Mundt found not guilty of murder

Published: May. 30, 2013 at 12:39 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2013 at 12:39 AM EDT
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Jeffrey Mundt right before the verdict was read.
Jeffrey Mundt right before the verdict was read.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Jeffrey Mundt has been found not guilty on the charge of murder in Jamie Carroll's death.

The jury announced their verdict around 8:35 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition to murder, the jury also found Mundt not guilty of criminal facilitation of murder and not guilty of robbery.

The jury found Mundt guilty on charges of tampering with physical evidence and facilitation of robbery.

Carroll disappeared in December 2009.  His body was found six months later buried in the basement of the home Mundt shared with then boyfriend Joseph Banis after Banis was arrested during a domestic dispute between the couple.

Banis was found guilty on May 7, 2013 for murdering Carroll. As part of a sentence agreement, he would get life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years if he gave up his right to appeal and testified against Mundt.

Banis, refused to testify on May 20 after he was denied a new trial, but he agreed to testify against Mundt in exchange for prosecutors dropping the death penalty and recommending life with the possibility of parole in 20 years.

On Thursday, May 24,  Judge Mitch Perry said he would not allow Banis to testify, but after Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine argued denying Banis' testimony could hamper prosecuting Mundt and may affect outcome of the case, Perry reversed his decision.

When Banis took the stand on Friday May 25, he told jurors his version of what happened to Carroll in December 2009.

Banis told the jury while he is open about his long criminal history and drug use, Mundt did not have a record so he was able to live a dual existence. "One which he shows to the world and which allows him to operate in the milieu of a semi-professional environment and one which allows him to satisfy whether it's sexual needs, drug use other impulses financial needs at the time," Banis told jurors.

It was that hidden lifestyle Banis said he was afraid Mundt would use against him, which is why he told jurors he carried a gun. "I had seen him without any preamble or forewarning go from zero to 100 miles per hour and the extreme violence and absolute hesitation I saw on the night Jamie Carroll was killed scared me."

Mundt also took a deal to avoid the death penalty if he testified against Banis. The stories of each man pretty much lined up, with the players switched. While Mundt told the jury in Banis' trial it was Banis who killed Carroll and he only helped because he was scared, Banis said it was actually the other way around. Banis told the jury it wasn't him. "Jeffrey Mundt stabbed and shot Jamie Carroll and forced me to cover it up."

He said it was Mundt who suggested no one would miss Carroll if he was gone. Banis said he regrets now not knowing what Mundt meant.

The jury recommended a sentence of eight years for Mundt: Five years for tampering with physical evidence and three years for criminal facilitation of robbery.  It will be up to the judge to decide if that's what Mundt actually gets.

Formal sentencing is set for June 26 for Mundt. Banis is scheduled to be sentenced on June 12.

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