tv 2020 ABC January 2, 2016 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
>> people don't disappear. i think there's somebody who knows exactly what happened. >> no body, no weapon, but clear evidence that teenage boy brian carrick was brutally murdered. >> comes up behind him like this and cuts his throat. >> inside a produce cooler. >> a very quick crime scene and then a frantic cleanup. >> what did you think that circular stain was from? >> a tough case with few answers, but many questions. >> well, who did it? everybody was just, like, on edge. >> stock boys with a past. >> i didn't do anything, and i don't know anything. it's like -- >> a dogged prosecutor with his sights set on one man. >> this is assistant state's attorney. >> and this blood-sniffing crusader, equally determined to find the real killer. >> never should have been charged with this. a colossal failure on the part of the system. >> tonight, the shocking reason this man is now home for the new year. >> my baby.
in getting him there. >> the mystery on johnsburg road. >> good evening and happy new year on this saturday night. >> that phrase happy new year has never meant more to anyone than it does right now to mario casciaro. a young man whose dream was to be a lawyer but whose nightmare became looking at more than 23 years behind bars. >> so tonight here, what put him there in the first place? how so many worked to keep him there and the true believers who fought to get him out. a new twist on the mystery on johnsburg road. >> reporter: the village of johnsburg, illinois. the essence of small town america. a flag waving heartland, about 60 miles outside of chicago. a conservative community where tradition reigns and nostalgia embraced. some call this mayberry of the
>> there's a lot of farms out there still and subdivisions have crept in. the grocery store, bowling alley. very simple, very, just kind of easy. >> reporter: but johnsburg is also a village with a secret. a lingering 12-year-old unsolved mystery that still has people talking. the town's first murder on record. >> i can't really think of a bigger news story. >> i would say everybody had an opinion. >> i think there's somebody who knows exactly what happened. >> reporter: it was just five days before christmas when brian carrick, a likable 17-year-old high school junior vanished from inside the grocery store where he worked as a stockboy. amanda marozo covered his appearance for the tribune. appearance for the tribune. dappearance for the tribune. sappearance for the tribune. appearance for the tribune. isappearance for the tribune.
excited about christmas. >> reporter: his father, an electrician says his young son was always by his side. >> wherever his dad went, his dad said he'd be in his hip pocket. an entrepreneur. making money early on shoveling snow. >> reporter: and loved the village's only grocery store directly across the street from the carrick home. a co-owner at the store and brian was his favorite employee. >> he was smart. you never know how smart he was. tell him do one thing one time. this is what i want you to do. next time he'll tell what you to do. >> reporter: he was a go-getter? >> if there were more people there would be a beautiful >> reporter: in johnsburg, everyone knew the carricks. family with 14 children. brian the 11th. >> parents got married, god, give us as many kids and you want to give us and we'll take them.
carrick family for me. what were they like? >> very nice people. one of the sisters, they didn't have the best clothes, didn't always have school supplies but they had a lot of love. >> reporter: that december 20th was brian's day off, but he went to val's looking for a co-worker passing his brother eddie, also a stockboy on the way. >> eddie was going out to get the carts from the parking lot and brian was walking into the store. he never saw his brother after that. >> reporter: the next day his mother teri received a troubling phone call. brian had not shown up for work. >> she knew her son would never miss work. his life, going to that store. she went upstairs, wasn't in his bed. she knew immediately something was wrong. >> pray for us sinners. >> reporter: within days, johnsburg was reeling in disbelief. this was not the kind of town where people just went missing. >> johnsburg is safer and such a small family church-oriented community and then to have something like this happen is just very hard to take in. >> reporter: supporters gathered at a vigil for brian.
matriarch, visibly shaken. >> horror. the torture of not knowing. the torture of not knowing where he is or what's happened. that's every parent's worst nightmare, and i guess we're living it. >> reporter: as weeks passed was he dead or alive? >> the fbi became involved. people were searching places brian might go. search dogs. they had psychics that came to teri's front door and try and tell her where he might be. >> reporter: val's foods posted a $25,000 reward. grocer's daughters julia and joann. >> reporter: i think some would look at that and say they're putting ups $25,000 for somebody who works for them. not a family member but employee? >> because the carricks needed it. they didn't have the money. we were desperate to try and find what happened to him.
casciaros, two of johnsburg's most well-known families, nearly 20 years almost half the carrick kids worked at val's. >> you have a picture of him in your wallet? >> definitely. >> reporter: can you show moo? >> a beautiful kid. >> reporter: still carrying a picture of this young man who worked with you. why do you carry his picture? >> to me, he was like a son. >> reporter: an early break in the missing person's case revealed blood evidence in and around the grocery store produce cooler. news no one wanted to hear. drops, spatter. smears. a bloody fingerprint. brian's blood. what heartbreaking mystery did the families grocery store hold? >> reporter: what was your reaction when you heard police found blood in the produce cooler? >> i think immediately, who did it? everybody was just like on edge. >> reporter: before long, police zero in on 19-year-old mario casciaro. heir apparent to the family business.
