By Gregory Harutunian


The postponed felony trial of former Val’s Food supervisor Mario Casciaro, implicated in the disappearance and murder of Johnsburg resident Brian Carrick, has been slated for an Oct. 14 status hearing at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

The original Oct. 3 start date for the proceedings was delayed until Jan. 23, following a ruling by presiding McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather two weeks ago. Casciaro’s legal defense team had requested the continuance in order to locate witnesses previously slated to testify, and also to review documents not previously proffered by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“It’s simply a matter of the judge wishing to determine what progress has been made by the defense in locating their witnesses, and seeing where they are with it, at this point in time,” said McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, the lead prosecutor and member of the office’s criminal division.

Casciaro is charged with five counts of first-degree murder as the person with responsibility in the alleged murder and subsequent disappearance of Carrick, who was last seen entering the grocery store for work in December, 2002. Carrick, whose body has never been recovered, was the subject of an intense local and national missing persons effort.

According to information from the Sept. 14 granted postponement request, approximately 24 pages of documents and notes from state’s attorney’s office investigator Ron Salgado were not immediately made available to defense attorneys, and contained statements made by unknown individuals and Casciaro.

Defense witnesses trying to be located include Robert Render, who was initially charged with concealing a homicide in Carrick’s death, only to have the complaints dismissed at a later date. A second individual, Shane Lamb, is currently serving a prison sentence on a unrelated drug charge, and was allegedly tendered an immunity deal to testify by prosecutors.

Casciaro was arrested after grand jury indictments in Feb. 2010, and is currently free on bond pending trial. A complaint was also levied against him for allegedly making false statements during grand jury testimony, which was later voided.

Val’s Foods in Johnsburg closed last year, amid a declining base of operating capital and a poor economy. The Casciaro family had previously severed ties with the store, and opened their own grocery in nearby Fox Lake.

“Whatever information on the progress of the defense will be brought out at the status hearing, and it is for the judge’s information pertaining to the trial’s start,’ said Combs.


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