MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Arzel Ivery, 25, of Milwaukee pleaded not guilty Monday, March 2 to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Amarah “Jerica” Banks, 26, and her daughters, Camaria Banks, 4, and Zaniya Ivery, 5.
Ivery waived his preliminary hearing in the case. A scheduling conference was set for March 27, online court records showed. He received a $750,000 cash bond on Feb. 21 when he made his initial appearance in court.
Prosecutors said Ivery admitted that a domestic fight escalated to the point that he strangled the three and then burned their bodies. The three were found in a garage near 47th St. and Burleigh St. a day after an Amber Alert was issued for the children.
A Milwaukee police detective interviewed Ivery, who said “things had been tense between himself and Ms. Banks since the death of their son. He stated that Ms. Banks had not wanted him around anymore because he reminded her of their son.”
Hours after the funeral for their son on Feb. 7, Ivery went to Banks’ apartment. The criminal complaint said Banks “was angry that (Ivery) had gone to work and yelled at him that he did not care about the death of their son.” Ivery claimed to police he and Banks had an argument and “he then grabbed Ms. Banks and pushed her head into the wall two times.” Ivery then indicated he “strangled Ms. Banks with both hands.”
The complaint says Ivery then stated, “he did not want the children…to live in a world where they did not have their mother.” He indicated he then strangled both the children. The complaint says Ivery then tried to hide the bodies of all three by burning them.