Mundt's co-defendant not allowed to testify in murder trial

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by Adam Walser

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Updated Thursday, May 23 at 7:22 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- "I've never seen anything like this in my life to where this would happen," Judge Mitch Perry said, addressing the predicament that presented itself in court today.

There were more twists and turns in a case that, so far, has been filled with them.

In a surprise move Thursday morning, Joey Banis, the co-defendant already convicted of murder, said he wanted to testify for the commonwealth in the case against his ex-lover Jeffrey Mundt.

Banis and Mundt was charged with murdering James Carroll after a night of sex and drugs, then burying his body in the basement of Mundt's Old Louisville mansion.

Banis originally agreed to testify to avoid the death penalty, but changed his mind and refused to be called as a witness on Monday.

"The Commonwealth has not rested its case in chief. And we are entitled to call witnesses in the case in chief in order to show evidence that we believe helps prove Jeffrey Mundt is guilty of the crime that we indicted him for," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ryane Conroy said, arguing that Banis should be allowed to testify.

Mundt's attorney disagreed, saying Banis already refused to honor his agreement.

"If you allow this man to come in here and testify this will have completely left the rails and turned into a farce that Mr. Banis has been allowed to manufacture," Mundt's attorney Ted Shouse said.

After considering all the facts for more than an hour, Judge Mitch Perry ruled on the matter.
"Under the totality of the circumstances, the court has decided to deny the request. He may not be presented at this time," Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry said.

Prosecutors, who relied on Mundt's testimony to convict Banis, said they are exploring their options.

"I will not close the Commonwealth's case in chief until I have a final word from our office as to what we're going to do about this most important and most decisive issue for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the prosecution," Conroy said.

The final prosecution witness, LMPD Detective Jon Lesher, spent his second full day on the stand testifying on Thursday.
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