Saturday, May 18 2013 7:54 AM EDT2013-05-18 11:54:38 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Jurors are expected to begin the sentencing phase Monday morning for Joseph Banis, the Louisville man convicted of killing his sex partner. Banis is accused of covering up the crime by burying the man in the basement of the Old Louisville home Banis shared with his boyfriend, Jeffrey Mundt.
The grisly murder case led prosecutors to spell out gruesome and graphic details to jurors about the night James Carroll died. Authorities say Carroll was stabbed, shot and then stuffed into a Rubbermaid container and buried in a shallow grave where he remained for six months.
Police had no idea the crime had been committed until a domestic disturbance in June 2010 led them to the home of Banis and his boyfriend Jeffrey Mundt. Each man confessed to varying versions of the same story -- except each blamed the other for Carroll's death.
Mundt, a key prosecution witness, testified Banis threatened his life the night Carroll was killed and repeatedly threatened him if he said a word about Carroll's death.
But Banis' attorney, Darren Wolff, tried to discredit Mundt as a liar.
"Look at Mr. Mundt. Do you believe anything that he says? Mr. Mundt wouldn't come in here and tell the truth if his life depended on it," Wolff said.
Mundt's murder trial is set for May. If convicted, he avoids the death penalty because he agreed to testify against Banis.
The jury could still recommend the death penalty for Banis.
The victim's mother was not present in the courtroom for Friday's verdict that took jurors 10 hours to reach.
"We have spoken to her and she is relieved. Nothing will bring her son back, and as we discussed with the jury, he may not have been living a lifestyle that she would've wanted for him, but she loved him, and this is a horrible way to die," said Ryane Conroy, a prosecutor.
The sentencing phase is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Monday morning.