WOODSTOCK – Shane Lamb, the man at the center of controversy surrounding the prosecution of Mario Casciaro, pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated possession of stolen firearms.
But the open plea agreement between the defense and prosecution leaves the impending sentence up to a judge, prosecutors said. Lamb could face up to 40 years in prison.
Judge Sharon Prather accepted the plea, McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Robert Zalud said.
Lamb, who was charged with stealing a safe containing guns from a McHenry condominium in April, faces a sentence of six to 40 years, Zalud said. The offense is a class X felony.
Zalud explained the open plea means there was no agreement between parties as to what Lamb's sentence should be.
"A negotiated plea means you negotiate the sentence," he said. "But there was no agreement on our end. We want the maximum sentence in this case, and [the defense doesn't]."
"They will have the opportunity to put on evidence in mitigation. We will have the opportunity to put on evidence in aggravation," Zalud added.
Typically, the maximum sentence for this offense is 30 years, but Zalud said an extra 10 years was added based on the number of guns stolen in this case. In order to seek special sentencing, prosecutors would have to prove that between 11 and 20 guns were stolen. There were 12 guns allegedly stolen in this case, Zalud said.
Zalud said he and Assistant State's Attorney John Gibbons will seek maximum sentence, but it ultimately will be up to the judge.
Lamb's sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 19 in Prather's courtroom.
Lamb was a key witness in the prosecution of Mario Casciaro, who was found guilty for his involvement in the 2002 disappearance and murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick of Johnsburg.
Lamb testified that in an attempt to intimidate the teen who owed money to Casciaro, he struck Carrick in the back of the Johnsburg grocery story where all three worked. Carrick's body was never found, but a jury convicted Casciaro of Carrick's murder based in part on Lamb's testimony.
Prosecutors gave Lamb immunity from prosecution regarding Carrick's death in exchange for that testimony. But Lamb recently recanted that testimony in an appearance on ABC's "20/20" and said prosecutors pressured him into making those statements.
Lamb also tried to get Prather to allow his weapons charges case to be tried in another venue and with a new prosecutor, but Prather denied that request last month.