Holiday Hills shooter moved to prison for life sentence before family gets to say good bye

The wife of Scott Peters, the Holiday Hills man sentenced Thursday to 135 years in prison, this morning was in tears as she told the judge her husband had been sent away to prison this before she and their daughter could say good bye.

Lisa Peters cried as she stood before Judge Sharon Prather holding the paperwork in her hand that the judge had signed yesterday at the close of Peters’ sentencing. The pink copy court order stated that Peters would be allowed one contact visit with his wife and their 13-year-old daughter.

Peters told the judge that she had gone yesterday, immediately after the sentencing and pre-arranged with his jailers to be there at 9 a.m. this morning. She said she waited for the jailers to get their copies of the court order as well and then scheduled the visit.

“Me and my daughter came to say good bye to him and he’s gone,” she said tearfully.

Prather, who sentenced Peters to what is essentially a life sentence for shooting at three McHenry County deputies — seriously injuring two, apologized and told Peters that sending her husband away before she saw him was “inconsiderate.”

“However, there is nothing I can do,” Prather said.

The woman, with her daughter at her side, left the courtroom in tears and said “Nobody cares.”

Dave Devane, chief administrative officer who oversees the jail and police operations, said the jail never received its copy of the court order stating the contact visit had been approved by Prather — a copy of what Peters had in her hand on Thursday.

However, Peters said when she went to the jail after the sentencing she waited until the jailers received that paperwork so she could schedule her visit.

That same court order also included the approved request to allow Peters to make two non-collect phone calls, and Peters said her husband had called her Thursday night. So, Lisa Peters, questioned if he was allowed to make the phone calls then they should have known he also would have been allowed a visit. She said jailers knew she was coming to visit.

Devane denies the jail ever received the court order and said no visit was ever scheduled.

“The officer went up to (the courtroom to) find the yellow order and looked all around and couldn’t find it, therefore we were never given an official court order to permit this visit. (Visits) don’t happen without a court order. The scheduling doesn’t have any legal significance, the court order does,” Devane said.

He said Peters was moved at 5:45 am Friday morning as a single passenger to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

He said Peters had been “cheeking” his medication, was on a razor restriction and on suicide watch. Devane declined to say what the medication was and for what he was prescribed.

Throughout Scott Peters’ detainment in the county jail since his October arrest he repeatedly alleged mistreatment by jailers. Each time Prather found them to have no basis.
Devane said today that Peters’ accusations against his jailers are “untrue.”

Holiday Hills shooter sentenced to 135 years in prison: Victims and loved ones share their stories

Scott Peters, the Holiday Hills man who shot and wounded two McHenry County deputies as they made a well-being check at his home last October, was sentenced today to 135 years in prison.

During today’s sentencing the eight-year-old son of Deputy Khalia Satkiewicz, one of the wounded officers, described his thoughts at first seeing his mother in the hospital and wanting to give her a hug.

“When I saw her in the bed I felt very sad … I felt mad at the man who shot my mommy,” said Nicholas Satkiewicz as his tears filled the courtroom.

Peters, 52, who was found guilty in April of 15 counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm at a peace officer, sat stoic as his sentence was read.

Just after 1 a.m. Oct 16, Peters fired shots from an assault rifle at Satkiewicz and Deputy Dwight Maness thorough a closed front door.

He then opened the door and chased them, still shooting, as they ran for cover in the darkness. He struck and seriously wounded the deputies. He also fired shots at a third deputy, Eric Luna, who was not injured. Peters then led authorities on a 16-hour manhunt before being arrested.

Satkiewicz’s 13-year-old daughter Sierra said seeing her mom wounded and crying for the first time in the hospital was “heartbreaking.”

“My mother didn’t deserve any of this,” she said.

As the children read their statements Peters sat without emotion, however, his wife Lisa, quietly wiped away tears.

Robert Satkiewicz, an Illinois State Police Master Sergeant, described what Peters did that night — hiding behind a door and shooting at officers who went to his home to help his own wife and daughter– as “hurtful, destructive and cowardice.”

“You are lucky I wasn’t there, you wouldn’t be here today,” he told Peters. “You are a domestic terrorist and should be treated as such. … “I pray you never see the light of day outside prison walls again.”

Deputy Khalia Satkiewicz said “Nightmare cannot begin to describe the terror I felt that night.”

“The night turned into an ambush that was meant to kill us … His agenda was clear, he was hellbent on killing us,” she said adding that she saw her children’s faces before her as she ran for cover.

“We should be dead … God was with us that night. “Evil showed itself on Oct. 16 in the form of Scott Peters,” she said. “The physical wounds will heal but the mental and emotional scars will be with me my entire lifetime.”

Maness’ colleague McHenry County Police Sergeant Travis McDonald, read a statement written by Maness who could not attend the sentencing. He suffered new injuries this week to his right leg following a procedure to help repair his left leg and was in the hospital. He has so far undergone 15 surgeries.

Maness wrote that for his whole life, including serving 20 years in the military and as a police officer the last seven, he has been a “warrior” and has “(stood) up for people who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Calling Peters a “coward” and a “sociopath” Maness wrote that Peters “has no honor” and “does not know what it is like to sacrifice.

“It is all about him,” Maness wrote. He added that the injuries sustained in the ambush have caused him to lose “every ounce of dignity” and he credited his wife Sue with caring for him.

The events of that night have caused him to be “shut out form the outside world” and he has suffered greatly physically, mentally and emotionally.

However, he said, the incident had brought the department closer together and that after that day deputies “held their children a little tighter and told their spouses they loved them a little more.”

Despite his injuries, Maness said “I am a warrior and will continue to walk the warrior’s path.”

His wife, Sue Maness, described getting the phone call at 2 a.m. that her husband had been shot.

“I was paralyzed with fear and sick to my stomach,” she said.

