Wis. Mom Screamed 'Please Don't Kill Me' Before Child's Father Allegedly Strangled Her, 2 Kids

Arzel Ivery allegedly told police "he brought his kids into this world and that he can take them out if he wanted"

Amarah J. BANKS, Zaniya R IVERY, Camaria BANKS
Photo: Milwaukee Police Department

Neighbors who spoke to Milwaukee police said they heard screams coming from Amarah “Jerica” Banks‘ apartment the night she was killed — along with “large thumping” that sounded like someone being violently slammed against a wall.

PEOPLE obtained a copy of the criminal complaint against Arzel Ivery, 25, which was filed Saturday in Wisconsin. In it, detectives allege that Ivery bludgeoned Banks, 26, before strangling her early on the morning of Feb. 8 and killing her two young daughters, one of whom was his own daughter.

The killings happened hours after Ivery and Banks attended their 21-month-old son’s funeral. The young mom and her children were reported missing Feb. 8, and their bodies were found over the weekend.

Police state in the criminal complaint Banks had blamed Ivery for baby Arzel’s recent death from bronchitis, and told him she did not want him in their apartment anymore “because he reminded her of their son.”

Ivery allegedly told police he went to work as a security guard immediately after the funeral, which apparently angered Banks, who accused the father of not caring about the child’s death. Ivery allegedly told police Banks grabbed a knife as the argument intensified, and that she cut his left wrist.

Ivery allegedly told police he pushed Banks’ head into the wall twice, causing her to bleed from the mouth.

According to police, it was at this point that Banks tried to escape. Neighbors reported seeing her running barefoot through the apartment complex’s parking lot, allegedly being chased by Ivery.

One neighbor told police Banks screamed, “No, no, please don’t kill me” as Ivery allegedly pulled her back into the building.

“The Defendant then stated that he strangled Ms. Banks with both hands,” the complaint alleges. “He stated that Ms. Banks was not fighting him, so he figured that she wanted to die. The Defendant claimed that he was helping her die.”

Arzel J. Ivery
Shelby County Jail

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According to the complaint, Ivery “stated that he did not want the children to live in a world where they did not have their mother,” so he strangled Banks’ two daughters: Camaria Banks, 4, and his own daughter, 5-year-old Zaniya Ivery.

Ivery allegedly told police he kissed both girls, told them, “Daddy loves you” and that their mother “wanted [them] in heaven with her.” Ivery allegedly admitted to strangling the girls, the complaint states, and told police both girls fought for their lives.

According to the complaint, Ivery told police he brought the three bodies to a garage at an apartment building he used to live at, where he piled them in a corner and set them on fire.

Ivery was not Camaria’s father, but he allegedly told police “he brought his kids into this world and that he can take them out if he wanted.”

After his arrest in Memphis, Tennessee, Ivery was brought back to Milwaukee, and allegedly led police to the three bodies. He is being held on three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of aggravated battery.

It was unclear Wednesday if Ivery had been arraigned or entered pleas to the charges against him.

PEOPLE was also unable to locate information on his defense attorney.

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