Crime & Courts

Key witness takes stand at Casciaro trial

Lamb says he delivered potential fatal blow to Carrick

WOODSTOCK – Shane Lamb took the stand Tuesday and again said it was he who delivered what was likely the fatal blow to a Johnsburg teen more than a decade ago.

But Lamb has been granted immunity from murder charges related to the disappearance and presumed death of Brian Carrick in 2002.

Instead it's Mario Casciaro, the man who prosecutors say sent Lamb to collect on a drug debt, facing a murder charge.

What Lamb testified to Tuesday was largely consistent with his testimony more than a year ago when Casciaro, 29, first went to trial. That ended with a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors' outline as to what happened remained the same from the first trial: 17-year-old Carrick owed Casciaro for marijuana, so Casciaro sicced "henchman" Lamb on him.

All three men worked at what was then Val's Foods in Johnsburg, where Carrick was last seen about 6:45 p.m. Dec. 20, 2002.

Lamb said that Casciaro called him that evening, telling him to come talk to Carrick at the store.

Casciaro had fronted marijuana for both him and Carrick, Lamb said. The expectation was that Casciaro would get his money after the drugs were sold, but Carrick hadn't paid up, Lamb said.

During the confrontation, Lamb testified, he "muffed" Carrick, meaning that he used the palm of his hand to push Carrick by the face into the produce cooler.

"I lost my temper and hit him and he fell down," Lamb said. "I swung twice. I know I connected the first time."

But Casciaro never told him to hit Carrick or do anything other than talk to him, Lamb said.

Lamb is a convicted felon who said he has been to prison five times and was charged with attempted murder at age 14. His latest prison stint was a six-year sentence, although he was out in three, on cocaine charges that were negotiated along with his immunity deal.

He currently has a pending misdemeanor case in connection with a bar fight in November while he was out on parole.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Brian Telander attacked Lamb's immunity deal.

"It might be that you killed him and you get zero for that?" Telander said.

"Yeah," Lamb answered.

Telander focused on what he said were inconsistencies with Lamb's previous testimony from the first trial, as well as before grand juries and interviews with prosecutors.

For example, Telander said Lamb previously said that he and Carrick just walked into the cooler, and on another occasion said he hit Carrick to get him inside.

Telander also drew attention to an incident over this past summer where Lamb and Casciaro ran into each other while at Blarney Island on the Chain O' Lakes.

Casciaro's family has said that Lamb approached Casciaro and told him that he "said what they wanted him to say."

But on the stand, Lamb said that never happened – he told Casciaro and the group of people he was with only that they could talk to his lawyer.

Lamb is expected to take the stand again today for continued cross-examination.

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