“My husband is the epitome of what a soldier, a police officer and a man should be … (you are) coward hiding behind a door. What kind of a man is that?
Before the hearing got underway, the prosecutor played an audio recording of a phone call Peters made to his wife after being found guilty on April 30. On the recording Peters tells his wife that he was found guilty and asks her to find him a new lawyer. He made claims that his attorneys, jail officers and the jury were all against him and that he was not treated fairly. He also accused police officers of taking the front door off and shooting more bullet holes into it, setting him up.

“The whole thing is rigged,” he repeatedly told his wife.

Often referring to one another as “baby and “honey” Peters told his wife he was sorry and that she didn’t have to stay with him.

Before sentencing his public defense attorney Angelo Mourelatos said Peters may suffer some mental health issues including depression, delusions and post traumatic stress disorder. He also said a long prison term could be a hardship on his wife and 13-year-old daughter.

Peters apologized to all the families who were hurt by what he did. He said he has “been stick to my stomach ever since” that night.

“In the end there were families on each side of the door at my house that night,” Peters said. “I pray everyone will recover from it.”

Before handing down, what is essentially a life sentence, Prather told Peters that he had never taken responsibility nor shown any remorse for what he did. She also called his accusations in the phone call to his wife in which he said the officers staged the crime scene by shooting bullets into his front door as “ludicrous.”

Prather said the responsibility of what happened “lays right at your feet.”

“There was no nonsense in this case, no lies, the only lies I heard in this case came from you,” Prather said.

Shane Lamb: key witness in 2002 disappearance gets 20 years for stealing guns

Shane Lamb — a key witness in the infamous 2002 disappearance and presumed murder of a Johnsburg teenager — told a McHenry County judge today that when he is out of prison in his latest case he wants “to come out a better man.”

Lamb, 30, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing a safe from the home of a friend last April.

In January, he pleaded guilty to aggravated possession of a stolen firearm, in exchange prosecutors dropped three remaining charges.

Lamb admitted that he stole a safe from the McHenry townhouse of John Farenzena.

Farenzena testified Thursday that he had known Lamb for about 18 years and that he was a friend to Lamb when no one else was. Then he went on vacation and when he returned home found his 600-pound safe had been stolen. Witnesses identified Lamb in a police lineup as the thief, authorities said.

The safe contained 12 firearms, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, silver, a watch, 1/2 carat diamond and memorabilia. Police say that three of the 12 guns have been recovered as have some memorabilia. Prosecutors said they have knowledge of the guns being used in crimes in Chicago and Elk Grove Village. They fear what other crimes will be committed with the nine remaining guns unaccounted for.

Lamb has a lengthy criminal history that includes prison time for aggravated battery and drugs. However, he is best known as a key witness who testified against Mario Casciaro in two murder trials. His testimony landed Casciaro in prison in 2013 for the murder of Brian Carrick, 17. Carrick was last seen alive in Casciaro’s family grocery store in Johnsburg on Dec. 20, 2002. Lamb testified in those trials that at Casciaro’s direction he delivered what might have been a fatal punch to Carrick to collect on a $500 drug debt the night he disappeared. Carrick’s body has never been found.

Lamb has since recanted his story and Casciaro is appealing his conviction.

In court today there was no mention of the Casciaro case or Carrick.

Instead, Lamb apologized to Farenzena.

He told McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather that “I have been in and out of prison my whole life.” He said while he had a mentally ill mother, his father “tried his hardest” to raise him and his three brothers.

Lamb, recently diagnosed with bipolar, admitted that he has often turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with pain, especially when his son died of sudden infant death syndrome at just 45 days old and when his older brother committed suicide.

He said he would seek treatment for alcohol and drugs while in prison.

Lamb’s father, Dan Sinkovitz said his son was a good boy until age 14 when he was involved in an attempted robbery with another juvenile. In the robbery a woman was shot and injured. The other juvenile was sent to a rehabilitation center in Colorado, while his son served hard time in a St. Charles juvenile detention center, he said.

“It was a terrible place,” Sinkovitz said.

He said his son was incarcerated with older boys and that guards and other inmates beat him up regularly.

“He was there 3 1/2 years,” Sinkovitz said. “Fighting was a way of life. When he came out he was hardened.”

In asking for a 12 year sentence, Lamb’s attorney Paul De Luca said his client deserves a chance at rehabilitation and a life after prison.

“He is aware that if he commits another crime he faces life in prison,” De Luca said.
“He’s not just this raging maniac out here.”

De Luca noted that Lamb has a girlfriend waiting for him who he wants to build a life with and an ailing father who needs his help. He said Lamb is remorseful for steeling from Farenzena and he also worries about the guns being out on the street.

Calling Lamb “vile” and his defense “nonsense” and “a lot of excuses,” Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud rebuked any sentimental explanation of Lamb’s criminal history.

“Shane Lamb is being portrayed as a victim of the system … (somehow) we got it wrong … he is a victim,” Zalud said. “His dad said he helped him, his parents helped him, he has had support. How long do we have to pay until he learns how to grow up?”

Zalud said anytime Lamb is not in prison he is just playing “a waiting game for his next victim.”

“Shane Lamb is in a free fall,” Zalud said. “There is no bottom for this guy. He is going to continue to commit more crimes. He is incredibly selfish and he is incredibly violent.”

Prather acknowledged that Lamb had a rough life, but said it is his own fault that he continues to get into trouble.

“Your pain doesn’t justify you inflicting pain on others,” Prather said. “Everybody makes mistakes … this is going to be your fourth trip to (prison). If you don’t change your life … you will spend your life in prison or die.”

Lamb listened intently and nodded his head as Prather spoke directly to him.

“The court does not take pleasure in handing down heavy sentences, but you brought this on yourself,” Prather said.

Lamb also must pay $15,000 to Farenzena for restitution. He will receive one year’s credit for time served since his arrest last April. He is required to serve 50 percent of the sentence, so he could be out of prison in nine years.

