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Trial begins for man accused of killing attorney Randy Gori

Timothy Banowetz, of Wentzville, Missouri, is charged with several counts, including murder, armed robbery and aggravated unlawful restraint.

ST. LOUIS — A jury was seated Monday in the murder trial against Timothy Banowetz, who is accused of stabbing prominent attorney Randy Gori to death in his Edwardsville estate in January 2020.

That means opening statements will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Madison County Criminal Justice Center.

Former Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said he believed Gori’s altruism made him an easy target, and there was no known connection between him and his alleged killer.

Police lauded Gori as a hero, saying he likely bought enough time for his children to survive the attack by luring his killer into another room.

Gibbons said Gori had recently filed for divorce and had plans to introduce his children, then ages 11 and 15, to his new girlfriend on the day of his murder.

Police believe she interrupted the robbery before the killer could return to the children, who were tied up.

Gori's 2020 Rolls Royce SUV was missing when police arrived.

Gibbons said he was exploring whether Banowetz and two other alleged killers on unrelated cases could be eligible for the federal death penalty given that they crossed state lines to kill their alleged victims. 

Illinois does not have the death penalty.

A spokesman for current State’s Attorney Thomas Haine said Haine’s office is not exploring that option.

A source close to the investigation at the time told 5 On Your Side police believe Banowetz drove his pickup to a location near Gori’s house and parked it. 

He walked through a wooded area to get to the victim’s house. Meanwhile, someone spotted his truck and called police to have it towed, according to the source.

The source said Banowetz drove the victim’s Rolls Royce SUV to where he had left his own truck after the murder, but it had already been towed. So, he walked out of the woods as police were searching the area.

   

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