Lakeland family of four accused in murder

Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 05:06:03-05

An entire Lakeland family is in jail, accused of killing a man and hiding his body.

The body of the victim, Robert Banks, was found in January in the green swamp area of Sumter County.

His death has been a mystery, until now.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd telling reporters that four members of the Johnson family including Brian Sr., Brian Jr., Nathan, and Anthony, along with their friend, Michael Gunn, all had a hand in killing Banks and hiding his body.

Judd said the men did it as revenge for an alleged rape of a loved one.

Investigators said the men lured Banks to their house under the assumption they were going to purchase K2 from him since he is a known drug dealer.

"They proceeded to beat Robert viciously. They kicked him, they strangled him with an electrical cord, they beat him with a pipe, they beat him with their fist, they beat him with a stick," Judd said.

One of the brothers, Nathan Johnson, even sodomized Banks with a flashlight right before they finished him off, Judd said.

"How does that feel?" Judd said the teenager said to the victim.

After they were finished beating him, investigators say the men called their father for help getting rid of the body.

Before they did, the family allegedly took photos of the dead body.

"They were telling people, which we always like, that helps a lot. When you're going around showing pictures, saying don't worry about Robert anymore, we've taken care of him. He's dead," Judd said.

Investigators have been unable to retrieve the photos of the phone because it's locked. Judd believes the suspects will cooperate and unlock the phone.

If not, Judd says he'll send a court order to Apple and force them to help.

"When they deny us, I'm going to go have the CEO of Apple locked up in jail because you can't have a business model that violates the law," he said.