High school teacher found not-guilty of taking lewd photos of student

A 44-year old former McHenry East High School teacher was acquitted on charges today of taking a photo up a female student’s skirt in May.

Thomas Eggert, of McHenry, said “Thank you, you’re honor” then turned to hug his wife after the judge said he was not guilty of using an iPhone to take lewd photos of the 16-year-old girl.

During an assembly held in the school’s auditorium on May 6, when Eggert was to be taking photos of exhibits in the World’s Fair assembly, two female students reported they saw Eggert use his iPhone to take the photos.   The alleged victim was sitting in a display, described in court as a pool, just feet away from him, the girls said.

When an associate principal asked Eggert for his phone he lied and said he did not have it on him. Surveillance cameras inside the school captured him going into his classroom and after 90 seconds reemerging with his cell phone. He then handed it over, prosecutors said.

Assistant State’s Atty Robert Ladd said that all the photos of the day were deleted. Those deleted photos were never recovered.

After the state rested Friday morning, the second day of the two-day bench trial, Eggert’s defense attorney Dan Hoffman said his client did not wish to testify. Hoffman, who cross examined the state’s witnesses on Thursday, did not present a defense.

In closing arguments, Ladd said the two witnesses said they saw Eggert standing about two feet away from the alleged victim and that he zoomed in under the girls skirt focused in on her underwear. One witness said she saw him using two thumbs to work his phone’s photo application to take the  “under skirt” photo then swipe it to the bottom of the frame of the phone. The girl said she saw the picture of the student’s underwear on Eggert’s phone.

Ladd said the witnesses had no bias against Eggert to make these accusations. The alleged victim said for the last three years in high school Eggert was always friendly with her. But the day after the alleged incident he grew cold toward her.   “He iced her out,” Ladd said adding he treated her this way because Eggert felt shame over what he had done.   “He violated the innocence and trust of a 16-year-old girl,” Ladd said.

But Hoffman countered that Eggert was standing about five feet away from the girl and was holding his phone elbows high while taking photos, not an angle where an “up skirt” photo could be taken. He also said the alleged victim was not sitting in a way that such a photo of her underwear could be captured.   He also said the two witnesses were inconsistent and could not remember details and one in particular seemed overly “dramatic.”

Eggert admitted on May 9 to deleting photos and other data from his phone on that day before handing it over. But, Hoffman said, that it is Eggert’s right to maintain his privacy and what had been deleted was not related to the accusations against him.   “(He) had a legitimate interest in not turning over his phone,” Hoffman said.  “There were other things on the phone  he didn’t want exposed. He told (authorities) he deleted other things from his phone.”

Judge Robert A. Wilbrandt said though Eggert lied about having his phone on his person when the associate principal asked him for it, then went to his classroom and deleted photos from his phone before turning it over, the witness testimony seemed ambiguous. He also said though Eggert was unprofessional for lying about where his phone was, the state did not prove evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

As the alleged victim and her parents walked out of the courtroom the father threatened Eggert. “I’ll see you around,” the man said pointing at Eggert. A male supporter of Eggerts then lodged into a oral confrontation with the man. The alleged victim and her parents were escorted out by security guards.

As Eggert left the courthouse, he said: “I want it clearly stated: I am innocent of all these charges and that is it.”

Shane Lamb -key witness in Brian Carrick disappearance case- pleads guilty to firearm charges

Shane Lamb — a key witness in the infamous 2002 disappearance and presumed murder of a Johnsburg teenager — pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated possession of a stolen firearm in a separate case.

Lamb, 30, faces six to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced March 19. Lamb took a blind plea which means he does not know what his sentence will be.

In exchange for the guilty plea, McHenry County prosecutors dropped three remaining felonies.

Please clip link below to read the full story.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/mchenry-woodstock-huntley/ct-shane-lamb-guilty-plea-met-20150105-story.html

Judge denies change of venue & special prosecutor for Shane Lamb – Trial set to begin Jan. 12

Shane Lamb -best known in McHenry County for providing testimony in a murder trial that landed a Fox Lake man in prison for 26 years – recently lost an attempt to have a special prosecutor try his latest felony when it goes to trial in January.

Lamb, also lost motions for a change of venue and the suppression of evidence that led to his arrest in April. He has been charged with residential burglary, possession of stolen firearms and being an “armed habitual criminal.” He is accused of stealing a safe containing guns and ammunition from the McHenry home of a friend.

His attorney Paul DeLuca argued that because Lamb has a long and sorted history with McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office and with Michael Combs, the chief of the county’s criminal division, he would not receive a fair trial.

Combs, whom DeLuca also subpoenaed to take the stand at the hearing which the judge denied, made a deal with Lamb in 2010 to tell a story that led to the conviction of Mario Casciaro, 31, in the 2002 disappearance and presumed death of Brian Carrick, 17. In exchange for his testimony, Lamb would never face charges in the case.

All three men worked at Val’s Foods, the Casciaro family grocery store, together and allegedly were selling drugs. Carrick, Lamb testified in two trials, was killed over a $500 drug debt he owed Casciaro. Carrick’s body was never found. He said, at Casciaro’s direction he argued with Carrick over the money. He then became angry and punched the boy and may have accidentally killed him inside a produce cooler at the grocery store. Casciaro, Lamb testified, told him he would take care of the body. Carrick’s body has never been found.

But in August Lamb, while sitting in jail awaiting trial for the unrelated theft case, recanted his testimony and said that Combs had coached him on what to tell jurors.

Combs has steadfastly denied any and all accusations made by Lamb.

DeLuca said because of this history with Combs and the state’s attorney’s office, Lamb would not be treated fairly in his upcoming trial.

He said although Combs would not be directly trying the case, attorneys in his office of whom he has control over, would be.

