Attorneys to talk settlement in Mario Casciaro lawsuit against Johnsburg, officials

JOHNSBURG – Attorneys representing Mario Casciaro and the village of Johnsburg have scheduled February dates to discuss settling a lawsuit claiming village representatives violated Casciaro’s rights during their 2002 investigation into the disappearance of Brian Carrick.

Attorneys for both sides will enter settlement talks Feb. 5, 12 and 28, according to a notice filed in federal court.

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

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled in November 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.

Casciaro was convicted in March 2013 of killing Carrick – a Johnsburg teen who last was seen Dec. 20, 2002, at a grocery store where he worked, and which Casciaro’s parents owned.

He spent 22 months in the Menard Correctional Center on a 26-year sentence before the 2nd District Appellate Court overturned his conviction in September 2015.

The lawsuit claims that Von Allmen ignored overwhelming evidence that another man, Robert Render Jr., killed Carrick, and accuses the police chief of focusing the investigation on Casciaro because Von Allmen was friends with the other man’s father.

Casciaro settled with McHenry County and the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for $50,000 in September.

Lanzito and Village President Ed Hettermann had declined in November to comment whether there had been talks of settling a lawsuit.

Hettermann was not available for comment Friday.

In the lawsuit, Casciaro accuses Von Allmen of withholding a witness statement about Render being involved in a fight in the produce cooler the last night Carrick was seen.

The same witness reportedly also 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 November 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.

Attorneys will talk again Thursday before settlement conversations begin, according to court records.

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