Four jurors were seated Monday in the trial of Mario Casciaro, a 28-year-old McHenry man accused of the 2002 murder of 17-year-old Brian Carrick of Johnsburg over a drug debt.
Casciaro was indicted in February 2010 of murdering the Johnsburg High School senior, whose body has never been found.
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On Monday, prosecutors told Judge Sharon Prather they were pursing two first-degree murder charges against Casciaro, alleging that he or someone for whose conduct he was legally responsible, struck Carrick on the head and killed him on Dec. 20, 2002, while intimidating him and holding him against his will.
Carrick was last seen at Val's Foods, a grocery store near his home where Casciaro was Carrick's supervisor. Police found traces of blood in the store and signs of a struggle.
In court filings, prosecutors have argued that the pair had an agreement for Carrick to sell drugs and give the money to Casciaro.
Attorneys from both sides Monday afternoon began questioning potential jurors. The process will continue Tuesday as eight more jurists must be seated, a total that includes two alternates.
"You'll have to decide which witnesses to believe and how much weight to give to their testimony," Prather told first batch of 30 people in the jury pool.
A key state witness in the case is expected to Shane Lamb, a 27-year-old from Lake Bluff serving time in prison on a cocaine possession conviction.
He's been promised immunity for his testimony against Casciaro in describing his role in Carrick's death.
Lamb has been tied to the case in court documents and trial testimony from a 2007 indictment of Casciaro on perjury charges of which he eventually was acquitted.
In that case, Alan Lippert testified that Casciaro admitted he and Lamb played a part in Carrick's disappearance. Lippert said Casciaro told him Carrick owed him money, and Lamb was sent to scare Carrick into paying it back, but it got out of hand.
This trial of Casciaro, who is free on $500,000 bond, is expected to last two weeks.
Court security personnel Monday afternoon also set up a second metal detector outside the courtroom, which is standard practice in Woodstock for high-profile cases. Opening arguments could proceed on Tuesday afternoon.