DeLuca motioned to call Combs as a witness during the hearing to ask him about his history with Lamb, but the judge denied that motion saying, having presided over both of Casciaro’s trials – the first ending in a mistrial in 2012 and the second resulting in his conviction in 2013 – she already knows all the details.

DeLuca wanted to ask Combs, given his history with Lamb, a five-time felon who never faced murder charges in the Carrick case, was he “directing his prosecutors in any way to seek the maximum sentence.”

“The defense has the right to challenge (Combs),” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said he has the right to call Combs to ask such questions and ask that he be removed from the case “if there is even an appearance of impropriety.”

He said given Lamb’s recantation in the Casciaro case, accusations against Combs and a recent incident in the courtroom when Lamb called Combs a “bully” there is “personal animus” against Lamb and “certainly an interest now to punish him more severely.”

Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons responded by saying that neither Lamb’s criminal history nor his involvement in Casciaro’s case have anything to do with his current situation and how the McHenry County prosecutors will handle it.

Lamb, he said, is the one with “personal animus” toward the prosecutors’ office.

He also is the one who committed a crime for which there is a range of penalties that he will now face, which have nothing to do with his history.

“There is no connection between (Carrick) murder and what he did with our office,” Gibbons said. “All issues and beliefs he has are based on things he has done himself. He chose it himself, he cannot prosecutor shop because he feels we are bullying him.”

To which Prather agreed stating this scenario does not meet certain criteria warranting a special prosecutor.

“This is a case about Shane Lamb,” Prather said. “The Casciaro case has nothing to do with this case. You cannot create cause based on your own actions. … Mr. Lamb has created any alleged (conflict) and he can’t create that conflict and then come here and complain.”

In his motion for change of venue, DeLuca noted more than 100 local newspaper articles and editorials written about Lamb and his long criminal history. He said “it would be a situation” in which he could not get a fair jury.

Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud countered that it is more about Lamb’s own “ego” in believing that so many people are even aware of him.

Though he may be well known in the justice system, it does not mean he is as well known by the local jury pool, Zalud said.

“I think he will be shocked how many (people) don’t know or care about him, or forgot about him,” Zalud said.

Prather said that jurors will have to make a commitment to set aside what they may know and denied the motion for change of venue. However, she said she will reconsider the motion during jury selection if there appears to be an issue at the time of jury selection.

Prather also denied a motion to suppress evidence. DeLuca asked that the lineup in which he was identified by a neighbor be quashed. He said that the neighbor had been shown the same photo by the alleged victim prior to the police showing it to her in a lineup in which she identified Lamb as one who stole the safe.

A hearing has been set for Jan. 7 when DeLuca plans to argue motions to drop two counts of the indictment. He is expected to argue the state drop a class X charge of unlawful possession of weapons by a felon. The charge states that as a convicted felon he was in possession of a machine gun that was inside the safe he is alleged to have stolen. DeLuca states that there never was a machine gun inside the safe. He also will argue to dismiss a charge of “armed habitual criminal” because, DeLuca said, Lamb has never been convicted of a “forceable felony.”

Lamb’s father Dan Sinkovitz of Lake Bluff was present at the hearing.
He said his son has been treated unfairly by McHenry County prosecutors for years dating back to his first felony conviction of attempted murder when Lamb was just 14.

In that case Lamb was with another minor who shot at a woman in a local bakery. Though she lived, the boys were punished. One boy went off to a private treatment facility while Lamb when to a tough juvenile detention center in Illinois, he said.

His father believes that while the other boy went to a facility where he was rehabilitated, his son was sentenced to an institution where he was abused and beaten by tough street gang members.

Instead of rehabilitation, his son was hardened.

Sinkovitz said he tried to be there for his son, and help him get on the right path, but it seems, trouble always seemed to find him.

He said he is not surprised that the judge denied his son’s motions.

“It’s happened all along the way why shouldn’t it happen again,” he said.

Lamb’s January 12 trial is still set to go as planned.

Casciaro has maintained that he has no knowledge of what happened to Carrick and has pointed the finger at another Johnsburg man who died in 2012.

His case is still on appeal.

Johnsburg Illinois missing boy’s mystery continues: 12 years later no real answers, plenty of theories, peace for no one

While one attorney prepares a new trial for Shane Lamb, a key witness in the notorious 12-year-old Johnsburg missing person’s case, another attorney works to free the man she says was wrongfully convicted based on Lamb’s testimony.

Last week, a private attorney out of DuPage County working pro bono for Lamb who is being held in the McHenry County jail on $300,000 bond, filed motions before Judge Sharon Prather in preparation for Lamb’s January trial. De Luca is asking for a change in venue, disqualification the state’s attorney’s office from prosecuting Lamb and suppression of the line up in which Lamb was identified by a witness.

Lamb, charged with residential burglary, possession of stolen firearms and being an  “armed habitual criminal,” is facing upwards of about 40 years in prison if found guilty.  He is accused of stealing a safe from the McHenry  home of an acquaintance.  The safe, which has not yet been recovered, contained a number of guns and rounds of ammunition.

But Lamb’s story in the McHenry County courtroom began years earlier.

Besides his first felony conviction for attempted murder at the age of 14, and multiple convictions for drugs and battery charges — Lamb is best known locally as the star witness whose testimony landed Mario Casciaro, of  Fox Lake, in prison for 26 years for the 2002 murder of Brian Carrick, 17.

Lamb has recently recanted his story and claims to have been coached on what to say on camera in exchange for full immunity in Carrick’s disappearance and presumed death by chief of the criminal division for McHenry County Michael Combs.

Casciaro, 31, who sits in Menard Correctional Center, stood trial twice for the murder of Brian Carrick who worked with him in his family’s Johnsburg grocery store.

The first trial in 2012 ended in mistrial. In 2013 Casciaro was found guilty of first-degree murder by intimidation, what legal experts say is a rare conviction.

