Sentencing deal reached in Banis trial; victim's mother speaks out


by Gene Kang

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 12 at 4:52 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A sentencing deal has been reached in the Joseph Banis murder trial, allowing Banis to avoid the death penalty.

The mother of the victim, James Carroll, has avoided the majority of the trial because she did not want to relive her son's twisted and gruesome death. On Monday she finally spoke to a jury as Joseph Banis received a plea deal.

"He was to me the sunshine in my heart and there's a hole in my heart that will never be filled," Ellen Carroll said.

She said her son was more that just a drug dealer in a twisted love triangle.

"He was such a kind and gentle person...I just loved him with all my heart, Carroll said.

It took five hours for Joseph Banis to reach a plea deal with prosecution. The decision was life in prison with eligibility for parole in 20 years as long as he testifies against co-defendant, Jeffrey Mundt in May. This means he avoids the death penalty.

"He felt that taking it completely off the table and not as an option was important enough to sign the document today," Banis' attorney, Darren Wolff said.

Banis was convicted of murdering and robbing Carroll then burying his body in a rubber container in his Old Louisville home.

"His heart as does ours does go out to the Carroll family," Wolff said.

Carroll's mother left while wiping tears. She fainted outside of court due to all the pressure and heartache. She was carried away on a stretcher by paramedics.

"That's one of the reasons I asked her to make this trip is because the jury was entitled to know what his mother knew about him. She loved him and she was entitled to say that to people who were looking at horrible pictures of her son," prosecutor, Ryan Conroy said.

"I trust in justice and that you all will get justice for my child. Thank you and god bless you all," Carroll said. 

Banis will officially be sentenced on June 12.