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Former Northwestern University official's roommate convicted of murder

Friday, March 08, 2013

The first court trial in a gruesome "he said-he said" murder case that pitted an ex-Northwestern University official and his roommate, has resulted in a guilty verdict.

He did it.

The he is Joseph Banis, convicted Friday morning for his role in the murder of meth dealer James Carroll in mid-december 2009.

Prosecutors in Louisville, Kentucky said Banis and former Northwestern official Jeffrey Mundt were having sex and doing drugs with Carroll in mid-December 2009 when they decided to rob and kill him, stuff the remains in a plastic container and bury it in the basement.

After a nearly two week trial, the Kentucky jury deliberated for about 9 hours on Thursday and returned Friday morning to announce a guilty verdict against Banis on charges of complicity to murder, robbery, tampering, possession of counterfeit money, possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Banis could face the death penalty. Mundt testified in return for escaping the death penalty at his trial later this year.

Just a few years ago Jeffrey Mundt was overseeing a major university-wide IT project at Northwestern. He had been entrusted with the modernization of Northwestern's financial records system.

Now though, five years after leaving Northwestern, Mundt is in a different system... the criminal justice system... charged with murder.

"There was blood that was literally everywhere," Mundt, 41, said while testifying this week against his roommate. "I mean, you could actually smell the blood." The ex-Northwestern official matter-of-factly described a three-way he had with ex-con roommate Joey Banis and drug dealer Jamie Carroll.

"The three of us stripped naked and started watching porn and some music was on," said Mundt.

They were in Mundt's Lousiville home, all three smoking meth and having sex he said, when things got out of hand.

"Joey had a knife in his hand and was slashing at Jamie's throat," Mundt said. They were struggling."

Jamie Carroll was also shot and ended up dead.

From the moment they were arrested for murder, Mundt and his roommate blamed each other for the actual killing.

"What they are calling it around here is the case of 'he said-he said,'" Louisville author David Domine said.

Domine is writing a book on the case and talked to the I-Team from the Kentucky courthouse.

"Mundt, he's not facing the death penalty, it was sort of part of the agreement," Domine said. He agreed to testify against Banis in exchange for the death penalty being dropped."

Both Mundt and his roommate agree that they covered up the killing using a sledgehammer to halve Carroll's body so it would fit inside a plastic box filled with lime. The improvised casket was then buried in Mundt's basement. "Jamie Carroll spent approximately six months in a 50-gallon Rubbermaid container," said prosecutor Josh Schneider.

During that time in 2009, with a body buried in their Louisville basement, Mundt and Banis visited Chicago, Mundt's former home during those Northwestern years. They stayed at the Hyatt Regency, but when they asked a doorman to change a $100 bill, their lives began to unravel.

According to a Chicago Police report obtained by the I-team, the bill was counterfeit, among $55,000 in fake bills, guns, phony ID's, handcuffs, meth pipes and some knock-out drugs.

"One of the Chicago officers was here to testify, talking about the circumstances he found them in, but their reason for being in Chicago was really never addressed," Domine said. "Banis said that they were making bombs and supposedly they were talking of blowing something up or robbing a bank."

Shortly after bonding out of the Cook County Jail and returning to Louisville, police responded to a domestic call at Mundt's home. During questioning, the secret buried in the basement was revealed and by the end of the next day, the plastic container had been unearthed.

Mundt's trial is scheduled to begin May 13th.

Northwestern University officials declined to comment on Mundt or his case.

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