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Mario Casciaro's lawsuit against Johnsburg police goes forward

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled Wednesday that Mario Casciaro's (center) claims were strong enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.
U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled Wednesday that Mario Casciaro's (center) claims were strong enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.

WOODSTOCK – A federal judge Wednesday allowed Mario Casciaro’s complaints that Johnsburg police violated his rights during their 2002 investigation into the disappearance of Brian Carrick to go forward.

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled that Casciaro’s claims were enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.

Von Allmen and Johnsburg had asked that the suit be dismissed.

Casciaro was convicted in March 2013 of killing Johnsburg teen Carrick, who last was seen at a grocery store where he worked, which Casciaro’s parents owned.

Casciaro served 22 months in the Menard Correctional Center on a 26-year sentence before the Second District Appellate Court overturned his conviction in September 2015.

In the lawsuit, Casciaro argued that Von Allmen ignored overwhelming evidence that another man, Robert Render Jr., killed Carrick. The lawsuit accuses Von Allmen of focusing the investigation on Casciaro instead because of the police chief’s friendship with Render’s father.

Among the information Von Allmen is accused of withholding is a witness statement about Render being involved in a fight in the produce cooler the last night Carrick was seen. The same witness also reportedly told Von Allmen that Render had a vendetta against Carrick and had talked about jumping him, court records show.

Von Allmen did not prepare a report on any of those statements and did not disclose the information to Casciaro, even though it could have helped him build a defense, according to the judge’s ruling.

Casciaro also argued that Von Allmen discarded a pair of bloody underwear found in the ceiling of the grocery store’s bathroom, rather than logging it as evidence.

Reinhard noted that Von Allmen’s accused behavior was “extreme and outrageous” enough for the lawsuit to proceed.

Neither the village’s attorney, Dominick Lanzito, nor Casciaro’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Both sides have 30 days to meet with a magistrate judge to consider settling the case, court records show.

Casciaro settled his lawsuit with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for $50,000 earlier this year.

Lanzito and Village President Ed Hettermann previously declined to comment on whether there have been talks of settling.

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