Crime & Courts

Casciaro murder trial reset for March 18

WOODSTOCK – With a stern warning, a judge rescheduled Mario Casciaro’s murder trial to March 18.

Casciaro, 29, is charged with killing 17-year-old Brian Carrick in 2002. Casciaro was tried in January, but a hung jury led to a mistrial. He has been free on bond since March 2011.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather told the defense and prosecution that they would be “hard-pressed” to get additional continuances.

“The victim’s family needs this case to be over, as does Mr. Casciaro’s family,” Prather said.

Casciaro’s attorney, Brian Telander, requested the new trial date, citing DNA testing of 13 blood samples taken from Val’s Foods in Johnsburg, where prosecutors say Carrick was killed. Test results on four of the samples have yet to be returned nine months after they were submitted, Telander said. Some results that have come back are “significant” for the case, he said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, who is chief of the criminal division, said he personally will take Prather’s court order to the crime lab and meet with the director.

In court filings, Combs said that additional testing of several blood stains contained Carrick’s DNA.

“The People do not see how this information is ‘critical’ to the defense because the defendant was willing to go to trial a year ago, knowing these items had not been tested,” Combs said in documents.

Meanwhile, the prosecution’s key witness, Shane Lamb, is in prison for a parole violation.

Lamb was given immunity for his testimony, but was sentenced to six years in prison on separate drug charges.

Last month, Lamb was charged with battery in an incident unrelated to the Casciaro case. It’s alleged that he punched two men repeatedly in the face and head. At Casciaro’s first trial, Lamb testified that Casciaro told him to “talk” to Carrick about a $500 drug debt.

Lamb said he confronted Carrick in the cooler at the back of the Val’s Foods store where they worked and hit Carrick, who “went down.” Lamb said Casciaro told him to leave after the confrontation and that he doesn’t know what happened after that.

Carrick’s body hasn’t been found.

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