By Gregory Harutunian


A Sept. 24 date has been set for a ruling on a defense motion seeking a new trial in the murder conviction of Mario Casiaro, from last spring, involving the disappearance of 17-year old Johnsburg resident Brian Carrick in 2002.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather will issue the decision on a motion by Casiaro’s defense team seeking to overturn the verdict of “murder by intimidation.”

Casiaro was found guilty of murder by intimidation, using the threat of implied violence against Carrick, concerning alleged money from the sale of drugs owed by the teenager to Casiaro. A supervisor at Val’s Foods in Johnsburg, he told an associate, Shane Lamb, to “talk” to Carrick about the amount. All three individuals were employed at the store.

In court testimony, Lamb stated that his actions went awry by striking Carrick, and watching his head hit the concrete floor, during a confrontation in the building’s produce cooler. Carrick’s body has never been found, despite a nationwide search at the time of the disappearance.

Casiaro has been tried three times on issues relating to the disappearance, and murder, of the teen. He was charged with perjury in 2009, for lying to a Grand Jury, convened to hear evidence on the matter, but was found not guilty. Three years later, a deadlocked jury could not return a verdict on murder charges.

The most recent trial ended with the murder conviction, and Casciaro has been incarcerated in the McHenry county jail since the decision for on the sentencing phase of the charge.

“Of course, he wants a new trial…he was found guilty of murder,” said Michael Combs, chief of the McHenry County state’s attorney office criminal division. “This is a motion for a new trial. No one has said that you cannot find someone guilty of murder by intimidation.

“It was Mario Casciaro, who unleashed Shane Lamb, on Brian Carrick. Casciaro is the one that set all this in motion.”

Lamb was given immunity from prosecution to testify against Casciaro. Carrick was said to have owed money to Casciaro, from the sales of marijuana, which had gone unpaid. Court records indicated that defense attorneys claimed Lamb was asked to “talk” with Carrick, by Casciaro, not strike or harm him.

“This was a forcible felony threat, a threat with physical violence against another person,” said Combs. “This was forcible. We had a strategy in court. We won. There was a murder conviction.”

Prather heard the defense motion for a new trial on Aug. 21, and set the Sept. 24 date to permit an opportunity to review transcripts, and legal documents, before rendering a decision.

“If the defense motion is denied, then the appeal process will begin for him,” said Combs.

The Casiaro family co-owned the Johnsburg Val’s Foods grocery with the family of Sal De Marco, and split with them in 2005, subsequently starting a new Val’s in Fox Lake, which is still extant in the Fox Lake Shopping Center.

De Marco shuttered the Johnsburg Val’s more than two years ago, citing mounting debts and an inability to continue operations.



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