A Rome man charged with murder receives a life sentence in Bartow Superior Court. Forty-three-year-old Shannon Vashawn Tapley pleaded guilty to malice murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and concealing the death of another. Two felony murder charges were vacated. He received a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Fourteen years ago, Tapley and an accomplice killed a Bartow County teenager.
According to the warrant, Tapley knowingly and intentionally murdered 19-year-old Lance Jay Banister by strangling Banister with his arm until he was unconscious, stabbing him multiple times, and slicing his throat with a knife at Pine Log United Methodist Church on Pine Log Road near U.S. 411 in the Rydal area.
Bannister’s mother reported to the BCSO three days later that he had been missing from his residence on Dawns Way off Glade Road north of Acworth since he was waiting for a friend with a white pickup truck named Daniel to pick him up to go to Cartersville.
Fishermen found his body close to the Talking Rock Bridge near State Route 136 in Carters Lake in Murray County near the Gordon County line 13 days after his murder reportedly occurred.
Banister had attended Woodland High School and Faith Baptist Church in Acworth.
A guilty conscious led Tapley to turn himself in as a suspect. His reported accomplice died of cancer.