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home : news : state news free February 26, 2020

1/8/2020 11:03:00 AM
Suspect in lawyer's death a cash-strapped student

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A 28-year-old man charged in the stabbing death of a prominent Illinois attorney was a cash-strapped Missouri pharmacy student.

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy confirmed Tuesday that Timothy Michael Banowetz, who is charged with first-degree murder and nine other counts, was enrolled as a student in the fall, but declined to give more information on his dates of enrollment or time at the school, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

“This heartbreaking loss is deeply felt on our campus,“ the school said in a statement.

Banowetz is accused of fatally stabbing Randy Gori, 47, and holding two minors captive Saturday night at Gori’s home in Edwardsville, Illinois, a community located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Gori had two children but authorities have not said if they were the minors who were held captive.

No bond was set for Banowetz on Monday and online court records Wednesday didn’t indicate whether he has a lawyer yet.

Banowetz also attended the College of the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri, from 2010 through 2014, a college spokesman said Tuesday.

Police said Banowetz often moved around but stayed in the St. Louis metro area. Court records show he was evicted in December from his Downtown West apartment at 2017.

Investigators would not comment on any motive in Gori’s killing, although the crime also included the theft of Gori’s 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV, along with cash and the minors’ cellphones. Police said they believe Banowetz acted alone.

Police found Banowetz on Sunday morning in a wooded area near Gori’s home, with the stolen SUV nearby.

“In my 22-year career as a law enforcement official, I’ve seen a lot of gruesome cases,” Madison County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dave Vucich said Monday. “But this one elevates to the top of heinous and senseless crimes.”

Gori’s actions during the attack, and an interruption of the crime by a woman, likely saved the lives of the children, said Vucich, who declined to elaborate.

Gori’s law firm specializes in asbestos litigation nationwide, touting more than $3 billion in compensation for clients. In addition to the law firm, Gori also founded a real estate and property management company.

He had a passion for collecting vehicles, especially Ferraris. Gori owned 20 Ferraris and served as vice president of a local chapter of the Ferrari Club of America.

Gori was also known for large charitable donations, including a recent $2.5 million pledge to the city of Edwardsville to help build an ice rink.

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