‘True Conviction’ is a true-crime series aired by Investigation Network as a part of the channels’ vast range of crime shows. The format of this particular series entails host Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, whose twenty years of working as a prosecutor with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has lent her substantial experience. Her feat lies in her cumulative 35-0 record in the Homicide bureau which contributes to her flawless reputation. In the show, Nicolazzi travels across the country to understand the prosecution perspective of the toughest criminal cases and to help the audience comprehend the same.
In one of its episodes, the series features the 2004 Cambridge murder of Tyshika Askins. Ms. Askins’s body was discovered in her apartment in June 2004. Richard L. Blanks was arrested in September 2005 in association with Tyshika’s death. He was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment after two trials, one that ended in 2006 and the second one which ended in 2010.
Who Is Richard Blanks?
Richard Blanks was a suspect and eventually the convict in Tyshika Askins’s murder in 2004. Tyshika Askins was found deceased in her Leonards Grove Apartment in Cambridge by her neighbor Teresa Warner, and her former boyfriend and father of her child, Alonza Dennis, in the afternoon of June 7, 2004. The scene was promptly investigated by the police and a forensic examiner who concluded that Ms. Askins had died at around 4 a.m. on the morning of June 7, 2004. The bedroom in which the body was found showed significant signs of a struggle and an orange juice carton on the kitchen counter with its cap on the floor. Fingerprints, lifted from the orange juice container, were then analyzed to identify any matches. DNA evidence was also found from under Ms. Askins’s nails and on her T-shirt. The fingerprints and the DNA both matched Blanks and he was arrested on the charge of first-degree murder on September 27, 2005.
The autopsy of Askins’s body disclosed a minimum of 30 injuries to the head, neck, and torso regions. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation and blunt force injuries. The autopsy also showed no signs of recent sexual relations or traces of alcohol or drugs. In an interrogation following the disclosure of the autopsy results, Blanks said that he knew Tyshika through his girlfriend Lisa Pinder.
Where Is Richard Blanks Now?
On June 4, 2010, after two trials, Richard Blanks was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of first-degree murder. On May 30, 2006, a Dorchester Court jury convicted Blanks for the murder of Tyshika Askins as a conclusion to the six-day trial. The state attorney, Michelle Barnes represented the state while Creston Smith, a Baltimore Lawyer handled the case for Blanks. In his opening statement, Smith tried to convince the jury that Blanks did not have any motive to commit the murder further attesting that his client could testify to a romantic and sexual relationship he had shared with the deceased victim.
Along with the evidence of fingerprints and DNA, the Police had additionally noticed that Askins kept her apartment clean and found the open orange juice container to not align with her personality trait. An expert in forensic DNA testified during the 2006 trial stating that the amount of the convict’s DNA recovered from the victim’s body was irrefutable and indicated close physical contact, possibly a struggle.
In his own defense testimony, Blanks alleged that he and Askins were in a relationship. On the night of her death, they had indulged in sexual acts in which Blanks had touched various parts of her body. Following this, he had left the apartment to catch up with a game he was not willing to miss. After two hours of deliberation, Blanks was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, Blanks’ conviction was overturned in 2008 and he was granted a retrial.
On June 4, 2010, Richard L. Banks was sentenced to life in prison by Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Groton III for the first-degree murder of Tyshika Askins. He is currently serving his sentence.
Read More: Tyshika Askins’s Murder: How Did She Die?