In both trials the case weighed predominately on Lamb’s testimony. Lamb, 30, said under oath that Casciaro was selling drugs in the small town by using kids like himself and Carrick.

When Carrick owed Casciaro a drug debt of nearly $500, Lamb said on Friday night Dec. 20, 2002, Casciaro called him to the store as the “enforcer” of the drug operation to help collect the money.

Lamb told two juries he argued with Carrick inside a produce cooler at the store and became violent when the boy argued back. Lamb testified he punched Carrick out cold. He said Carrick, who had a known heart condition for which he had open heart surgery when he was 10, “fell out.”

Lamb said he went down backward into the cooler bleeding and unconscious. Casciaro then told him to leave, which he did, and he never saw Carrick again. Lamb said that over the years he would ask Casciaro what happened to Carrick to which Casciaro would respond “don’t worry about it,” or “keep your mouth shut.”

Carrick’s body has never been found.

Lamb, who said he never meant to kill or hurt Carrick, maintained throughout both trials that he would not have been at the store that night had Casciaro not called him.

But today, Lamb, facing serious prison time on his new theft charges, said he lied on the stand in both trials.

He now claims he was never at the store that night and Casciaro also has no knowledge of what happened to Carrick. He further claims that Combs coached him on what to say in order to convict Casciaro.

Jonathan Masur,  law professor at the University of Chicago law school, said in order for Casciaro to be granted a new trial or be released from prison the judge first must believe Lamb’s new tale, but it’s likely she won’t.

“I have pages of law books littered with key witnesses who have later recanted their testimony and courts that have refused to believe the new information,” Masur said.

“If the judge is convinced that what (Lamb) is saying right now is correct … this is momentous this is enormously important,” Masur said.  “(Casciaro) could very well be released and get a new trial at which he might very well be acquitted. “If what (Lamb) is saying is truthful, then the police and prosecutors involved have committed crimes.”

But Masur added it is a “very big if” whether Prather will believe Lamb’s recantation. Prather, the presiding judge in both trials and other court matters related to this case, knows the history and the evidence.

Over the years, Lamb has been on record telling different stories about Carrick’s disappearance. In 2004 and 2006 he is documented as saying he knew nothing about the night Carrick disappeared. In 2007, Lamb told a Grand Jury he knew nothing about Carrick’s disappearance. In 2010, facing unrelated drug charges, he received his immunity deal, and under oath, gave the story that resulted in Casciaro’s conviction.

Additionally, Masur said, Lamb could lose his immunity and be indicted for murder.

“This sort of thing happens (frequently) and the judge might very well believe (Lamb) is now lying because he has very little to lose by lying,” Masur said citing Lamb’s latest case for which he is facing a decades-long prison sentence.  “The judge could think he is lying (now) trying to do (Casciaro) a favor.”

Combs rebuked Lamb’s accusations saying they are “illogical.” He vehemently denies ever being alone with Lamb. He equally discounts the assertion he ever coached him in anyway. “That is not plausible.” Combs said he has a sworn affidavit from Lamb’s former lawyer supporting his truthfulness.

In August, Lamb calling Combs a “bully” rejected a plea deal in his current case.

Lamb’s attorney, De Luca said Lamb is now telling the truth.

“He’s got nothing to gain. … He’s got everything to lose, everything, he’s (facing) a murder indictment,” De Luca said.

De Luca said Lamb never believed that his testimony would convict Casciaro and now feels responsible for him being in prison and wants to help get him freed. De Luca said Lamb has told him that on the night Carrick disappeared he was “at a party all night” and that, Casciaro never called him and that he never went back to the store. However, during both trials Lamb’s sworn testimony was corroborated by witnesses. One man said that after a night of drinking in 2006, he asked Casciaro what happened to Carrick. The man testified at both trials that Casciaro told him the very story that Lamb told on the stand in both trials. Another man said he argued with Casciaro in a bar one night and Casciaro told him he’d better watch it because he “makes people disappear.”

Kathleen Zellner, Casciaro’s appellate attorney, discounts these witnesses’ testimony alleging they had deals with prosecutors to tell their stories. Zellner also claims Casciaro’s attorneys were not given all the evidence or names of witnesses in the case.

Calling the allegations “ridiculous” Combs said Casciaro’s defense attorneys had knowledge of all evidence and witnesses since 2007 when he was charged with perjury in connection with Carrick’s disappearance. Casciaro was acquitted of those charges.

Zellner theorizes that another employee, Rob Render, attacked Carrick with a box cutter, shoved his body into a garbage can and rolled the can out back of the store. She said someone later would have come to pick up the garbage can and dispose of the boy’s body.

But Combs, who said Render is being used by the Casciaros as a “scapegoat” counters Zellner’s theory as “idiotic, to say a 17-year-old kid without a car could dispose of a body.”

An attorney who represented Render in 2008 when he was charged with concealment of a homicide in Carrick’s disappearance– charges that later were dropped — said Zellner’s accusations are “unconscionable.”

“He was a junky, he was a stoner … he had a difficult childhood,” said George Kililis. “Otherwise he was a very gentle kid, he was kind … there was not a bad bone in his body. This is the kind of kid who would never hurt anyone.”

Kililis completely discounts Zellner’s theory and said he will always defend Render’s innocence. He said her theory is implausible pointing out that there is no way Render, a small framed boy at the time, could have secretly disposed of Carrick’s body and cleaned up all the blood that would have spilled from Carrick had he been sliced with a knife.

He said the shadow of Carrick’s death followed Render throughout his life and likely led to his heroin overdose in 2012.

“He told me privately part of the reason he turned to heroin was because he could never get away from this as much as he tired,” Kililis said. “Everybody thought he knew something about this, they tortured this kid. … I want them to leave my guy alone in his grave … I want them to leave him alone.”

Zellner and Combs recently entered an “agreed order” to have clothing items tested for DNA that had been retrieved from Render’s garbage can by a surveillance team six days after Carrick went missing.

