WOODSTOCK – The attorney for a man convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a missing Johnsburg teen says the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In court documents filed Tuesday, Brian Telander, the attorney for Mario Casciaro, asked McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather to vacate the guilty verdict and grant the convicted man a new trial.
Last month's trial for the death of 17-year-old Brian Carrick was the second trial for Casciaro, 29. Casciaro's first ended in a mistrial when jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
Carrick was last seen Dec. 20, 2002; his body was never found.
In his 13-page motion, Telander argued that, among other things, the prosecution didn't fully prove its case. Furthermore, Prather erred when she told the defense attorney to "wrap it up" during his closing argument.
"The comment … not only precluded the defense from finishing their closing argument, but conveyed to the jury that what the defense was saying was unimportant and a waste of time," Telander wrote in his motion.
Among the 35 points in Telander's motion, he says that prosecutors made prejudicial closing arguments, misstated evidence, and acted improperly by calling Casciaro names such as "Mr. Wannabe Drug Dealing Tough Guy."
The prosecution relied heavily on testimony from Shane Lamb, a convicted felon and the man who prosecutors say likely delivered Carrick's fatal blow. Lamb was offered immunity for his testimony and a reduced sentence on an unrelated drug charge.
Prosecutors have said Casciaro was responsible for Lamb's actions and, consequently, the presumed death of Carrick because Casciaro told Lamb to "talk to" Carrick about a drug debt. Lamb testified that he lost his temper with Carrick while inside the produce cooler of the former Val's Foods store where all three worked.
But Casciaro, Telander wrote, "never did anything … other than asking [Lamb] to talk to Brian Carrick."
Casciaro's next court date is June 12.