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Police: Alleged face slasher waited near crime scene

By: Jesse Paul jesse.paul@gazette.com
July 9, 2013 Updated: July 10, 2013 at 7:32 am
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Police claim Vernon Banis slashed a man's face with a knife Sunday morning before waking thirty feet away to a downtown coffee shop where he sat outside with a bloody knife still in his pocket, court papers say.

A trail of blood led responding officers from where Banis, 33 was seated outside the Starbucks on Tejon Street to the victim who was bleeding from a severed artery as medical personnel fighting to save his life, police said in an affidavit. When officers asked Banis if he was involved in the attack, he told them he didn't do it.

Unprovoked, Banis allegedly used a knife to slash the face of 48-year-old Charles Reece near the intersection of Tejon and Bijou Streets just before 8 a.m., according to Lt. Thomas Harris. Though Reece was bleeding heavily from his face, he was able to identify Banis as his attacker, but unable to give a detailed statement because of his injuries, court records said.

Banis, who Harris called transient, denied being involved in the assault and wouldn't talk to detectives about the slashing.

Police arrested Banis on suspicion of first-degree assault. He was held at the El Paso County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Calandra Banis, 40, who has been looking for her younger brother Vernon for roughly 15 years, came across some unwelcome news Tuesday after searching his name on the Internet from Louisville, Ky.

"I type in his name on Google from time to time," she said. "Today (Tuesday) just happening to be the day."

Some 20 years ago, Calandra and Vernon Banis were orphans in Colorado Springs, raised by foster parents through what was a "rough childhood." Now Calandra Benson said she is trying to do what she can to help her brother, who she hasn't seen in almost 25 years.

On Sunday, a doctor at Memorial Hospital told police that Reece's injuries were life-threatening and that he risked "serious permanent disfigurement." A hospital spokeswoman said Reece remained hospitalized in fair condition Tuesday afternoon.

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Contact Jesse Paul at 636-0253. Twitter: @JesseAPaul

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