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Decision on third Casciaro murder trial delayed

Judge will rule in September on request for retrial in Johnsburg murder case

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge said she needs more time before ruling on whether Mario Casciaro should be granted a retrial for the murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick.

Judge Sharon Prather said Wednesday she wants to review transcripts from the trial and review the law before making a decision. Prather said she will make her decision at a Sept. 24 hearing.

Casciaro was tried twice for the presumed death of Carrick, a Johnsburg teenager who last was seen Dec. 20, 2002. Carrick’s body has never been found.

Casciaro’s first trial ended in a mistrial. In April, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. 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 in the walk-in freezer at the former Val’s Foods where all three worked. Lamb said he hit the teen who “went down.”

On Wednesday, defense attorney Brian Telander argued that Casciaro did not send Shane Lamb into the grocery freezer to intimidate Carrick. Telander said Lamb acted out of anger, and based upon the law, it can’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Casciaro sent Lamb to intimidate him.

Telander added there has ­never been a felony murder conviction in the United States on the basis of intimidation.

Prosecuting attorney Patrick Kennealley said Lamb had a well-known reputation for aggressive behavior and was sent there by Casciaro because Lamb has a willingness to engage in violence.

“If Shane Lamb wasn’t there to intimidate Brian Carrick, what was he there to do?” Kennealley said.

The Casciaro family has retained high-profile civil-rights lawyer Kathleen Zellner, known for defending wrongful convictions, if the case heads to its third trial.

Zellner was present in court Wednesday and said she’s “very confident” the guilty verdict will be overturned.

“It will be reversed,” she said. “There’s no murder case in the nation that’s based on intimidation.”

• Northwest Herald reporter Chelsea McDougall contributed to this report.

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