“I have nothing to hide so I will not oppose testing,” Combs said.

Zellner had hoped to have a pair of “soiled” underwear also tested for DNA. She believed that the underwear would link authorities to whoever murdered Carrick. Authorities said the underwear were found above a ceiling tile in the bathroom of the grocery store.

However, the underwear won’t be tested because they no longer exist, authorities have said.

“We are outraged that the (Johnsburg Police Department) threw out the most crucial piece of evidence in this case so far, the bloody underwear,” Casciaro’s sister Julia Casciaro-Mulle wrote in a letter. “We strongly believe that the DNA testing of this underwear could clear Mario. We want to know what happened to it.”

Combs said this should have come as no surprise to the Casciaros.

“The Casciaro family has known that underwear has been gone for seven years because their attorney was provided that information in discovery in 2007 when (Cassciaro) was charged with perjury,” Comb said.

Zellner said she and Combs have met and discussed the case.

“The more cooperation there is the more likely we are to get to the truth of what happened,” Zellner said.

At a later date Zellner said she will file an amended petition for post conviction relief in McHenry County based, in part on Lamb’s new story. She also is appealing Casciaro’s conviction in the Second District Appellate Court based. This appeal is, in part, based on forensic evidence from the 2013 trial. She claims, among other allegations, that the blood patterns found do not match what experts say would have happened had Carrick been punched. Zellner believes the murder did not happen in the cooler as authorities have maintained for more than a decade, but that it happened in the hallway leading to a back exit door.

Rob Render Senior testified at trial that his son came home that night right after work and never went back out. A fellow co-worker who drove Render home that night said he did not notice blood or cuts on Render.  Though defense attorneys pointed to him throughout the first trial, Render Jr. had never been called to testify. He died of a heroin overdose before the second trial.

Zellner says Casciaro was accounted for throughout the evening, while Render was missing for two hours, and Render’s blood was found inside the cooler.

Combs said there were a couple “very, very” tiny drops of Render’s blood found and that there is no way of knowing how old that blood was. Combs also said that no one ever claimed to have seen Render bleeding that night. In fact, Combs said, Casciaro under sworn testimony before a Grand Jury, said he never saw any blood or cuts on Render that night.

Masur described what Combs did in this case, as “extraordinary and completely within legal bounds.”

“It is rare for a crime like intimidation to be used as the underlying felony,” he said.
The charge is a way to “rope in people who were peripheral pieces to this murder.”
He said likely Combs believed Casciaro “was a really bad guy.”

After Lamb recanted his story the Carrick family was contacted. A sibling said the family has no comment. Bill Carrick, Brian’s father, still lives in the family home across the road from the grocery store where his son was last seen alive.

Lamb’s next court date is Dec. 12. Casciaro’s attorneys are expected back in the McHenry Courtroom in January.

To learn more on the case visit link (below) to ABC 2020 feature “Mystery on Johnsburg Road.”

http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrBT8dGAWxUbb0AcwJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0bjAxNjdrBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDIyN18x?p=abc+mystery+on+johnsburg+road

 

Mental illness, substance abuse and prescription drugs lead to gruesome murder in a small town

A Woodstock man who suffered from “severe bi-polar episodes” and experienced a psychotic break due to medication, according to expert witnesses, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years for the brutal murder of a homeless man in 2009.

As Kyle Morgan, 29, was led away by McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies he and his family said “I love you” to each other. Deputies denied requests for hugs from his parents.

Morgan pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder in July for stabbing to death Robin A. Burton Jr., a homeless man, whose last known address was in Rockford.

The two had just met that day on Jan. 18, 2009. They were hanging out at Morgan’s apartment drinking beer and playing video games when out of no where Morgan attacked Burton with a hammer and a knife, said Morgan’s attorney Steven Greenberg.

Authorities said it was a gruesome crime scene inside Morgan’s apartment where  Morgan admitted to stabbing and bludgeoning Burton.

Kyle Morgan took the stand and apologized to Burton’s family.

“I wish I could change the past,” Kyle Morgan said adding that he had struggled for years with his mental illness and drugs and alcohol.

He said he wants to share his story of mental illness and addictions with others.

“I hope I have the chance to thrive in a positive way,” he said.

Prior to sentencing Jonathan Howard, a forensic psychiatrist, testified for the defense that Morgan’s bi-polar, which causes aggression, violence, irritability, depression, mania and poor judgement, was profoundly affected by the prescription drug Vyvanse.

Two expert witnesses said he should have never been prescribed Vyvanse.

He was prescribed Vyvanse in the summer of 2008. Prior to then he had not exhibited violent behavior against others, defense attorneys said.

“Vyvanse should not be given to a person who is bi-polar,” Howard said.

Vyvanse is “particularly powerful” in increasing dopamine in the brain, which can exacerbate bi-polar symptoms, Howard said.

“(Kyle Morgan) should not have been given Vyvanse,” Howard said.

On the day of the murder Morgan doubled up on his Vyvanse and did not take other mood balancing medications he was supposed to be taking.  He often did not take his drugs as prescribed.

He did not have street drugs in his system on the day of the murder, but over the years had abused heroine, cocaine, crack, and he huffed aerosols.

“He was born with a disease and that disease is directly related to what happened here,” said Greenberg in asking for the lesser sentence of 20 years. “This (mental illness) is a birth defect on the inside.”

After the sentencing Greenberg said that McHenry County Judge Michael Feeterer showed “compassion” in handing down the sentence.

As he walked out of the courtroom Greenberg said that at the end of many years of his family searching for the proper care for their son’s mental illness and drug addiction, Morgan was a victim of  “some really bad psychiatric care.”

Morgan had faced up to 36 years.

“This was a horrific, horrific brutal crime,” Michael Combs chief of the criminal division said during closing arguments.  “He chose to abuse drugs and not take medications the way he was prescribed. He killed a man and fled the state.”

