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Witness in McHenry murder trial said prosecutors coached him, two others testify

Mario Casciaro | Sun-TImes Medifile photo

Mario Casciaro | Sun-TImes Media file photo

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Updated: May 3, 2013 6:14AM

Shane Lamb told Mario Casciaro at a bar last summer that prosecutors had pressured and coached him to testify against Casciaro at his first murder trial, two witnesses said Monday.

“If I go along with what the prosecutors said, I’ll be all right,” Lamb claimed, according to Stephen Denson, who had accompanied Casciaro to the Blarney Island tavern on Aug. 2.

And Denson’s attorney Ed Donahue offered a similar account, testifying Lamb claimed during the conversation, “I only said what [prosecutors] said to say in the lockup.”

Casciaro is on trial for a second time for allegedly murdering 17-year-old Brian Carrick, who vanished from a McHenry County grocery store in 2002.

Carrick’s body has never been found, but prosecutors contend Casciaro triggered his disappearance and death when he told Lamb, a 240-pound convicted felon, to collect a small drug debt from the teen.

Denson and Donahue were the final witnesses called on behalf of the 29-year-old Casciaro, who didn’t take the stand during his four-day trial.

Jurors are expected to begin on Tuesday deliberating the murder charge against him.

Casciaro’s first trial in January 2012 ended in a hung jury.

Lamb was a critical witness at both trials for prosecutors, testifying under an immunity agreement that he and Casciaro confronted Carrick on Dec. 20, 2002 at Val’s Foods, where all three worked.

Now 28, Lamb testified last week he lost his temper and punched the 135-pound Carrick unconscious as they argued inside a walk-in cooler. But he said he doesn’t know what happened to Carrick because Casciaro quickly ordered him to leave.

Lamb during his testimony admitted talking to Casciaro at Blarney Island, but specifically denied complaining he had been coached by prosecutors about what to say at Casciaro’s first trial.

On Monday, though, Donahue testified Lamb said he only repeated what he was told to by prosecutors.

“That’s what I heard,” said Donahue, who hadn’t come to the bar with Denson and Casciaro, but ran into them there. Donahue went to authorities days later to report the conversation.

For his part, Denson said Lamb claimed he testified against Casciaro because prosecutors threatened to charge him with Carrick’s death if he didn’t.

“I was facing 45 years. They came at me with a murder indictment,” Lamb said, according to Denson, now 31, who acknowledged he was convicted last year of a felony charge of fleeing police.

Earlier, a long-time Casciaro friend provided him an alibi for the night Carrick disappeared.

Jerad Karlen testified Casciaro met him shortly after he finished working—and they spent hours together at a party smoking “awesome cannabis” Karlen had brought back with him from Colorado.

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