WOODSTOCK – Mario Casciaro has added to the issues he believes led to being unfairly tried and convicted of first-degree murder.
Among several new claims from Casciaro’s defense attorney, Brian Telander, the latest is that prosecutors withheld information that would have been crucial to the defense although they are obligated to disclose it.
Casciaro was tried twice for the presumed death of Brian Carrick, a Johnsburg teenager who last was seen Dec. 20, 2002. Carrick’s body has not been found.
Casciaro’s first trial ended in a mistrial. In April, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Jacob Kepple, a witness who testified at the trial, met with Telander after the verdict because Kepple said things were “bothering him” and he had information that never came out at the trial.
That information, Telander said, would have been key to his defense had he known it existed. By failing to disclose what they knew, prosecutors deprived Casciaro of a fair trial, the defense attorney said.
In their meeting, Kepple told Telander about alleged interviews with police. Prosecutors say those meetings never took place.
“Telander’s been claiming for years that there are missing police reports. I deny that,” Assistant State’s Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division Michael Combs said.
Kepple’s information gives another man, Robert Render, motive for killing 17-year-old Carrick, Telander said.
Render also worked at the former Val’s Foods with Carrick and Casciaro.
Kepple said he heard Carrick and Render arguing over drug money, and that Render was acting out of sorts and had blood on his pants the night Carrick disappeared. Drops of Render’s blood were found in the store.
“I would have asked Jacob Kepple those questions on the stand,” Telander said. “But I didn’t know that ever happened because no one ever told me.”
Render has since died of a drug overdose.
Combs rejected the notion that these details were not tendered to the defense.
“That’s all in the police reports,” Combs said. “I categorically deny that that’s new.”
A hearing for Casciaro’s request for a new trial is set for July 29.