Baltimore, Maryland: On Monday, February 28, 2022, 68-year-old Malik Samartaney, previously known as Lawrence Banks, was sentenced to 41 years in prison for the May 2019 murder of his daughter, 43-year-old Dominique Foster.
In October, a jury convicted Samartaney of second-degree murder and unauthorized disposal of a body despite the prosecution's inability to directly link him to Foster's dismembered body with either DNA evidence or a murder weapon.
Foster's body was found inside of a bag in a shopping cart near a dumpster just 700 feet from Samartaney's home, but her head, hands and feet were never recovered. Family was able to identify her remains by tattoos.
During the trial the prosecution alleged that the slaying was the result of anger at Foster's supposed drug use while Deborah Levi, Samartaney's attorney, alleged that Foster was actually slain by MS-13 at one point, and at another, moving for a new trial by alleging that Foster may have been slain by the "shopping cart killer" who was charged with the murder and dismemberment of four women out of Virginia.
Levi states that her client maintains his innocence and will appeal.
Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Schiffer sentenced Samartaney to the maximum possible under Maryland state law; 40 years for the second-degree murder charge and an additional year for the unauthorized disposal charge.
Samartaney took his opportunity to address the court during the sentencing hearing to say, "Your honor, I am very sorry for the death of my daughter, but I did not do that. I dream every night that I find the person who would do that," he said.
Much of the case against Samartaney allegedly focused on his criminal history.
In 1975, when Foster was just 7 months old, Samartaney threw her through a glass door during an argument with her mother. He was later convicted of assault. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
After his release, Samartaney reportedly shot and killed a friend and then drove to a foster home where his 17-year-old son was and shot him in 1991. He pleaded guilty and no contest to those murder charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for each charge with the sentenced running concurrently.
He was released after just 11 years and changed his name shortly after.
Samartaney allegedly vowed to never kill again after killing his own son. "I have fruit flies in my cell and don't even swat at them," he told the court.
Foster's daughter, however, didn't buy it. "My mother was the most beautiful person I knew, inside and out," she said in a victim impact statement. "Your honor, I'm asking for the longest sentence possible. I ask this not for revenge but for everyone's safety."