After murdering Burton, Morgan left the area and was arrested in Nashville Tennessee.

In asking for the maximum sentence, Combs said if Morgan received just 20 years “He’s out in his forties, he can get out and do this to somebody else. He’s a danger.”

Kyle’s father, Dean Morgan, of Fontana Wi., said his son had battled depression since he was in middle school.

He said his son often cut and stabbed himself, and had attempted to kill himself at least eight times since he was 16.  In that first attempted suicide Morgan tried to jump off of a ten-story apartment building balcony, his father said.

The elder Morgan also said his son had his first drink of alcohol at age 8.

Often choking back tears, Morgan described how he had sent his son to several out-patient and in-patient rehabilitation programs over the years.

He said when his son would come home from a rehab program he would be “an absolutely new person.”

“When sober he was well-liked … had motivation … wanted to go to college,” Morgan said.

But that would be short-lived and within two to three months his son would relapse.

“It would be obvious, no question, he was using,” Morgan said.

James Cavanaugh, forensic psychologist, also testified for the defense and said the crime scene photos show the killing was “highly disorganized.”

The photos showed the “classic, disorganized, impulsive and chaotic crime scene consistent with somebody who is mentally ill,” he said.

In describing the gruesome crime scene, Cavanaugh said Morgan wrote on the wall in a mixture of his own blood and the victim’s blood:  “It is better to reign In hell then to serve in heaven.”

Cavanaugh continued saying that Morgan “desecrated” Burton’s body, which had at least 30 slashes on the head, back, chest and face. He said chunks of the body were cut off and Morgan had laid three Uno playing cards across his chest, each with the number 6 on them.

In “dark” poems Morgan wrote, Cavanaugh said it shows he is “fascinated” with satan worship, the occult, violence and terror. Morgan also had written letters to serial killers Richard Ramirez and Dennis Rader the BTK serial killer. He told Ramirez he admired him. He asked Rader what it was like to murder and if he missed murdering.

All of this, Cavanaugh said, in addition to the bi-polar and depression, shows that Morgan is severely mentally ill. And although he committed this “crazy” crime he knew right from wrong.

Cavanaugh had been asked early on in the case, by the defense, if Morgan was insane at the time of the crime, and he said no. Cavanaugh said although he was severely ill he still knew right from wrong.

After the sentencing,  family members of both Morgan and Burton embraced and apologized to one another.

Cavanaugh said, in his opinion, Morgan would not commit another murder.

“I think it’s a low risk” that Morgan would re-offend when he is released from prison, he testified.

He said in prison he would be getting the proper treatment, healing and as people age they are less likely to do drugs and drink like when they were younger.

Over the years leading up to the murder, doctors and his parents expressed a fear he would either kill himself or someone else.

In 2007 a doctor and his parents tried having Morgan involuntarily committed into a psychiatric hospital. Those close to Morgan said his behavior was “rapidly accelerating downward,” Cavanaugh said.

A Lake County judge denied this saying he did not appear to be a threat to himself or anyone else. But Cavanaugh said this was only because at the time the judge saw Morgan, he was properly taking his medications.

Rick Johnson of Woodstock,  Burton’s uncle said he and his family want to move on and he hopes that Morgan gets the treatment he needs. He described his nephew as “just a normal kid.”

“We are a strong family, it’s been tough, we are a strong family,” Johnson said.

Mario Casciaro seeking a new trial

As Mario Casciaro walked out of lock up and into a McHenry County courtroom wearing county issued orange garb, he blew a kiss to family members who were in court in the hopes of having his murder conviction overturned.

But they all will need to wait until Sept. 24 for Judge Sharon Prather to make her ruling.

Casciaro, 30, appeared in court on a motion to appeal his conviction. He has been in jail since being found guilty in April of first-degree murder with intimidation, in the murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick.

Carrick worked as a stockboy with Casciaro at Val’s Foods in Johnsburg. The grocery store was partly owned by the Casciaro family at the time.

Carrick was last seen alive with Casciaro and Shane Lamb on the evening of Dec. 20, 2002.

Casciaro has long been accused of calling in Lamb to collect a $500 drug debt from Carrick.

This was Casciaro’s second first-degree murder trial. The first trial ended last year in a hung jury.

During both trials, Lamb, who has received immunity in the case in exchange for his testimony, testified that Casciaro asked him to come to the grocery store and help collect his money. Lamb further testified that he became angry with Carrick and punched him and Carrick fell to the ground inside the cooler unconscious. Blood was coming from his nose. Lamb said he then left and doesn’t know what happened to Carrick after that. Lamb said he never saw Carrick again.

Prosecutors have long said that Casciaro knowingly used Lamb as an “enforcer,” “intimidator” and “thug” to get the money from Carrick.

Brian Telander, Casciaro’s attorney, argued that even Lamb himself testified in both trials that he was never told by Casciaro to hurt or intimidate Carrick.

“At no time did (Casciaro) tell Shane Lamb to threaten (Carrick) to get the money,” Telander said adding that at no time did Casciaro tell Lamb to “intimidate,” or “kick his butt,” or “scare him to get the money.”

“He told Lamb ‘come and talk to (Brian),’” Telander insisted. “Come talk to him about the money.”

Telander said that the jury’s conviction was wrong and not based on evidence that was “believable beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“The jury got it wrong,” he said during the hearing.  “Lamb said he got there, got in an argument … ‘I lost my temper and I hit him.’” At no time did he say he threatened Brian Carrick. … “At no time did (Mario) say anything or do anything or make a threat. Shane Lamb only acted out of anger.”

Investigators have said that Carrick’s blood was found in and around the produce cooler where witnesses testified to last seeing him with Casciaro and Lamb.  His blood also was found on boxes in an outside garbage dumpster behind the store.

His body has never been found.

Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally strongly disagreed with Telander’s claims.

“If Shane Lamb wasn’t there to intimidate Brian Carrick, then exactly what was he there to do?” Kenneally said. “Why couldn’t (Casciaro) just ask Brian Carrick for the money? Shane Lamb had a reputation for violence. Shane Lamb was known as a person who was violent, he was known as the person to collect the money for Mario Casciaro.”

Kenneally pointed out that Lamb was a big guy in comparison to Carrick’s small frame.

“Shane Lamb is intimidating,” Kenneally said. “Shane Lamb will engage in violence. It’s just that simple. The defendant was well aware of what he was doing when he brought Shane Lamb in.”

Outside the courtroom, Telander said he was “encouraged” that (Prather) is taking this seriously.  I’m thrilled she’s doing this.”

Along side Telander stood Kathleen Zellner, a high-profile attorney known on a national level for representing people whose civil rights have been violated, according to her website.

Telander said should his motion to overturn the conviction not be successful in Prather’s courtroom, Zellner will take the case on to the appellate court.

Zellner said  Casciaro was wrongfully convicted of intimidation in a case where there was “no threat at all and no weapons.”

“No court in the U.S. would support this conviction,” Zellner said adding that she is “confident” his conviction will be reversed.

In an earlier emailed statement, Mario’s sister, Joanne Casciaro, wrote that prosecutors used her brother as a “scapegoat, so they can say they solved the case.”

The family declined to comment further after the hearing.

But before parting ways after the hearing Jerry Casciaro, Mario’s father, approached William Carrick, Brian’s father. Both, broken hearted men who love their sons. The father of the accused and the father of the victim shook hands.

A sign of healing, forgiveness in a tragedy that has overshadowed one small town and hurt many lives over the last decade?  Maybe.

Please, comment, share, sign up to follow me!  Until next time ….

Mario Casciaro seeking a new trial

As Mario Casciaro walked out of lock up and into a McHenry County courtroom wearing county issued orange garb, he blew a kiss to family members who were in court in the hopes of having his murder conviction overturned.

But they all will need to wait until Sept. 24 for Judge Sharon Prather to make her ruling.

Casciaro, 30, appeared in court on a motion to appeal his conviction. He has been in jail since being found guilty in April of first-degree murder with intimidation, in the murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick.

Carrick worked as a stockboy with Casciaro at Val’s Foods in Johnsburg.

Carrick was last seen with Casciaro and Shane Lamb on the evening of Dec. 20, 2002.

Casciaro has long been accused of calling in Lamb to collect a $500 drug debt from Carrick.

During the trial Lamb, who has received immunity in the case in exchange for his testimony, testified that Casciaro asked him to come to the grocery store and help collect his money. Lamb further testified that he became angry with Carrick and punched him. He fell to the ground inside the cooler unconscious. Blood was coming from his nose. Lamb said he then left and doesn’t know what happened to Carrick after that. Lamb said he never saw Carrick, whom he described as a nice kid, again.

Prosecutors have long said that Casciaro knowingly used Lamb as an enforcer, intimidator and thug to get the money from Carrick.

Brian Telander, Casciaro’s attorney argued that even Lamb testified he was never told by Casciaro to hurt or intimidate Carrick.

“At no time did (Casciaro) tell Shane Lamb to threaten (Carrick) to get the money,” Telander said adding that at no time did Casciaro tell Lamb to “intimidate,” or “kick his butt,” or “scare him to get the money.”

“He told Lamb ‘come and talk to (Brian),’” Telander insisted. “Come talk to him about the money.”

Telander said that the jury’s conviction was wrong and not based on evidence that was believable beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The jury got it wrong,” he said during the hearing.  “Lamb said he got there, got in an argument … ‘I lost my temper and I hit him.’” At no time did he say he threatened Brian Carrick,” Telander said. “At no time did (Mario) say anything or do anything or make a threat. Shane Lamb only acted out of anger.”

Investigators have said that Carrick’s blood was found in and around the produce cooler where witnesses testified to last seeing him with Casciaro and Lamb.  His body has never been found.

Assistant state’s attorney Patrick Kenneally strongly disagreed with Telander’s claims.

“If Shane Lamb wasn’t there to intimidate Brian Carrick, then exactly what was he there to do?” Kenneally said. “Why couldn’t (Casciaro) just ask Brian Carrick for the money? Shane Lamb had a reputation for violence. Shane Lamb was known as a person who was violent, he was known as the person to collect the money for Mario Casciaro.”

Kenneally pointed out that Lamb was a big guy in comparison to Carrick’s small frame.

“Shane Lamb is intimidating,” Kenneally said. “Shane Lamb will engage in violence. It’s just that simple. The defendant was well aware of what he was doing when he brought Shane Lamb in.”

Outside the courtroom, Telander said he was “encouraged” that (Prather) is taking this seriously.  I’m thrilled she’s doing this.”

Along side Telander stood Kathleen Zellner, a high-profile attorney known on a national level for representing people, whose civil rights have been violated, according to her website.

Telander said should he not be successful in Prather’s courtroom, Zellner will take the case on to the appellate court.

Zellner said  Casciaro was wrongfully convicted of intimidation in a case where there was “no threat at all and no weapons.”

“No court in the U.S. would support this conviction,” Zellner said adding that she is “confident” his conviction will be reversed.

In an earlier emailed statement, Mario’s sister, Joanne Casciaro, wrote that prosecutors used her brother as a “scapegoat, so they can say they solved the case.”

The family declined to comment further to reporters after the hearing.

But before parting ways after the hearing Jerry Casciaro, Mario’s father, approached William Carrick, Brian’s father. Both, broken hearted men who love their sons. The father of the accused and the father of the victim shook hands.

A sign of healing, forgiveness in a tragedy that has overshadowed one small town and hurt many lives over the last 11 years?  Maybe.

Please, comment, share. Until next time ….