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McHenry murder conviction called ‘justice’ by victim’s dad, ‘travesty’ by defendant’s family

Mario Casciaro | Sun-TImes Medifile photo

Mario Casciaro | Sun-TImes Media file photo

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Updated: May 4, 2013 6:26AM

Mario Casciaro’s family erupted in tears and anger after Casciaro was convicted Tuesday of murdering missing McHenry County teenager Brian Carrick a decade ago.

“How can they do this?” Casciaro’s mother, Maria, asked aloud after jurors delivered the guilty verdict against her 29-year-old son, who lowered his head but otherwise sat calmly.

“You’re putting an innocent kid away,” a relative yelled towards jurors as he stalked out of the Woodstock courtroom following the verdict, which came after seven hours of deliberations at the end of Casciaro’s second trial for Carrick’s death.

Casciaro’s older brother, Eugene, briefly exchanged angry words in the courtroom with lead prosecutor Michael Combs, then outside the courtroom blasted the conviction as “a travesty.”

Casciaro father, Jerry, grabbed his chest and collapsed in tears against a wall as he walked out following the guilty verdict.

“He’s innocent, he’s a good boy,” Casciaro said of his youngest son.

Mario Casciaro, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody immediately after the guilty verdict. He faces a 20- to 60-year prison term when he is sentenced later this year for Carrick’s baffling disappearance and presumed death.

The 17-year-old Carrick vanished on Dec. 20, 2002 from the Johnsburg grocery store where he worked with Casciaro.

His body has never been found, though spatters of his blood were discovered in a cooler, hallway and trash container at Val’s Food’s.

Prosecutors contended during his trial that Casciaro orchestrated the teen’s death because Carrick owed him a few hundred dollars for marijuana.

Carrick’s father, William, gasped as Casciaro was convicted, then embraced four of his 13 surviving children who were sitting with him in the courtroom.

“Justice has been served,” William Carrick said as he left the courtroom.

Casciaro initially was charged in 2010 with murdering the younger Carrick, but his first trial in January 2012 ended with jurors unable to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors during Casciaro’s four day re-trial again relied largely on testimony from Casciaro’s former friends, particularly convicted felon Shane Lamb.

Lamb, who received immunity from prosecutors for testifying, said he and Casciaro went to “talk” to Carrick inside the grocery store to try to collect the cash Carrick owed Casciaro for marijuana.

The hulking, 240-pound Lamb admitted losing his temper and punching Carrick until the teen collapsed, but insisted he doesn’t know what happened after that because Casciaro quickly ordered him to leave.

Defense attorney Brian Telander argued there’s little evidence backing that claim and said Lamb’s trial testimony about Carrick’s disappearance contradicts other information he’d previously given.

“He can’t tell the truth about anything. His name should have been Pinocchio,” Telander said of Lamb.

Casciaro’s relatives blasted prosecutors for relying on Lamb and two other men who testified Mario Casciaro had implicated himself in Carrick’s disappearance.

“Mario would never do this,” Eugene Casciaro said, saying his brother and Carrick “were good friends.”

Prosecutors contended Casciaro caused Carrick’s death by using Lamb to threaten the 135-pound teen over the money he owed Casciaro.

“He introduces Shane Lamb into the equation. He’s using him as a weapon,” Combs said of Casciaro.

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