Defense rests in Banis murder trial


by Adam Walser

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 7:36 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Jefferson County jury is expected to begin deliberations Thursday in the capital murder trial of Joseph Banis.

Banis' defense laid out its case Wednesday without calling him to the stand.

For more than a week, prosecutors have been trying to prove that Banis killed James Carroll, then buried his body in the basement of his lover Jeffrey Mundt's Old Louisville mansion.

According to prosecutors, all three men were having sex with each other at the time of the crime. Mundt, who has also been charged with Carroll's murder, spent two days testifying against Banis.

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

From the beginning, Banis' attorneys have said that Mundt was lying.

On Wednesday they called three witnesses to challenge his credibility, including a contractor who Mundt asked about pouring concrete over Carroll's basement grave, a knife expert who testified that Mundt was seen in a photo with the same type of knife allegedly used to kill Carroll, and Mundt's former coworker, who said Mundt showed up at work with injuries on his face around the time Carroll was killed.

“I knew immediately where those scratches came from, I knew,” Libby Davis said, describing her reaction to the news that a body had been found in Mundt’s home.

As for hearing Banis' side of the story, the jury was only able to do that through a video recording of a police interrogation.

“There was blood flying. There was a lot of yelling,” Banis said, describing how he said Mundt murdered Carroll. “I thought he was going to shoot me and drop me into that hole.”

Attorneys spent the afternoon finalizing jury instructions.

They will deliver closing statements beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday.