Joseph R. Banis and Jeffrey S. Mundt are set to appear Wednesday morning before Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry, for another pretrial conference in the case of the grisly homosexual love triangle murder of James Carroll. The two defendants are accusing each other of the crime, and are scheduled to be tried separately.
According to police reports, officers were initially called to a “domestic disturbance” at an Old Louisville home located at 1435 S. 4th Street, last June 17. Banis and Mundt—reportedly gay lovers—were involved in a noisy altercation which attracted the attention of neighbors. Metro Police report that incident Banis was threatening to Kill Mundt with a knife and Mundt had barricaded himself in a bedroom.
At the scene, police arrested Banis; charging him with burglary, terroristic threatening, drug possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia. When Banis was taken to the LMPD 4th Division headquarters at Central Park, he told police a story about a body buried in Mundt's basement. Based upon Banis’ tale, police obtained a search warrant and returned to Mundt’s Old Louisville home.
LMPD Homicide Commander Lt. Barry Wilkerson said that the body of James Carroll, 37—who police say had no fixed address but was believed to have lived in Lexington—was found in a large blue plastic tub about three feet under the dirt floor in the basement. The victim died from gunshot and stab wounds. Police have indicated that Banis, Mundt, and Carroll were romantically involved. Banis and Mundt, both 38, were arrested and charged with the murder.
During the LMPD interrogations, both men described how they dug a pit in the basement to hide Carroll’s body; but each claimed the other was responsible for the murder. The two defendants were also arrested in Chicago, in April of last year, where police said they found counterfeit money, drugs, and several weapons in their hotel room. Charges there are pending.
Banis is being represented by Public Defenders Dan Goyette, Darren Wolfe, and Justin Brown. His jury trial is scheduled for May 11. Mundt has private lawyers, Steve Romines and Theodore Shouse, and will be tried on September 7. Both Defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas A. Van de Rostyne.
WDRB-41’s Valerie Chinn reports new details on how man was murdered and buried in basement:
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