Former boyfriend speaks out about victim found dead in plastic storage container

By Shayla Reaves - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The former boyfriend of the man found dead in a plastic storage container speaks out. Chris Hern described the victim James Carroll as "entrepreneurial," "a go-getter" and a person who "made people laugh." The two broke up ten years ago but sometimes stayed in touch according to Hern. He described the manner of death as "shocking."

"I remember him as a person who was full of life, always in a good mood, always tried to be positive," Hern said of Carroll.

The Jefferson County Coroner's Office released Carroll's identity Thursday afternoon. The 37-year-old was discovered in a plastic storage container at a home in the 1400-block South Fourth Street on June 17th.

Police made the gruesome discovery after officers were called to the Old Louisville homefor a domestic dispute. Jeffrey Mundt and Joseph Banis, both 38 years old, are charged with murder, robbery and tampering with physical evidence in the case. Hern said he did not know the two men but described their alleged actions as "unconscionable."

"They're obviously on the wrong path way before James ever met them," Hern said. "These are inherently bad people before James met them and someone who could commit a murder and bury them in the basement and keep living in the house then go on like nothing ever happened, it's unconscionable. I can't even think of how somebody could do something like that."

During the time of their four-year relationship, Hern said Carroll owned a Paintsville,Kentucky hair salon called "Illusions." Hern said his former partner never had a traffic ticket during the course of their relationship, only turning to drugs sometime after the two split up.

"It is just completely tragic. James had a lot of friends and family who loved him dearly who tried to talk him out of the lifestyle that he was in," Hern said.

Hern said he and his former partner met at a Huntington, West Virginia club. Carroll worked there as a female illusionist according to the former boyfriend.

"He had an alter personality in Huntington. Everybody knows him in the Huntington area as 'Ronicka Reed' the female illusionist," Hern said.

Though Hern admits the two spoke once in the last two to three years, he shared information he learned about Carroll's time in Louisville before his death.

"He was living in Lexington and went to Louisville just to run from the law," Hern said.

Police described the relationship between Carroll, Mundt and Banis in a press conference Friday June 18th.

"Apparently this individual was involved with them sexual in a relationship. It appears that they had made some type of plan of robbing him of narcotics," according to Detective Barry Wilkerson." During that robbery, that's when the murder was committed."

Wilkerson said detectives discovered the body, later identified as Carroll, in the rubber tub at least three feet beneath the surface of the dirt basement floor. Carroll died from a gunshot and several stab wounds according to the police report. Wilkerson said police believe the crime occurred in December.

Hern said he wasn't completely surprised that his former boyfriend died a violent death. He said it was "not uncommon" for James to make threat against someone or others to make threats against him during the time of their relationship.

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