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Hung jury in murder trial for man accused in Johnsburg teen's 2002 disappearance

2-26-2010 Mario Casciaro, 26, was taken into custody in Fox Lake today and is being held in lieu of $5 million bond in the 2002 slaying of 17-year-old Brian Carrick of Johnsburg, McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi announced. In one of McHenry County's most infamous cold cases. Carrick vanished on Dec. 20, 2002, from the Johnsburg grocery store where he worked. Casciaro, of the 2700 block of North Patricia Lane in McHenry,Êhas also been charged with concealment of a homicide. An indictment against Casciaro, returned by a grand jury Thursday, said he struck Carrick in the head. William Carrick, the father of Brian Carrick, said he got the call Friday evening that Casciaro had been arrested and charged

A deadlocked McHenry County jury couldn’t determine if Mario Casciaro murdered missing Johnsburg teenager Brian Carrick, forcing a judge Wednesday to declare a mistrial in the notorious case.

But prosecutors vowed Wednesday to quickly seek a new trial for Casciaro, who worked at a local grocery with the 17-year-old Carrick when he vanished on Dec. 20, 2002.

“We’re going to retry the case,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, the lead prosecutor.

That was welcome news to Carrick’s father, who said he still wants justice for his son, whose body has never been found.

“I’m not a bit disappointed,” William Carrick said after the jury deadlocked. “We’ll just do it again. We’ll do it till it’s done.”

Jurors deliberated for about 12-1/2 hours Tuesday and Wednesday before telling Judge Sharon Prather they couldn’t reach a verdict on the first-degree murder charges against Casciaro.

“We have reached an impasse on both charges and do not see a chance of getting everyone to agree,” the jurors wrote in a note.

Prather questioned the seven-man, five-woman jury briefly in court about the deadlock, then dismissed the jurors and declared a mistrial.

The 28-year-old Casciaro, who is free on bond, declined comment as he left the courtroom with two dozen relatives.

His attorneys, though, said he should have been acquitted.

“I’m very disappointed. The family is extremely disappointed,” said defense attorney Brian Telander, who repeatedly argued the only evidence linking Casciaro to Carrick’s disappearance was concocted testimony from convicted felon Shane Lamb.

Lamb testified that Casciaro called him to Val’s Foods to help collect money Carrick owed, but Lamb admitted losing his temper and punching the teen until he dropped unconscious to the floor. Lamb, who claimed Casciaro then ordered him from the cooler, told jurors he doesn’t know what happened to Carrick after that.

“I’m very surprised the jury did not unanimously conclude the state’s main witness was very untruthful,” Telander said of Lamb, who testified under a plea agreement that bars him from being prosecuted for Carrick’s death but imposed a six-year prison term for an unrelated drug deal.

While he doesn’t feel “vengeful” towards Casciaro, William Carrick said he wants “justice done.”

“I’m looking for a conviction, pure and simple,” said Carrick, who had seven of his 13 surviving kids with him in the Woodstock courtroom when the mistrial was declared.

He said he still wants to find out what happened to his son, but isn’t optimistic he’ll get that question answered, even with a second trial.

“The question I’d like answered is what they did with the body,” said Carrick. “I don’t think we’ll ever find that out,” Carrick said.

Authorities, though, said they’re continuing to investigate what happened to Carrick.

“Until the body is found, we’ll always be moving forward on it,” McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi said.