Timothy Banowetz will remain in prison for the 2020 murder of prominent Edwardsville attorney Randy Gori.
Earlier this week, a Madison County Circuit Court judge dismissed his motion to withdraw the guilty plea he submitted in October 2021 and vacate his 70-year prison sentence.
In his handwritten motion, Banowetz claimed that the guilty plea had resulted from coercion and inadequate representation by his attorney, Public Defender Mary Copeland. He also wrote that Judge Kyle Napp should have recused herself due to political contributions from Gori.
At a hearing before Napp on Wednesday, prosecutors with State’s Attorney Tom Haine’s office successfully argued that the court had received Banowetz’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea too late.
“We hope this ruling brings an end to this convicted murderer’s absurd legal gamesmanship,” Haine stated in a press release.
“We are going to continue (to) make every possible effort to ensure this brutal individual serves every day of his 70-year sentence, so fully deserved, so that the family and loved ones of Randy Gori can continue to heal with a sense of closure.”
According to court documents, Banowetz’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea arrived at the Edwardsville courthouse on Dec. 5, 2022. He claimed that he mailed it on Dec. 20, 2021, shortly after his sentencing hearing, from Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro.
Assistant State’s Attorney Chad Loughrey filed a motion in March to dismiss Banowetz’s motion.
Loughrey argued that, under an Illinois Supreme Court rule, a defendant has 30 days from his sentencing date to file such a motion, and that Napp notified Banowetz of this deadline in open court.
Loughrey’s motion stated that Illinois Department of Corrections records didn’t support Banowetz’s claim that he had mailed his motion to withdraw his guilty plea nearly a year earlier.
“There is no practical