Jury selection underway in trial of man accused of killing prominent Illinois lawyer

Illinois

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A high-profile murder case in the Illinois Metro East will be livestreamed for reporters due to a large number of media requests.

Jury selection started Monday at the Madison County Criminal Justice Center in the trial of Timothy Banowetz.

Banowetz is accused of stabbing prominent lawyer Randy Gori at his Edwardsville home in Jan. 2020. Gori was killed in front of his children.

Gori was well-known for his generosity in the community. Many residents have been following the brutal murder case.

“It’s kind of scary for things like that to happen here. You think you are safe and it’s really sad. Shocked and sad it happened,” said Abbi Paustain.

Judge Kyle Napp ruled on Monday to allow cameras in the courtroom during the trial however the defense argued to keep cameras out.

Gori was found dead in his Madison County home the night of Jan. 4, 2020. His black 2020 Rolls-Royce was missing.

The luxury car was discovered the next morning and police said they had a “strong person of interest” in custody. Banowetz was charged soon after.

According to court records, prosecutors allege Banowetz forced Gori and two minors to the ground at knifepoint and tied their hands.

Authorities in 2020 said Gori’s actions likely saved the lives of the children, and he was a hero in the incident.

Investigators said there was no connection between Gori and Banowetz. They claimed Banowetz had a plan in place before arriving at the home.

Banowetz has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated unlawful restraint, and one count of aggravated offenses relating to a motor vehicle.

“When I heard about the attorney being killed, it was very shocking,” said Kristie Henry. “I work here in the area and I’m glad justice is finally going to be served. He was well known in the area.”

Banowetz has previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Although the state of Illinois does not have the death penalty, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office requested it to be on the table in this case because Banowetz allegedly traveled across state lines.

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