In April of 2013, Mario Casciaro was wrongfully convicted of Felony Murder by Intimidation for the murder of Brian Carrick. Brian was last seen at Val’s Foods in Dec of 2002. Although his body has never been found, Mario was sentenced to 26 years in a maximum security prison. Through the years, Mario and his family have done everything they could to help the Carrick family and the police find answers about what happened to Brian. This included holding a vigil in the parking lot of the store, passing out flyers to bring awareness to his disappearance, and posting a $25,000 reward for anybody who had information. They always cooperated with the police during questioning, and allowed the police to come into the store, without a warrant, without attorneys present, to fingerprint, and swab all employees who worked there. Additionally, the Johnsburg police searched the store at their will, and were given the keys to the store when they asked if they could stay past closing.
In fact, all the physical evidence found at the scene of the crime, including fingerprints and blood samples collected by the forensic experts, point to someone other than Mario. Ironically, that person (Rob Render) was never called to testify in the first trial, and died before the second trial began. We are outraged that the biggest piece of physical evidence found so far (the blood soaked underwear ) was thrown out by the police, without conducting any DNA testing.
Shane Lamb, the main witness, who originally claimed that Mario called him to come to the store to "go talk to Brian" about collecting money for a drug debt, has now recanted his entire testimony. Shane originally claimed that when he went to talk to Brian, the conversation got heated and that he threw the punch that likely killed Brian. After Brian went down and hit his head, he claims Mario told him to leave, and that he would take care of it. Although there were dozens of people in the store, including customers, nobody saw or heard this, except for Shane Lamb. On Oct 3rd 2014, Shane appeared on ABC 20/20, and in front of millions of viewers, recanted his entire testimony, apologizing to Mario and his family for all the lies that he had told. In a sworn affidavit, Shane claim's that Mario never called or chirped Shane, and that he never even owned a Nextel phone. Through 2 trials, we were never provided with the phone number that Mario supposedly called to contact Shane. That’s because it does not exist. Shane claims that he only went along with the story to get a reduced sentence for a previous crime, and he was offered complete immunity for his part in the murder of Brian Carrick, to testify against Mario.
People of McHenry County, please pay attention to this case, and help us in our fight for justice. Today this happened to our family, tomorrow it could happen to yours. This case has set a precedent in the United States. Mario is the only person in the United States that has been convicted of Felony Murder by Intimidation.
When given several opportunities to provide information concerning the whereabouts of the victim to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison, Mario was unable to provide this information. We believe this proves his innocence above and beyond a reasonable doubt. He does not know, he has never known. Mario is innocent. He loved Brian and would have never harmed him in any way.
To the hundreds of people who have supported us over the years, instead of listening to all of the rumors, we thank you. To our dear friends, family, co-workers, employees, vendors, suppliers, customers and people in the community-- We thank you!! We thank you for your prayers, phone calls, letters, cards, flowers, for supporting Mario in court and for the monetary contributions that have helped us with our legal fees. We are very confident that the Appellate Court will overturn this decision and we are prepared to go to the Supreme Court if need be. We pray that the truth will eventually come out and that Mario will be cleared of all charges. For updates on the case, please join our facebook page @free MarioCasciaro.com. Over the next three years updates about this case will also be featured on upcoming episodes of 20/20 on ID, TLC and the OWN network, we will update Mario’s facebook page once we know the dates the episodes will air. Thank you for your support, it means the world to us!
The Casciaro Family