Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Madison County SA will not request special prosecutor in Gori murder

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By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 8, 2020

Gibbons addressed the public during a press conference Monday

The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office does not plan on recusing itself from prosecuting Timothy Michael Banowetz in the murder of asbestos attorney Randy Gori, despite having previously recused itself from Gori’s DUI proceedings due to a conflict of interest.

Gori’s wife, Beth Gori, is an assistant state’s attorney. After Randy Gori was charged with driving under the influence in 2018, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons requested a special prosecutor be appointed.

In December 2018, Gibbons filed a motion declaring a conflict of interest because “defendant is relation to an assistant state’s attorney.”

In regards to Gori’s murder, Taylor Donohoo, administrative and communications specialist for the State’s Attorney’s Office, said the office will not be recusing “at this time” and, therefore, will not be requesting a special prosecutor.

During a press conference Monday evening, Gibbons said first assistant state’s attorneys Crystal Uhe and assistant state’s attorney Jacob Harlow will be handling the case against Banowetz.

“As prosecutors, our work begins now,” Gibbons said. “And it will be our charge and our mission to hold the defendant accountable under the highest degree under the law.”

He added that criminals who come to Madison County to commit violent crimes will “get Madison County justice.”

“And true justice will be served in this case,” Gibbons said. “This defendant will see the rest of his life behind bars if we have anything to say about it.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Madison County Public Defender John Rekowski said his office had not been retained to represent Banowetz in the case and the defendant had not yet been scheduled to appear in court.

Banowetz, 28 of Wentzville, is being charged with three alternative counts of first degree murder, three counts of armed robbery, and three counts of aggravated unlawful restraint. He is also being charged with an offense related to a motor vehicle.

He is being held at the Madison County jail, and bond has not been set.

Gori was found dead in his rural Edwardsville home Saturday night. Banowetz is accused of ordering Gori and two minors to the ground and binding their hands. During the event, the suspect allegedly took cell phones from the minors and money from Gori.

Banowetz had been in the home for an “extended” period of time and was not injured, said David Vucich, who is a captain with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and commander of the Major Case Squad activated in this case.

He added that Banowetz was found by Major Case Squad officers in a wooded area about 1,200 feet from the home.

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