MILWAUKEE -- Back in Milwaukee and locked-up in the Milwaukee County Jail, the man accused of killing his girlfriend and two young girls made his first court appearance on three, first-degree intentional homicide charges.
With a brief glance around the courtroom, accused murderer Arzel Ivery kept his head down as he was seated for his initial appearance.
He was extradited back to Milwaukee after police said he fled to Tennessee following the brutal killing of Amarah "Jerica" Banks and her two daughters -- Camaria Banks and Zaniya Ivery. Many details of the crime are too gruesome and graphic to share.
Court documents revealed that Ivery admitted that a domestic fight escalated to the point that, prosecutors say, he strangled the three and then burned their bodies.
Finally in custody of the Milwaukee Couty Sheriff's Office, his chances of being released are slim -- despite the defense's request.
The heinous nature of the incidents and cover-up garnered something more significant. During the hearing, cash bail was set at $750,000. Conditions include court-ordered GPS monitoring and a 24-hour curfew. If the GPS is unavailable and cash bail has been paid, as per the state's request, the alternative bail amount will be $1 million.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 2.
Police in Memphis, Tennessee received a call from Ivery’s father on Feb. 15. He stated that Ivery “has confessed to (Ivery’s father) that the Defendant had killed the mother of his children and his children in Milwaukee.” He was arrested a short time later.
Milwaukee police sent a detective to Memphis later on Feb. 15 to interview Ivery. The complaint indicates Ivery 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.”
The funeral for the son was on Feb. 7 — and afterward, Ivery indicated he went to work. When he went to Banks’ apartment around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, the 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.
If convicted, Ivery faces up to life in prison.
Help for victims of domestic violence
For those who need help in dealing with a domestic violence situation, it is available 24/7 at Sojourner Family Peace Center. You can call their hotline, 414-933-2722, visit their website, or even go to their location for assistance.