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Murder of Tyshika Askins by Richard Blanks Sr. highlighted on True Conviction

Tyshika Askins photo
Tyshika Askins was murdered by her friend’s boyfriend, Richard Blanks Sr. Pic credit: Cambridge Police Department / Family Photo

True Conviction on Investigation Discovery features the case of 22-year-old Tyshika Askins, who was murdered by Richard Blanks Sr.

When Askins failed to pick up her 2-year-old son from his grandmother’s house on the afternoon of June 7, 2004, the child’s father — Alonza Dennis Jr. — went to her apartment at Leonard’s Grove on Hudson Road in Cambridge, Maryland, and found her dead on the floor.

The state medical examiner, Dr. Anna Rubio, testified that Askins’ cause of death was blunt force trauma to her head and strangulation. She went on to say that there were at least 30 injuries to the victim’s head.

Officers determined there was no sign of forced entry after conducting an investigation at the victim’s home, where they found an orange juice container on the kitchen counter and the cap on the floor.

Officers said it stood out to them because Askins’ apartment was extremely neat, and that was the only thing out of place. The orange juice container was taken to the fingerprint lab, but there was no match found.

When Blanks applied for a job in 2005, he submitted his fingerprints and it matched the fingerprints found on the orange juice container. He was taken in for questioning.

Blanks, who was a long-time boyfriend of Lisa Pinder (a friend of the victim), denied killing Askins. He testified that he went to her home on the day she was murdered to ask about the whereabouts of his girlfriend.

While he was there, he said he poured himself some juice and left the container on the counter and took the cup with him.

But when his DNA was found under Askins fingernails, he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Initially, Dennis had been charged with killing Askins but those charges were dropped.

Blanks was found guilty of murdering Askins in 2006, and he was sentenced to life in prison; however, his conviction was overturned two years later and was granted a retrial.

In 2010, he was convicted a second time for the murder of Askins and was sentenced to life in prison.

True Conviction — Protecting A Friend, airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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