007 drowning deaths of Karlton Parker and Carnisha Banks. Two of the six children Banks loaded onto a "john boat" which sank on Robco Lake in Southwest Memphis.

"I always thought it was an accident, pure and simple," Ballin said.

Prosecutors remain convinced what happened that day could have been prevented.

"Based on the facts of the case, we felt it was a crime under state law," Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons said.

But the D.A. admits putting Kenny Banks in prison would accomplish little.

"In most cases, I feel for deterrent purposes, we have valid reasons for denying diversion. In this case I really don't feel like it would provide any deterrence," Gibbons said.

Diversion means that charges against Banks will be dismissed in a year's time if he abides by the law and meets a series of other conditions.

Marvin Ballin believes Banks has suffered enough.

The victim's families were consulted about the decision to grant diversion. It is something they supported.

However, their civil case against Banks in still pending.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.