Jury deliberates in 2002 McHenry Co. murder case

January 31, 2012 3:26:59 PM PST
A jury is deliberating the fate of a McHenry County man accused in the 2002 murder of a teenager from far northwest suburban Johnsburg.

Seventeen-year-old Brian Carrick was last seen at a grocery store where he worked with the man accused of killing him. Twenty-eight-year-old Mario Casciaro is charged with murder, even though Carrick's body has never been found.

Carrick's father is hoping justice is served.

Successfully prosecuting a murder case without a body is nearly impossible. However, these cases are sometimes pursued when prosecutors believe they have enough circumstantial evidence to get a conviction, which in this case partly explains why, although the allege crime happened in 2002, the man now standing trial was only indicted in 2010.

"There is no doubt in my mind. I think it happened the way they assumed that it did," said William Carrick, the victim's father.

William Carrick has no doubt that Casciaro is the person ultimately responsible for his son Brian's death nine years ago.

But, the question is, do jurors, who are now deliberating, think there is doubt? Casciaro's attorney thinks so.

"Their witnesses were all untruthful," said defense attorney Brian Telander. "Everyone that said anything damaging to Mario had either been to the penitentiary or was a convicted felon and had made previous statements totally to the opposite."

Casciaro's trial has lasted just about a week. But this case has been in the making for over nine years. It started on December 20, 2002, when 17-year-old Carrick went missing from the Val's Foods grocery store in the small community of Johnsburg.

A body was never found, but Carrick's blood was.

McHenry County prosecutors say that Carrick, who worked with Casciaro at the store, sold drugs for him and owed him $500. They say that Casciaro brought in a third man to be the "muscle man" and intimidate Carrick into paying up that night. That man testified for the prosecution during the trial.

"On this type of evidence, you can't return a verdict of guilty," Telander said. "The main state witness had, totally, no credibility whatsoever. He was offered immunity on a murder when he said that he's in fact the person that killed him."

In court Tuesday, prosecutor Michael Combs admitted that a deal was made, but that the testimony must be weighed in conjunction with the rest of the evidence, which they believe proves that Carrick is dead, and that Casciaro, while not delivering the death blows, was responsible for his death and for disposing of the body.

"We lost Brian, we're not going to get him back, and the only thing I can hope for is that I'll meet him again someplace," said William Carrick.

Casciaro remains free on bond. If convicted, he could face anywhere from 20 to 60 years in prison.