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Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

A third person pleads guilty to murder in the 2021 shooting death of a man in a Costco parking lot

By meerna Jun12,2024

The family of a man who was robbed and fatally shot while loading groceries into his car returned to a Dallas County courtroom Tuesday morning to face the third person convicted in his murder.

Janiya Miller, 20, pleaded guilty to murder last month and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in the death of Ali Elbanna. According to police, on November 16, 2021, in the parking lot of a northeast Dallas Costco, a group of then-teenagers approached Elbanna, 60, demanded property and shot him.

“You are responsible for my father’s death,” Miller said in her victim impact statement Iman Elbanna, one of Ali Elbanna’s five children. Poster-sized photos of her late father hung on easels in the 283rd District Courtroom near downtown Dallas.

“You may not have pulled the trigger, but you played an active role in killing him,” Iman Elbanna said. “You drove your car to commit a crime, you and your friends shot him while he was shopping, and you drove away like it was nothing – like his life meant nothing – and now look where you are.”

Miller, wearing her green-striped Dallas County Jail uniform, rested her head on the defense table. When she looked back at the courtroom gallery, her young face was swollen from crying and streaks of tears ran down her cheeks. At the end of the hearing, the bailiff handed her a wad of paper towels.

A family is seeking justice and pushing for a juvenile to be tried as an adult after a fatal shooting in Dallas

Two other people – the killer, Camron Range and James Levels – pleaded guilty to Elbanna’s murder. Range, who was 16 when he shot Elbanna and was later charged as an adult, was sentenced to 60 years; Levels received 40 years in prison. A fourth teenager, Jacoby Bryce Tatum, was sentenced to prison on capital murder charges, but a grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict him. Court records show he still faces a serious robbery charge.

Court records show Miller was also sentenced to two 25-year prison sentences for other aggravated assaults. Three sentences will apply simultaneously.

Miller’s attorney was unavailable for comment after the hearing and did not immediately respond to a text message request for comment Tuesday morning.

A spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment, citing ongoing cases.

My father was murdered in a parking lot in Dallas. The youth system allowed this to happen

The arrest warrant affidavit says the teens committed another armed robbery, stealing two cellphones before Ali Elbanna’s murder. The victims gave police a description of the thieves and their truck – three boys and a girl in a purple wig, driving a newer model black Ford F-150 with oversized tires – and traced the phones to NorthPark Center.

According to the affidavit, officers found the truck and Miller nearby, who had phones.

Ali Elbanna had humble beginnings. He was born in Lebanon to Palestinian refugees and, as a child, began working his way out of poverty by selling and buying goods on the streets before fulfilling his dream of starting his own business: a small wholesale store in Arlington. He lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 30 years.

After about 20 minutes of testimony, state District Judge Lela Mays spoke privately with Elbann’s family outside the courtroom. Elbanna’s children said at a hearing last month where they spoke to Range and Levels in court that they wanted a life sentence for their father’s killers.

By meerna

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