Joseph Banis sentenced to life in prison, parole possible
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's the final chapter in a twisted tale of sex, drugs, and murder.
Joseph Banis could now spend the rest of his life behind bars, after being sentenced Wednesday in the 2009 murder of James "Jaime" Carroll.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry sentenced Banis to life in prison with the possibility of parole after twenty years.
The punishment is part of a sentence agreement offered to Banis by the prosecution. In exchange for his testimony against Jeffrey Mundt, his co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, commonwealth attorneys agreed to exempt Banis from the death penalty upon sentencing.
Banis was convicted of murdering Carroll and burying his body in a plastic bin in the basement of Mundt's Old Louisville home.
Before being sentenced, Judge Perry allowed Banis to read a statement to the court.
"First of all, and most importantly, I maintain my innocence," said Banis. "I think that the record needs to reflect some important aspects of this case which have been relegated to the sidelines and neglected,"
Throughout the ten minute statement, Banis professed his innocence repeatedly, apologized to the family of Carroll, criticized the prosecution's handling of the case, and enlisted the sympathy of the public.
"I know people look at me and they think, 'how could you?'," said Banis. "I admit that I assisted in covering up the crime. I understand these emotional responses, but put yourself in my place."
Defense attorney Darren Wolff motioned that Banis' original waiver to an appeal be lifted on the basis that Banis was not granted enough time to prepare for his testimony in Mundt's trial.
Judge Perry denied the request and proceeded with the sentencing agreement previously approved by all parties.
"We still think that the sentencing agreement should be set aside," said Wolff. "What's next? I guess none of us really know."
Wolff said it will be up to the appellate courts to decide whether or not Banis officially waived his right to an appeal.
Banis could be eligible for parole in 2033.
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