Jury splits verdict in body-in-basement trial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jury splits verdict in body-in-basement trial

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A jury deliberated for nearly eight hours before finding a Louisville man not guilty of murdering his former lover and drug dealer.

But jurors did convict Jeffrey Mundt of lesser felonies of tampering with physical evidence and criminal facilitation to robbery related to the crime. Mundt's former boyfriend, Joseph Banis, was already convicted in a separate trial of murdering James Carroll.

Mundt's attorney, Steve Romines, said he was disappointed by the verdict.

"We are (disappointed). We thought he should've been acquitted of everything," Romines told reporters.

Prosecutor Ryane Conroy said she respects the jury's decision.

"The reality is that we made the argument to them. We believe that both were involved. They have returned a verdict that both of them were involved. We disagree with the level of culpability. That's the reality. That's the system and we're fine with it," said Conroy.

Prosecutors accused Mundt and Banis of luring Carroll to their old Louisville home in late 2009 and then killing him after a drug-fueled night of sex and burying his body in the basement. But the crime went undetected until June of 2010 when Mundt called police telling authorities Banis was threatening him.

During a police interview, each man pointed the finger at the other.

After convicting Mundt on lesser charges Wednesday, the jury agreed to continue with sentence deliberations returning in less than an hour and recommending Mundt serve eight years in prison. But during the sentencing phase, prosecutor Ryane Conroy pointed out that Mundt will likely get credit for time served. A formal sentencing date was set for next month.

Throughout closing arguments Wednesday, Mundt's defense attorneys painted him as a victim in an abusive relationship with Banis. Defense attorney Steve Romines accused the prosecutors of homophobia, saying the case would've been handled differently if Mundt were a woman.

Mundt's attorney Steve Romines claimed prosecutors were "guessing" Mundt's way into prison:  "They want you to guess and into the penitentiary -- we don't know which one did it... This isn't third grade... Where you send both kids to detention cause you don't know which one pulled a fire alarm."

Mundt's attorney claims prosecutors are guessing Mundt's way into prison.  That attorney also played the 911 domestic dispute call from Mundt in June of 2010 which led to Banis telling police about Jamie Carroll's body being in the basement.

Mundt appeared terrified during the call and claimed Banis was going to kill him.  Mundt is charged with murder, robbery, and tampering with physical evidence. He could face life in prison. That's up to the jury to decide once closing arguments are finished.

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