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Haine Announces Guilty Plea in Banowetz Case

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine announced today that Timothy Banowetz, 30, of Wentzville, Mo. pled guilty to one count of first degree murder and two counts of armed robbery in the murder of Randy Gori.

“Nothing can heal the terror and loss Timothy Banowetz has caused to the Gori family and this entire community,” Haine said. “But at least today, we have some measure of justice, and some measure of closure.”

“We found out Banowetz intended to plea today just minutes before opening arguments were to begin,” Haine said. “We weren’t prepared to give him much. After all, the evidence is overwhelming. But to save the family the trauma of reliving that terrifying night almost two years ago, and with their full agreement, we agreed to an open plea on the murder, and two armed robberies of the children, dismissing the rest. The practical effect is this: Banowetz admitted guilt and is now facing up to 70 years in prison. We will be arguing for that maximum number, so for all practical purposes, he will never see the light of day as a free man again.”

In the evening of January 4, 2020, police found Gori dead at his rural Edwardsville home. The state’s evidence showed that Banowetz had bound Gori and his two minor children before stabbing Gori and fleeing the premise with stolen cell phones from the children and cash. Banowetz was apprehended the next morning in a wooded area near Gori’s home in one of Gori’s vehicles.

“A search warrant was done on Banowetz’s computer, which was found in a study room at his school in St. Louis. And nothing in Banowetz’s extensive online history or the written materials on his person indicates that anyone else was involved in this terrible crime, or that he had any personal relationship with Randy Gori. Further, Banowetz was given multiple opportunities to unlock his phone for investigators, and conveniently forgot his code every time. The evidence tells a simpler tale: greed and envy in a warped mind, which caused a terrible cold blooded murder for money.”

“All of our prayers are now with the Gori family, who has been through so much, showed amazing courage and resilience, and now deserves privacy and respect from all as they continue their healing process,” Haine said.

Haine also expressed thanks to the prosecutors and investigators for this hard work on this case.

“I’m especially appreciative of the hard work of Assistant States Attorneys Lauren Maricle and Jacob Harlow, as well as the members of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Edwardsville Police Department, and Major Case Squad for their efforts, providing invaluable evidence proving Banowetz’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And finally, we appreciate the jurors, who did not get to hear this case but were prepared to do their duty, and Judge Napp for her typically fair, impartial, and professional proceeding,” Haine said.

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