After 7 years, Johnsburg chief happy to see charges in murder case

  • Mario Casciaro

    Mario Casciaro

Posted3/2/2010 12:01 AM

The arrest of Fox Lake business owner Mario Casciaro on five counts of murder was bittersweet for Johnsburg Police Chief Kenneth Rydberg.

Rydberg, who has worked the case for seven years, is happy that charges have finally been brought. But he said he wished the mother of 17-year-old Brian Carrick could know murder charges were filed against Casciaro before her own death from leukemia in November.


"I'm sad that she passed away before the charges were filed," Rydberg said. "She had a right to know what happened to her son before she died."

Casciaro, of the 2700 block of North Patricia Lane in McHenry, is in custody at the McHenry County jail in lieu of $5 million bond. He was arrested Friday after being indicted by a grand jury on five counts of murder and one count of concealment of a homicide death for the 2002 slaying of Carrick, a Johnsburg resident.

Carrick vanished Dec. 20, 2002, from Val's Foods, the Johnsburg grocery store where he worked. Casciaro is the son of Val's owner Jerry Casciaro and worked as Carrick's supervisor at the time.

The indictment alleges Casciaro, or someone acting on his behalf, struck Carrick in the head during an act of intimidation and unlawful restraint, causing his death. Casciaro then concealed the slaying, officials allege.

His attorney, William Gibbs, declined to comment on the charges Monday, but indicated Casciaro would be pleading not guilty. They are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning on a defense motion to reduce his $5 million bond, labeled in court documents as "excessive" by Gibbs.

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Casciaro owns Val's Foods in Lakeland Plaza at Grand Avenue and Rollins Road in Fox Lake. The store was opened by his family in 2005, Fox Lake officials said.

Multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the case have said Shane Lamb, a longtime suspect in the disappearance, has agreed to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution for his own role in the murder.

McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and his criminal division chief, Philip Hiscock, have not confirmed any deal.

Casciaro previously faced perjury charges alleging he lied to a grand jury investigating what happened to Carrick, but was acquitted after a trial last year.

During the trial, a former friend of Casciaro testified about a conversation he had with the McHenry man about Carrick's disappearance.

"I asked him 'Is it true that you told (Lamb) to kill Brian," the former friend, Alan Lippert, testified. "He said it wasn't even like that. He said that Brian owed him money and he told (Lamb) to scare him and that something happened, it got out of hand and there was an accident."

Rydberg said the case is the longest his department has ever investigated.

"It feels good to have made progress that have led to charges and an arrest, but we will not be satisfied until the entire case is completed," he said.