'The House in Old Louisville' has dark history

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by Adam Walser / WHAS11 I-Team

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 29 at 8:29 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- It was the scene of one of Louisville's most notorious recent murders, an 8,000 square foot Victorian mansion on South Fourth Street, where two men are accused of murdering their other lover, then burying his body in the wine cellar.

One of the suspects has been convicted of his murder.

The other was in court Monday-- ahead of his trial next month.

But their alleged crime was far from the only bad thing that has happened inside the house in Old Louisville.

“I won't come near here at nighttime,” said Shana Brooks, who lives next to the home.  “I do get a feeling about this place that there are ghosts in there.”

“I wouldn't want to go over there,” said University of Louisville football stand-out Joseph Townsend, who lives across the street.

“I've talked to people who lived in the neighborhood who said they see strange things in the windows at night. They hear strange noises,” said author David Domine, who is writing a book about the house.

This Victorian mansion at 1435 S. Fourth Street is most recently known as the site of a grisly murder and is now the inspiration for a new book called  “The House in Old Louisville”.

“Everything you could want in a Hollywood movie is in this book,” said Domine.

The body of Jamie Carroll, once selected “Miss Pride West Virginia” while performing as female impersonator “Ronica Reed”, was found crammed into a Rubbermaid container, buried in the basement of the home in June of 2010.

“Jamie Carroll was a female impersonator from eastern Kentucky who was very well known,” said Domine, who believes his death went unnoticed for six months because he was a known drug user and drifter.

The suspects in his murder were the home's owner Jeffrey Mundt and his longtime lover  Joseph Banis.  The men lured Carroll over to mansion from a dating website for a night of sex and drugs.  That's when, police say, they stabbed and shot him to death while all three were engaging in sex acts.

Both Banis and Mundt were charged with his murder, but each blames the other.  

“Jamie was screaming Joey's name over and over and over again. Jamie had a knife in his hand and was slashing at Jamie's throat,” Mundt testified back in March.

“Jamie was yelling my name, asking for help. And Jace (Mundt) pulled a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver out and before I knew it, had shot Jamie,” Banis told investigators during a videotaped interrogation played at his trial.

Banis was convicted of murder in March and Mundt stands trial next month.

The men were charged with the murder weeks after being arrested by Chicago police for passing counterfeit $100 bills there.

Police seized more than $50,000 in funny money police say the two manufactured to buy drugs.

Mundt was once a prominent IT specialist at Northwestern University in Chicago.  Banis, the son of a prominent plastic surgeon, was once a nightclub owner.

“There's drug dealing going on, counterfeit money, this strange love triangle,” Domine said.

Plenty of bizarre details about the murder came out in court.

Now more details are emerging about the 120 year old house.

“There's a number of bad things that have happened in this house,” Domine said.

It was built along what was once called "Millionaire's Row" just after the Southern Exposition in Old Louisville ended in the late 1880's.

“Its early history was fairly typical the first 30 years, you had a well to do family living there,” Domine said.

Then Dr. Evelyn Bush moved in, opening a sanitarium.

“In the 20's and 30's, they had people in the house. There were a number of deaths there,” Domine said.  

She teamed up with another doctor, who eventually lost his medical license for giving fake cancer treatment shots to patients.

“Things that were not approved of,” Domine said.

Fast forward to the 1960's, when nurse Pauline Boren bought the mansion.

“Neighbors on either side said she would just rent it out to anyone. There were hustlers and prostitutes living there, drug dealers,” Domine said.

She moved into home herself in the mid 1980's and died there nine years later.

“One of her less savory tenants broke into her apartment and beat her. It was so severe, that she later died of her injuries,” Domine said.

The mansion was sold to Mundt in 2008 for $335,000.  He planned to open a bed and breakfast there.

After the murder, it sat vacant for years before being sold to an investor for $119,000.

The most recent death associated with this property happened just months ago.

On December 28th, 2012, a man was found frozen to death along this sidewalk.

The victim's family believes he was dragged there by an acquaintance and left in the cold after overdosing on drugs.

“A lot of people have been making analogies to the television show ‘American Horror Story,’” said Domine.

In that show, a family moves into a haunted Victorian mansion that was once a sanitarium, where murders occurred.

A body is buried on the property, there's even a man in a rubber suit in the show, like the one Mundt is wearing in his online dating site profile.

The mansion in the show is now back on the market, as will be the house on S. Fourth Street after undergoing a major renovation.

“The house itself is beautiful. You go in the foyer, you've got this beautiful grand staircase, stain glass windows, the mahogany mantle piece,” said Domine.

“There's got to be some kind of aura that's involved in that house over there. I wouldn't risk it,” said Townsend.

Domine says he has finished with the research part of his book.

He's hoping to complete it shortly after the Mundt trial is finished.

The House in Old Louisville' Facebook page

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