WOODSTOCK – Shane Lamb is seeking money damages from former and current McHenry County prosecutors, the Johnsburg Police Department and the village in a federal lawsuit filed this week.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court by defense lawyers Paul DeLuca and Blaire Dalton, said authorities intimidated, coerced and harassed Lamb to falsely implicate himself and Mario Casciaro in the murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick, of Johnsburg.
DeLuca declined to comment at this time on the specific amount of damages Lamb is seeking.
Those being sued include Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, former McHenry County prosecutors Nichole Kroncke and Michael McCleary, former investigator Ron Salgado, McHenry County, Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and the village of Johnsburg.
Lamb is serving a 20-year sentence at the Danville Correctional Center on 2015 weapons charges. He will be up for parole in 2024, according to prison records.
McHenry County jurors found Casciaro guilty of first-degree murder by intimidation in March 2013 after the conclusion of three trials, one for perjury and two for murder, in connection with Carrick’s 2002 disappearance. Carrick was last seen Dec 20, 2002, at the Johnsburg grocery store where he worked, which also was owned by Casciaro’s parents.
Casciaro was the only person convicted in the murder case. He served 22 months in Menard Correctional Facility on his 26-year sentence before the 2nd District Appellate Court overturned his conviction. He was released from prison in September 2015.
Prosecutors heavily relied on the testimony of Lamb, the man who said he likely threw the punch that killed the 17-year-old. Prosecutors have said Casciaro used Lamb as the “muscle” or a “henchman” to intimidate Carrick into paying a drug debt.
Lamb was given full immunity for his testimony against Casciaro, but then changed his story.
He recanted that entire testimony, stating in a sworn affidavit and during a national news TV program about the case that Assistant State’s Attorney Combs put him up to it. Combs previously has denied that he coerced Lamb into testifying.
“The actions of Combs, [Kroncke], Salgado, and McCleary, and Von Allmen, individually, jointly, and in conspiracy, in coercively interrogating Lamb, using techniques that ‘shock the conscience’ during those interrogations resulted in false, coerced and fabricated admissions and violated his fifth and 14th amendment rights to be free from compulsory self-incrimination and deprivation of liberty without due process of law,” DeLuca wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed days after it was announced that Casciaro settled a suit with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for $50,000.
Litigation in that case still is ongoing with the village of Johnsburg and the Johnsburg Police Department.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally called Lamb’s lawsuit meritless and said it’s seemingly intended to do nothing other than harass former employees of the office.
“We’re confident it will be dismissed in short order,” Kenneally said in a statement.
DeLuca said the lawsuit wasn’t filed to harass prosecutors but instead alleges several serious ethic violations by Combs and members of the Johnsburg Police Department.
He said during Casciaro’s second trial, Combs said he was not aware of what Lamb would say when he was given immunity, but jail records show that Lamb was in the state’s attorney’s office for two hours on two separate dates before he was interviewed formally.
“Our allegation is that Combs and others were feeding [Lamb] information,” DeLuca said.
He said that although it is “extremely difficult” to sue prosecutors, he believes that Combs engaged in prosecutorial misconduct during his conversations and interactions with Lamb.