Witness: Casciaro said 'I make people disappear'

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013 12:58 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – Years after a Johnsburg teen disappeared, the man charged with his murder said, “I make people disappear,” and also told a friend that it was all an accident and things got out of hand, according to testimony given Thursday.

Mario Casciaro, 29, is on trial in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of 17-year-old Brian Carrick, who was last seen Dec. 20, 2002. It’s the second time Casciaro has gone to trial on first-degree murder charges; the first a little more than a year ago ended with a hung jury.

Chris “Priest” Amen testified that he and Casciaro were selling marijuana together about the time Carrick disappeared.

About five years later, Amen ran into Casciaro at a bar in McHenry, but by then their relationship had soured, he said.

They exchanged words, made some smart remarks toward each other, and Amen said he made a comment to Casciaro like, “You’re not a tough guy; don’t talk to me like that.”

“His rebuttal was, ‘I make people disappear,’ ” Amen said.

Prosecutors have said Casciaro used another man, Shane Lamb, as a “henchman” to collect on a drug debt owed by Carrick.

Casciaro allegedly sent in Lamb for a confrontation at the Johnsburg grocery store, Val’s Foods, where all three worked.

Lamb, who has been granted immunity for murder, testified that the three of them were in a produce cooler when he lost his temper and hit Carrick, who fell down. Lamb has said he left after that and never saw Carrick again.

According to Amen, a few months before Carrick disappeared Casciaro told him that he was bringing Lamb into their drug dealing to be the “intimidator” or “muscle.”

“He was also going to be Mario’s right-hand man,” Amen said.

On cross-examination, Amen admitted that he doesn’t like Casciaro, whom he blamed for a drug charge he picked up. Amen is a convicted felon who admitted on the stand to having sold “everything under the sun.”

Another man, Alan Lippert, said he had been friends with Casciaro, who told him in 2006 that “Shane was just supposed to threaten Brian, but it was an accident and things got out of hand.”

That statement, Lippert said, came after a night of drinking – and he didn’t tell police until months later when he was arrested on a DUI charge.

Lippert also was contradictory when it came to what Casciaro allegedly told him about the body – whether it was Casciaro’s cousins who moved it, or Lamb.

Other testimony Thursday included a DNA analyst, who said Carrick’s blood was found on the scene – as was stockboy Robert Render’s.

None of the samples matched Casciaro or Lamb, she said.

Render cannot take the stand to explain why his DNA showed up; he died in May from a drug overdose. He was not called to testify at the last trial.

His father, however, did testify this time, and said that Render came home from work the evening Carrick disappeared. He said his son wasn’t acting unusual and didn’t leave the house that night.

Today is a court holiday; the trial is scheduled to resume Monday when prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case.

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