13:47, January 07 133 0 abajournal.com

2020-01-07 13:47:07
‘Transient’ charged in stabbing death of asbestos lawyer who is being hailed as a hero

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Police have charged a man described as a “transient” in the home invasion and stabbing death of an Illinois lawyer Saturday.

The victim, 47-year-old Edwardsville lawyer Randy Gori, was co-founder and managing partner of the Gori Law Firm, report the the Belleville News-Democrat and the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

He handled asbestos, benzene and personal injury litigation, according to his law firm website.

Police charged 28-year-old Timothy Banowetz, described by police as leading a “transient and nomadic lifestyle,” report KMOV 4, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Alton Telegraph and the Belleville News-Democrat. His last known address was in Wentzville, Missouri.

Gori was found dead at his home. Two unidentified minors were also held captive during the attack, police said. Gori’s Rolls Royce SUV, cash and the minors’ cellphones had been stolen.

Capt. David Vucich of the Madison County sheriff’s office said Gori and a woman who interrupted the crime helped save the children’s lives, according to news coverage of his press conference. “I think Randy was a hero in this case,” Vucich said.

A woman who is a friend of Gori’s posted on Facebook that she arrived at the home shortly after the crime, and her dog saved her life, according to the Alton Telegraph.

Police radio identified the potential suspect Saturday as a tall male wearing a green mask and armed with a knife.

Banowetz was found Sunday morning in a wooded area near Gori’s property. Gori’s Rolls Royce was also found in the area. Banowetz was charged Monday with first-degree murder, armed robbery, vehicle theft and unlawful restraint.

Gori and his family had recently donated $2.5 million to the city of Edwardsville for an ice rink and teen center. Last year, his law firm donated $1 million to St. Louis University, where he attended college and law school. He also owned many properties and planned to use the town’s former city hall for a new headquarters for his law firm.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said in a statement that Gori was involved in downtown Edwardsville’s revitalization, “but more importantly, his investments were secondary to his philanthropy. … From a local family in need to causes fighting cancer, Randy would always step up because he truly cared about others.”

Police did not identify a motive but said the crime appeared to have been planned.