A former Fort Campbell, Kentucky, soldier hired to murder his friend’s estranged wife and her children has been sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 66 years after he entered a guilty plea on Monday.
Zackery Alexander, 23, pleaded guilty to murdering 2-year-old Joseph Bankston and planning to murder several others in 2015, according to the Leaf Chronicle.
Alexander was hired by another Fort Campbell soldier, David Wi, to murder Wi’s estranged wife, Alicia Bankston, along with her toddler son, Joseph, and Wi and Bankston’s 1-year-old daughter, Lilly.
At the time of the crime, Bankston was at her mother’s home in Clarksville, Tennessee, the Leaf Chronicle reported.
On Oct. 4, 2015, Alexander knocked on the door of Bankston’s mother’s home while the family was sleeping, the newspaper reported. When Brandon Jimenez, Bankston’s boyfriend at the time, opened the door, Alexander asked for jumper cables before pulling out a pistol and opening fire.
Jimenez, a medic at Fort Campbell, was shot numerous times but survived.
Alexander began rampaging through the home looking for his other intended victims. He found Joseph sleeping in his grandmother’s room and shot him fatally in the back of the head.
Bankston and her daughter, Lilly, were able to hide in another bedroom. Bankston’s mother found refuge in a bathroom.
Alexander was arrested 10 days after the crime when police found a pistol in his car tied to shell casings at the scene, the Leaf Chronicle reported in 2016.
Police caught up with Wi two days later after learning he had conspired with Alexander to commit the murders.
Wi was sentenced to life plus 50 years after pleading guilty in October 2016. Alexander faced the death penalty prior to his plea.