WOODSTOCK – The defense attorney for a man convicted of murdering a missing Johnsburg teen said his client did not receive a fair trial and wants the judge to toss the conviction.
In court documents filed Tuesday on behalf of Mario Casciaro, defense attorney Brian Telander slammed McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather, who presided over Casciaro's first-degree murder trial in April.
It was the second time Casciaro, 29, was on trial for the death of 17-year-old Brian Carrick, who last was seen Dec. 20, 2002. The first trial ended in a hung jury and the judge declared a mistrial.
Legally, the court motion sets the stage for an appeal – any issues not raised would be considered waived at the appeallate court level.
Telander previously has filed court documents requesting a new trial, but on Tuesday he submitted supplemental materials citing case law, and documented what he perceived as a bias on the part of the judge.
About an hour into Telander's closing argument, he said, Prather told the attorney to "wrap it up."
"The Court's interruption … likely caused the jury to resent the defense counsel for taking up their time," the court filing read. "This case is the product of an 11-year investigation. For the court to cut short a closing statement that had not yet gone an hour was improper."
"It's kind of like saying, 'What you're saying isn't important,' " Telander said outside the courtroom.
He also said the judge ruled with the prosecution's objections far more than his own.
But the majority of the 23-page court filing centered on testimony from the prosecution's key witness, a man whom prosecutors said likely delivered Carrick's fatal blow.
At the trial, Shane Lamb testified that Casciaro asked him to "talk" to Carrick about a drug debt, but that he lost his temper during a confrontation at the former Val's Foods where all three worked. Lamb said he hit the teen who "went down."
Prosecutors had to prove first-degree murder with intimidation, and Telander said he doesn't believe they met that legal burden.
Casciaro's next court date is July 29. No sentencing date has been set. Casciaro faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.