Mario Casciaro denied new trial, facing 20 to 60 years in prison

A McHenry County judge on Tuesday denied Mario Casciaro – what would have been his third murder trial, – in the murder of a coworker last seen alive on the evening of Dec. 20, 2002.

She also denied his motion to toss out the jury’s guilty conviction all together and set his sentencing date for Nov. 14. He faces 20 to 60 year in prison.


“I’m devastated, it’s not fair,” said his mother, Maria, outside the courtroom after McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Prather swiftly gave her decision and handed attorneys a 20-page document detailing her decision.



Casciaro, 30, who has been held in custody since being found guilty of first-degree murder with intimidation in April shook his head from side to side in apparent disbelief at his fate as he was escorted back into custody by McHenry County Sheriff’s officers.


Casciaro was found guilty of first degree murder with intimidation in the disappearance and presumed murder of Brian Carrick, 17. Carrick’s blood was found in and around a produce cooler Val’s Grocery Store in Johnsburg where he worked as a stock boy with Casciaro. Casciaro’s family were part owners of the store at the time.


During the trial witnesses said Carrick owed Casciaro a $500 debt in drug dealing  money.


Shane Lamb, who also worked at the grocery store and sold pot for Casciaro, testified in both murder trials for the prosecution against Casciaro.


The first murder trial ended in a hung jury last year.


Lamb testified said that Casciaro told him to come to the store to “talk” to Carrick to help collect his money. Lamb, who was given immunity in the case in exchange for his testimony, said while confronting Carrick he became angry and punched him.


Lamb said Carrick fell backward to the ground, inside the cooler, unconscious, he then left the store, not knowing what had happened to Carrick’s body.


Lamb, nor anyone else at the store that evening, nor his family or friends, has ever seen Carrick again.


His body has never been found.


Defense attorney Brian Telander argued that Casciaro should not have been found guilty of intimidation because he only told Lamb to “talk” to Carrick.



In her written ruling, which denied motions to throw out the guilty verdict, as well as, denied a motion for a new trial, Prather wrote “Under the facts of this case the court concludes that there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could infer that defenant  and Shane Lamb intended to use whatever force necessary to intimidate Brian Carrick into paying the money he owed ….. .”



She also wrote that “There was no other reason for the defendant to call Lamb back to Val’s other than to intimidate Carrick and act as the defendant’s muscle.”


Telander also argued that several mistakes had been made during the trial, including being cut off during closing arguments.


To which Prather cited case law that says “Presiding judge must be and is given great latitude in controlling the duration and limiting the scope of closing summations. He may limit counsel to a reasonable time and may terminate argument when continuation would be repetitive or redundant.”


“In 35 years of practice, I’ve never seen closing arguments cut off by a judge in murder case, ever,” Telander said.



Telander said after sentencing, he along with Kathleen Zellner, a high-profile defense lawyer from Chicago, will take the case to the appellate courts for an appeal.


“I’m extremely confident in a successful appeal,” Telander said. “I have never seen a case that has had this many legitimate issues.”


Michael Combs, chief of the criminal division, said he was “not surprised” by the judge’s ruling.


“I was confident we were gonna prevail,” Combs said. “The law was on our side. I’m sick and tired of his family acting like he was railroaded, that we were making stuff up….It’s a bunch of nonsense.”


Brian’s dad William Carrick left the courtroom without comment.




Decade old, cold-case trial: Day 2, Why didn’t key witness just tell the truth the first time? Who failed him?

Life is just easier when people tell the truth the first time.

And if this trial teaches us anything it is just that: No matter how much trouble you think you are going to get in, tell the truth anyway. (link to today’s story below),0,5353309.story

I believe this is one of the first lessons parents should teach their children about life. It is pretty simple actually. Isn’t it?

And when you tell the truth it is so much easier then trying to remember what you said to who.  So just tell the truth.

There is so much that came out this week about the state’s key witness, Shane Lamb.  Lamb is the guy who actually, now admits, he threw the punch that killed Brian Carrick. His testimony is that he did this in response to another man telling him to scare Brian Carrick for drug money he owed.

This is the second time I have watched Shane Lamb testify as to what he did to Brian Carrick.

People see him as a thug. True, he is huge, bald and has intensely angry dark brown eyes. At just 28 years old, he has been in prison five times for drugs and aggravated batteries.

In court this week it came out that the first serious trouble he found himself in was when he was  just 14 years old. He was charged with attempted murder.

When asked where he went to high school, his response was that he had spent most of his high school years in juvenile prison.

Someone somewhere failed this kid miserably. I cannot help but feel sorry for him — and angry toward his parents.


Don’t get me wrong, I feel so deeply sad for the family of Brian Carrick. It breaks my heart seeing his elderly dad sit in the courtroom hunched over, coughing. He looks just so sad, heartbroken really.

What I mean is that Shane Lamb didn’t have a chance and nobody that gets in his way has a chance of escaping his anger and rage. Anger and rage that I am convinced is not even meant for his victims, yet they are the one’s feeling his impact. We are all paying for his rage, for what his parents didn’t do.

Today he is a 28-year-old convicted felon, getting into fights in bars (since released from prison on unrelated drug charges he has been in a bar fight with two guys, a violation of his parole, charges still pending) and produce coolers (that is if he is telling the truth this time), making deals with prosecutors for lesser charges on serious drug charges.  He claims to have murdered a young boy then walk away and not even care if he was dead or not when he left him lying there on a cold floor.

What happened here?

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Until next time love each other