Man pleads guilty to murdering GR father

Martez McLaughlin
A 2015 mug shot of Martez McLaughlin from the Kent County Correctional Facility.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) –- A man charged with murdering a Grand Rapids father who reportedly shielded his son from gunfire is going to prison.

eastern avenue, oakdale street, shooting, grand rapids
The scene where a shooting victim was found near O&E Party Store on Eastern Avenue. (Sept. 26, 2016)

Court administrators say Martez McLaughlin pleaded guilty Monday to felony firearm and second-degree murder in the September 26 shooting death of Joseph Banks.

Banks’ sister said he died trying to save her and his 15-year-old son. She said the 39-year-old father was shot four times while trying to protect his son, who was shot once in the neck. The sister said Banks shouted for her to run during the shooting.

Joseph Banks
An undated courtesy photo of Joseph Banks.

Police say Banks walked about a half a block to the O & E Party store at Oakdale Street, where he collapsed and died from his injuries.

Police arrested McLaughlin a day after the murder. A second man arrested in connection to the shooting was released without charges.

McLaughlin is expected back in court for sentencing on March 8.