A friend of Mario Casciaro -- the 28-year-old McHenry man on trial for the 2002 murder of Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick -- testified Friday that Casciaro told him Carrick was accidentally killed and his body later taken to a river in Iowa.
The 17-year-old Johnsburg High School junior was last known to be seen on Dec. 20, 2002; his body has not been found.
McHenry County prosecutors have argued that Carrick owed Casciaro money for selling marijuana and that Casciaro and another man, Shane Lamb, attacked Carrick in a produce cooler at Val's Foods in Johnsburg, where they all worked.
Casciaro was charged in February 2010 with Carrick's murder.
Alan Lippert, 28, of Johnsburg, testified Friday that he was out drinking with Casciaro around Halloween 2006 when Lippert boldly asked Casciaro what he did with Carrick's body.
"He said, 'It wasn't like that. Things got out of hand,'" Lippert said. "He told me Shane hit him (Carrick) or something, but it was an accident."
Lippert added that Casciaro also said he called relatives to help move Carrick's body and Lamb took the remains to a river somewhere in Iowa.
Defense attorney William Gibbs noted that when questioned by FBI agents in August 2008 about Carrick's disappearance, Lippert said his conversation with Casciaro was "like a dream."
Lippert didn't deny using those words, but insisted it was a figure of speech. "It wasn't a dream. I was shocked the conversation even took place," he said.
Lippert has past felony convictions and substance abuse problems, but did not cut a deal with the state in exchange for his testimony.
The case, which was expected to run two weeks, could wrap up Monday and it features some of the same testimony from a 2008 trial against Casciaro on perjury charges.
That trial was stopped halfway through due to lack of evidence by Judge Sharon Prather, who also is overseeing this current trial. Prosecutors have one more witness to call and lead defense attorney Brian Telander said he can "almost promise" the defense will rest Monday as well.
Prosecutors also on Friday tried to repair some of the holes defense attorneys poked into the credibility of Shane Lamb, considered to be the state's star witness in the case.
The 27-year-old Lake Bluff man was given immunity in Carrick's death and a 6-year sentence for cocaine possession in exchange for his testimony. He could have faced up to 15 years for selling cocaine.
Lamb testified Thursday that Casciaro called him on Dec. 20, 2002, and the pair went to talk to Carrick about $400 to $500 that Carrick owed Casciaro for selling marijuana.
Lamb testified that he lost his temper, punched Carrick, who fell straight back on the concrete floor of a walk-in cooler at Val's Foods. Lamb said Casciaro told him to leave and he didn't know what happened after that. Lamb never said he was told to scare or rough up Carrick at Casciaro's request.
Defense attorneys pointed to Lamb giving investigators false leads and suggested he made up a story to get himself off the hook when facing a longer sentence on the cocaine charges.
Prather allowed limited testimony from John Neveitt, 23, of McHenry.
Neveitt, who is in jail awaiting trial on drug and burglary charges, testified that when he was 16 and 17 and partying in the woods with Lamb and others, Lamb admitted to having a role in Carrick's death.
"He (Lamb) told me he was paid to scare the kid (Carrick) and then he accidentally killed him," Neveitt testified. "He told me he was supposed to scare (Carrick) and it got out of hand."
Prather told jurors Neveitt's testimony was "not substantive evidence," should only be considered to rebut the defense's claim that Lamb fabricated his testimony after getting the immunity deal and should not be used to decide whether Casciaro is guilty.