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UPDATE: Sentencing in Basement Body Murder, Victim Had Ties to Area

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 6/27/13
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A man convicted of helping his boyfriend bury a body in their Old Louisville home has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

With credit for time served in jail Jeffrey Mundt could be released as soon as next month, when a parole board hearing is scheduled.

Mundt was found not guilty last month of murder in the death of James Carroll after a night of drugs and sex, but jurors convicted him of facilitation to robbery and tampering with physical evidence.

His boyfriend, Joseph Banis, was convicted in March of murder, robbery and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison.



UPDATE 3/12/13
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WSAZ) - A Louisville man convicted in the death of a man with ties to both eastern Kentucky and Huntington has agreed to testify against his co-defendant in exchange for escaping a possible death sentence.

On Friday, a jury in Louisville convicted Joseph Banis of killing 37-year-old James Carroll during a night of sex and drugs.

Banis was found guilty of complicity to murder, robbery, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a forged instrument and possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

The jury was supposed to return Monday to decide whether to recommend a death sentence.

Banis and Jeffrey Mundt were arrested and charged with the murder after police responded to a domestic dispute at their home.

Carroll’s body found in a plastic storage container buried about three feet below a dirt basement floor, in their home in June 2010.

Police said at the time that Carroll had been dead for about six months and was killed in December 2009.

As part of Monday’s agreement, Banis will receive a life sentence with eligibility for parole in 20 years. He also agreed to waive any appeals.

Carroll's mother told a Louisville newspaper that she is against the death penalty and hopes Banis is sentenced to life without parole.

Banis won't be formally sentenced until after the Mundt’s trial in May.

Carroll had family members in Floyd County. Friends said Carroll once owned a hair salon in Paintsville, Ky. They also said he lived for a time in Huntington, W.Va, and worked at a club as a female illusionist by the name of “Ronicka Reed.”

Police said the three men had a sexual relationship.



UPDATE 3/1/13
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – The murder trial for one two men charged with killing a man who had ties to both eastern Kentucky and Huntington continued Thursday with gruesome photos and testimony about James Carroll’s death.

Carroll’s body found in a plastic storage container, buried about three feet below a dirt basement floor, in a Louisville house in June 2010.

Police said at the time that Carroll had been dead for about six months and was killed in December 2009.

Joseph Banis and Jeffrey Mundt were arrested and charged with the murder after police responded to a domestic dispute at their home. It was in that home where Carroll's body was found. Police said following the arrests, the three men had a sexual relationship.

Banis’s trial is taking place in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

WAVE-TV in Louisville reports that during Thursday’s testimony, Dr. Donna Stewart with the medical examiners office testified how Carroll was killed and placed in a 50 gallon plastic container.

"One could see the body in a crouched position," said Dr. Stewart. "Hog tied with twine around the body was a white solidified substance that concretized the body in the container."

The station also reports that Dr. Stewart told the court that Carroll suffered three different types of injuries: stab wounds, a gunshot wound and blunt force injuries. She also said that toxicology tests showed that Carroll had drugs in his system.

"He had in his collected blood methamphetamine, and amphetamine, as well as a bit of alcohol," said Dr. Stewart.

The station reports that several months before Carroll's body was found, Banis and Mundt were arrested at a hotel in Chicago. The report says Banis admitted to Chicago police that he had $54,000 in counterfeit money, three guns, and ammunition.

"He described what was in his bag. He said he had two other pistols, along with the counterfeit bills," said Chicago Police officer Hysni Selencia.

WAVE reports a KSP firearms expert confirmed that one of those guns was the gun used to kill Carroll.

Carroll had family members in Floyd County. Friends said Carroll once owned a hair salon in Paintsville, Ky. They also said he lived for a time in Huntington, W.Va, and worked at a club as a female illusionist by the name of “Ronicka Reed.”

Mundt’s trial is scheduled for May in Louisville.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/26/13
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday for one of two men charged with murdering a man who had ties to both eastern Kentucky and Huntington.

The body of 37-year-old James Carroll was found in a plastic storage container buried about three feet below a dirt, basement floor in a Louisville house in June 2010.

Police said Carroll had been shot and stabbed, and that he was killed back in December 2009.

Joseph Banis and Jeffrey Mundt, were arrested and charged with the murder after police responded to a domestic dispute at their home. It was in that home where Carroll's body was found.

Banis’s trial is taking place in Jefferson County Circuit Court. It is expected to last several weeks.

During a press conference following the arrests, police talked about a relationship between Carroll, Mundt and Banis.

"Apparently this individual was involved with them sexual in a relationship. It appears that they had made some type of plan of robbing him of narcotics," according to Detective Barry Wilkerson.

"During that robbery, that's when the murder was committed," said Wilkerson.

Carroll had family members in Floyd County. Friends said Carroll once owned a hair salon in Paintsville, Ky. They also said he lived for a time in Huntington, W.Va, and worked at a club as a female illusionist by the name of “Ronicka Reed.”

Mundt’s trial is scheduled for May in Louisville.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 6/25/10
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man that was murdered and buried in a basement over six months ago in Louisville has ties to both eastern Kentucky and Huntington.

On Thursday, the Jefferson County, Kentucky Coroner identified the victim as 37-year-old James Carroll.

Carroll’s body was found last week in a plastic storage container buried about three feet below a dirt floor basement in a Louisville house. Police say Carrol had been shot and stabbed. They think he was killed back in December.

Joseph Banis and Jeffrey Mundt, were arrested and charged with the murder after police responded to a domestic dispute at their home.
It was in that home where Carroll's body was found.

Carroll has family members in Floyd County. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hall Funeral Home in Martin, Ky.

"Oh, my baby, what did I do to lose you?" the victim's mother Ellen Jean Carroll said. "How could they (the suspects) do that? I hope those two boys rot in hell."

Friends tell WSAZ.com that Carroll once owned a hair salon in Paintsville, Ky. They also say he lived for a time in Huntington, W.Va.

Chris Hern, who says he was Carroll’s former boyfriend, described Carroll as "entrepreneurial," "a go-getter" and a person who "made people laugh," according to WAVE-TV.

He also told the station that the two broke up 10 years ago but sometimes stayed in touch. He said they met at a Huntington club where Carroll worked as a female illusionist by the name of “Ronicka Reed.”

"I remember him as a person who was full of life, always in a good mood, always tried to be positive," Hern said.

WAVE-TV also reports that during a press conference last week, police talked about a relationship between Carroll, Mundt and Banis.

"Apparently this individual was involved with them sexual in a relationship. It appears that they had made some type of plan of robbing him of narcotics," according to Detective Barry Wilkerson.

"During that robbery, that's when the murder was committed," said Wilkerson.

A benefit to help pay for funeral costs is scheduled for Sunday at a club in Huntington.


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