They marched out of the McHenry County Courthouse carrying signs and voicing their disapproval over the 26-year prison term Mario Casciaro received for the 2002 murder of Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick.
Relatives of Casciaro, 30, of Fox Lake, vowed an appeal, questioned why another man's blood was found near the crime scene and railed on the state's main witness, a convict named Shane Lamb who testified against Casciaro in two trials in exchange for a reduced drug sentence.
"Forensic evidence doesn't lie. Criminals do," Casciaro's sister, Joanne, told reporters outside the Woodstock courthouse as she was surrounded by supporters urging people to visit mariocasciaro.com. "We will fight for our brother til the end."
"It's unfair," Eugene Casciaro said of his brother's sentence.
Casciaro's father, Jerry, said he offered a $25,000 reward for someone to come forward with information about Carrick's disappearance and where his body could be found.
"The truth will come out one of these days," Jerry Casciaro said.
Michael Combs, McHenry County assistant state's attorney and lead prosecutor in the case, called the reward a "publicity stunt."
"We know who is responsible for the disappearance of Brian Carrick and it's Mario Casciaro," Combs said. "He's not going to give $25,000 to anybody because nobody's going to come forward."
Defense attorney Brian Telander said the family had hired prominent attorney Kathleen Zellner to handle the appeal and they were confident the guilty verdict would be overturned.
"This was the thinnest murder case I've ever seen," Telander said.
McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi defended his office's decision to offer a reduced sentence to Lamb.
"We had 23 out of 24 people who heard the evidence who thought (Casciaro) was guilty. The one dissent was on a technicality," Bianchi said, referring to the two trials in the case. "Shane Lamb did his time. This was a break in the case we had to take advantage of. Sometimes you have to take whatever you can get to get a conviction."