Mistrial in 2002 McHenry Co. murder case

February 1, 2012 3:14:16 PM PST
A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of a northwest suburban teenager who disappeared in 2002 and is presumed to be the victim of murder.

The jury could not reach a verdict in the trial of Mario Casciaro, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Brian Carrick.

This is the one outcome that neither side is particularly happy with, but at the same time, both are trying to put a positive spin on the situation, saying that at least they get to fight another day.

"If they had dismissed the case, if they had acquitted Mario, I'd be disappointed, yes. I'm not now," said William Carrick, the victim's father.

A mistrial is not a result that anyone wanted. But McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather was forced to declare one after jurors were unable to agree as to whether Fox Lake resident Casciaro was responsible for 17-year-old Brian Carrick's death more than nine years ago.

"I could tell from their body language that there was some disagreements back there, and some appeared to be upset, and they couldn't reach an agreement, and we'll try it again," said McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Mick Combs.

Brian Carrick went missing December 20, 2002. His body was never found. It took seven years before Casciaro was even indicted. And, then, it was on the word of a third man, convicted felon Shane Lamb.

Lamb claims that Casciaro called him to his family-run Johnsburg grocery store that December night to intimidate Carrick into paying up some money that was owed him. Lamb went on to say in court that he beat Carrick into unconsciousness, but that it was Casciaro who disposed of the body. Prosecutors offered Lamb immunity to testify to that effect.

Both defense and prosecution offered their thoughts on what they need to work on next time around.

"We thought Shane Lamb's credibility was just not even close to the truth. It's surprising, but round two is coming up. We'll be ready," said defense attorney Brian Telander.

"Sometimes laypeople struggle with one person being legally accountable for the actions of another, and I suspect some of them had problems with that," said Combs.

The case is one of only a handful of no-body murder cases that have ever been prosecuted in Illinois. But that is not going to stop them from going ahead a second time, said McHenry County State's Attorney Lou

"This is, was and always will be a difficult case," said Bianchi. "But I made a commitment to the family shortly after I got into office eight years ago that this was a serious matter."

As for Casciaro, who has remained free on bail during all of this:

"He's upset," Telander said. "Obviously, it's much better than hearing bad news. But financially they have to go through this and all the sleepless nights worrying about your future. It can be tough on him and his mom and dad especially."

When the retrial will happen is an open question. There are only two felony judges in McHenry County, which means it could be summer before they are able to make it happen.