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Prison Officials Refute Dispute Between Cosby, Banks

April 8, 2019 GMT

Is celebrity inmate Bill Cosby’s life in danger in state prison at the hands of notorious Luzerne County mass murderer George Banks, as reported recently by gossip media sites? State prison officials say not a chance. The state Department of Corrections is refuting claims surfacing online that Cosby is terrified of Banks as they serve time at State Correctional Institution at Phoenix, a maximum security facility in Montgomery County. Reports by the National Enquirer, Radar Online and other gossip sites claim Banks, 76, accuses the disgraced former actor of “destroying his family” and has ordered fellow inmates to attack Cosby. Cosby reportedly is paying other inmates for protection, the sites said. While Cosby and Banks are in the same prison, Banks remains isolated in the facility’s death row wing and his interactions with other inmates like Cosby is heavily restricted, Susan McNaughton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, wrote in an email. “Banks is a capital case inmate whose movement is very restricted. He has no access to other inmates. This is not true at all,” McNaughton said. At least one mainstream news site msn.com republished the claims about the supposed Banks-Cosby feud, citing Radar Online. Banks was convicted of murdering 13 people, including five of his own children, during a shooting spree in Wilkes-Barre and Jenkins Township in 1982. Originally sentenced to death, Banks will serve the rest of his life on death row in prison after the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled in September 2011 that Banks is not competent to be executed, effectively ending decades of legal battles over his fate. He had been granted three prior stays of execution, including one just a day before his scheduled execution in December 2004. Cosby, 81, who was affectionately known as “America’s Dad” for his role in the hit television show named after him, is serving three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004. Contacted last week, Attorney Al Flora, who represented Banks, said he heavily doubted the claims about Banks being a threat to Cosby, saying Banks is “out of it.”