Prosecutors disclosed in court that police who pulled over the suspected killer the same night as last summer’s execution-style killing of a Brooklyn woman let her go because they didn’t realize the person they were searching for was a woman.
Claudia Banton, 42, appeared in court on Friday, one day after she was charged with murder and criminal possession of a firearm for allegedly shooting Delia Johnson in the back of the head on a stoop in August. At this time, the motivation for the murder is unknown.
On the morning of her arraignment in downtown Brooklyn, Banton refused to answer questions as she was brought from the 77th Precinct stationhouse. She appeared in front of Justice Vincent Del Giudice and entered a not guilty plea.
In court, prosecutors stated Banton “shot the victim in the head point blank.” The 42-year-old was also pulled over shortly after the shooting, but police didn’t aware they were looking for a female suspect at the time and released her.
Banton, who also goes under the names Claudia Williams and Kiesha Brown, was apprehended by authorities in Jacksonville, Florida, earlier this month, more than three months after the videotaped murder in Crown Heights.
⚠️ APPREHENSION MADE
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Police previously published surveillance video of the incident, which showed a lady in black leggings step out of a double-parked white vehicle and nonchalantly shoot Johnson in the head while conversing with a group of people on a stoop.
According to authorities, the shooter casually strolled back to her car, her purse slung over her shoulder, and drove away. Johnson was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Banton served nearly seven years in a Georgia jail for forgery and has prior criminal convictions in both Georgia and New Jersey.
The victim’s 42-year-old brother told the New York Daily News at the time that he believed the gunman followed Johnson home from a community funeral where both had attended.
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