EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Convicted killer Timothy Banowetz, 30, was sentenced Friday to 60 years for killing an Edwardsville attorney.
He also was sentenced to 10 years for armed robbery. It is not known if Banowetz will serve his sentences at the same time.
He pleaded guilty in October to the 2019 murder of attorney Randy Gori near Edwardsville, Illinois. Banowetz was charged with zip-tying Gori’s family, robbing them, and stealing their Rolls-Royce SUV.
During the sentencing hearing, Banowetz represented himself and wanted to withdraw his guilty plea.
Banowetz was facing ten charges, including first-degree murder, armed robbery, vehicle theft, and unlawful restraint in Gori’s death. He entered a guilty plea as the trial was set to begin. The plea bargain between him and the prosecution team was approved by Madison County Judge Kyle Napp.
The deal will help the Gori family heal without going through the trauma of a trial. The plea bargain included Banowetz pleading guilty to Count 1, First Degree Murder. The sentencing possibilities in that county include 20-60 years in prison. The state agreed to cap its request for the sentence to 60 years.
Prosecutors say that greed and envy was the motivation for the murder. Banowetz owed $10,000 in tuition for a pharmacy school in St. Louis. If he did not pay then he would not be able to attend school.
Gori and Banowetz did not know each other. But, his internet search history also shows that he was researching other wealthy people.
Police found Gori, 47, with his throat slit open and suffering from multiple stab wounds at his home on January 4, 2019, at around 9:00 pm on Mooney Creek Lane in Madison County Illinois. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
It started after Gori and his two children returned home after dinner. The teens told investigators that the suspect ran up to their father after they parked their SUV and claimed that he had a gun. He forced them all to the ground and bound them with zip ties. He searched their home and demanded money. He took their cellphones and their father’s wallet.
The family was held captive during the attack. Gori’s hands were bound behind his back with zip ties. His children’s hands were also zip-tied.
Video surveillance from the scene shows the suspect approaching the victims after they got home, forcing them to the ground, and going to search the home. Prosecutors say that he got around $4,000-$5,000 from the kitchen. They say he was actually carrying a fake gun and a military-style knife.
Gori’s children did not witness the killing, according to prosecutors. Banowetz led Gori away from the children.
A woman showed up at the scene in a vehicle and this disrupted the man’s plan. Prosecutors did not elaborate on exactly what happened after she showed up at the home. But, it may have saved the children’s lives.