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Wentzville man charged in 'heinous and senseless' murder of Edwardsville lawyer Randy Gori

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Banowetz and Gori side-by-side

Banowetz is accused of stabbing and killing prominent Edwardsville attorney Randy Gori.

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) – A Wentzville, Missouri man was charged Monday in the stabbing death of prominent Metro East attorney Randy Gori.

Timothy Michael Banowetz, 28, is charged with first degree murder. He also faces three counts of armed robbery and unlawful restraint. Gori’s relationship to Banowetz was not immediately known, police said, as they continued to investigate. While Banowetz's most recent address was in Wentzville, police said he lived a "transient and nomadic lifestyle."

Gori, 47, was found stabbed to death inside his home in the 4500 block of Mooney Creek in rural Edwardsville just before 9 p.m. Saturday. His 2020 black Rolls-Royce Cullinan was also missing from the home when police arrived.

Kari McGinness owns the restaurant Cleveland Heath on Main Street. Randy Gori owned the building along with several others in Edwardsville. "He'd pop in and visit and we'd have chats, and it was always nice to speak to him," McGinness said.

"There was an event at the house that prompted someone to call 911," Captain David Vucich with the Madison County Sheriff's Office said, adding additional details would not be released at this time. "We're not going to comment on the motive, or any evidence at all."

[READ: "Randy was a true leader, a wonderful attorney and friend and a champion of our community."]

At the time that Banowetz was in the house, there were two minors inside the home, law enforcement said. Banowetz allegedly forced all three of them to the ground at knife-point and tied their hands. He then stabbed Gori, police said. It is unclear what happened between when Banowetz arrived at the home and Gori's death, but prosecutors said Gori's actions saved the lives of the children. 

“I think Randy was a hero in this case,” Vucich said.

Madison County Prosecutor Tom Gibbons added, "The things that he did were heroic and most likely helped save the lives of the minors involved."

Neither minor was hurt. 

"In my 22 year career as a law enforcement official, I've seen a lot of gruesome cases but this one elevates to the top of heinous and senseless crimes," Vucich said.

Banowetz was found hours after the murder in a wooded area nearby, along with the Rolls-Royce, Vucich said. Investigators said that they can't find a connection between Banowetz and Gori, but evidence suggests that Banowetz had a plan in place before he went to the house. 

They said the crime was premeditated but wouldn't elaborate on motive, saying that information would become clearer when the case goes to trial.

Timothy Michael Banowetz

28-year-old Timothy Michael Banowetz is accused of fatally stabbing Randy Gori.

Gori, a high-profile attorney in the Metro East, was the founder and managing partner of the Gori Law Firm.

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Gori and the Gori Law Firm donated $10,000 to BackStoppers in October, 2019 in honor of fallen Illinois State Police Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, according the law firm's website.

In December, Gori and the law firm donated money to the City of Edwardsville for a new ice rink facility. The rink will be named the Gori Family Ice Complex.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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