A 28-year-old from Wentzville has been identified as suspect in the murder of attorney Randy Gori.
Timothy Michael Banowetz acted alone and in a pre-meditated way in the Jan. 4 slaying, according to Madison County Detective David Vucich, who is commanding the St. Louis Major Case Squad investigation.
Banowetz is being charged with three alternative counts of first degree murder, three counts of armed robbery and three counts of aggravated unlawful restraint. He was also charged with an offense related to a motor vehicle, which pertains to the 2020 Rolls Royce Cullinan that was stolen from Gori's home.
According to robbery charges, Banowetz was armed with a knife when he took cell phones from two minors in the home and money from Gori.
Vucich said the crime is "the top of heinous and senseless crimes." Gori was stabbed and cut, according to charges filed against Banowetz.
He also called Gori a "hero" because his actions most likely saved the lives of others in the house, though he did not identify who else was in Gori's home. Later, in responding to a reporter's question it was confirmed that minor children were in the home and restrained. The charges of unlawful restraint against Banowetz specify that Gori and the two minors were ordered to the ground and their hands were bound.
"I think Randy is a hero in this case," he said.
State's Attorney Tom Gibbons took the podium and said, "This defendant will see the rest of his life spent behind bars if I have anything to say about it."
Gibbons said a female arrived at the scene and disrupted the event, but he did not identify her.
Caroline Kasa of St. Louis posted on Facebook on Sunday:
"Please god let me wake up from this nightmare. Please bring him back to us. My dogs saved my life and I wish I had showed up a few minutes earlier and maybe this wouldn't had happened. Please bring him back."
Vucich said that after the crime officers scoured the area near Gori's rural Edwardsville residence "continuously" and were able to find the suspect in a wooded area about 1,200 feet from the home. He said 25 investigators from different agencies participated.
Banowetz was allegedly in the home for an "extended" period of time, Vucich said. He was not injured.
He is being held at the Madison County jail; bond has not been set.
An online records search of Banowetz indicates he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2009 through BSA 957, an extension of the ministry of St. Charles River Church in Weldon Springs, Mo.
One month before he is accused of killing Gori, a St. Louis City Circuit judge entered default judgment to landlord Regency Realty in an eviction action taken against Banowetz at 2017 Washington Ave., Unit S314. The Dec. 4 judgment indicates Banowetz owes $3,718 and court couts plus $37 process server fee.
At the beginning of the press conference, Madison County Sheriff John Lakin indicated that few details of the investigation would be released out of respect for the Gori family. After remarks from the podium were made, very few questions were answered.