>> you guys were shocked at that point. >> yes. completely shocked. >> mario's really one of the nicest, kind, intelligent, funny, just a sweetheart. >> reporter: cops were beginning to develop a more sinister profile as brian's brother william carrick would share were a local reporter. >> mario was allegedly selling dope and i think coerced my son into working for him and, somehow, yeah, things got out of hand. >> there are rumors that there was some things going on at the grocery store that shouldn't have been going on. >> reporter: tell me about that theory. >> that mario casciaro was selling drugs and would use people like brian carrick to sell the drugs. brian carrick being the sweet kid he was wouldn't always collect the money. >> reporter: convinced the boy who freely gave away pot was a
was killed over a $400 drug debt he owed mario. >> police began to dig into mario a little bit and believed he was selling drugs. >> i think, you know, maybe he smoked pot. i think maybe he, him and his friends bought it and sold it to each other. i mean, you're talking about a very small amount. >> reporter: but with no eyewitnesses, no physical evidence tying mario to the crime scene, or even a body, the investigation grew cold. and so did the bond between the carricks and the casciaros. >> the relationship had gone sour and one day my dad said that mrs. carrick had come in the store and she, she kind of turned her back to him when he approached her to say hello and that was the last time she ever spoke to him. >> reporter: but for mario, life was moving on. >> mario anthony -- >> here he is receiving his degree in finance from illinois
three years after brian's disappearance. >> hey! >> reporter: mario joined the family grocery. worked as a manager and helped build the business. >> that was not the only store that he was going to have. it was always going to be two stores and three stores and four stores. >> reporter: that grand plan would never happen. mario's world was about to collapse around him. a break in the case. this stockboy, shane lamb, would change everything with a tale of violence in the produce cooler the night brian vanished. >> i hit brian two times. bleeding from his mouth. i thought i knocked him out. >> where's mario when you're doing this? >> right in the doorway. >> reporter: what did happen to brian carrick? stay with us. what did happen to brian care rik. stay with us. mmmm... when you add liquid gold velveeta to rotel tomatoes
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supply for this family. criminal history. he grew up rough. i think he's a very tragic character in all of this. >> a stockboy at val's who worked alongside brian and mario. a five-time felon with a rap sheet that included attempted murder at just 14. he repeatedly denied knowing anything about brian's disappearance to authorities. now eight years later in jail facing up to 12 years on drug charges, he was ready to talk. but first he wanted a deal and so did prosecutors.
from the offense of murder and voluntary homicide. >> with this deal, shane escaped all charges related to brian's death and a reduced drug sentence. all he had to do to get the deal, tell his story. and that led police to mario. >> what exactly did mario tell you? >> pretty much talk to brian, intimidate him into getting the money. >> how were you to intimidate him? >> talk to him. he never said kill him or anything like that. >> a controversial deal awarded to man who admits he was the likely killer and mario the master mooind. >> mario knew what he was doing as bringing shane lamb in using him as the tool and the muscle to get what he wanted. >> shane was off that night at a party getting high. he says mario called him to come to the store. brian owed him money and he wanted it back. mario wanted shane to talk to him.
>> i went over there, told brian what's up with the money you owe him, pay him some of the money back. we got to arguing. mario said it was getting too loud. go in the produce cooler. >> shane said he demanded the money from brian but brian resisted. shane lost his temper. things tournament violent. >> i hit brian a couple of times, he was bleeding from his mouth and fell out. >> where is mario when you're doing this? >> right in the doorway. >> not sure if brian was dead or alive, shane said mario told him to leave and he would handle it. >> armed with a confession of a serial felon, police arrest mario charging him with brian's murder. a bitter suite victory for bill carrick. a moment his wife didn't live to see. for the casciaro family, it was
>> i wanted justice for the carricks, but they got the wrong guy. >> combs was convinced that mario and shane acts a duo. he charged mario with murder with intimidation, he insisted it didn't matter that mario never touched brian or ordered him hurt. he was guilty setting into motion the events that killed him by just uttering the words, talk to him. >> had you ever heard of this kind of charge before? >> no. it's very rare. >> had it ever been used before? >> to my understanding it hadn't. >> the case goes to trial and after 12 hours jurors return deadlocked, 11 to 1 in favor of the prosecution. combs explain. >> sometimes laypeople struggle with one person being accountable for the actions of another. >> when you learned it with us a hung jury, what were you thinking? >> frustrated. >> prosecutors vowed to retry
back in court. more determined than ever. hammering away at their key witness, shane lamb, calling him mario's enforcer, the one who carried out his dirty work. >> the prosecutor said don't bring mother teresa to a shakedown. bring a bad ass like shane lamb. >> in closing arguments, prosecutors branding the pair mean little delinquents. >> this is a narrative the prosecutors are building so that people can see mario as some dangerous nefarious figure. >> if you have evidence you stick to the facts, here's his dna, his blood, the time line. they didn't have any of that. >> no. little bit. worked. man who didn't say a word throughout two murder trials
but why not. >> did you kill brian carrick? stay with us. these dogs shed like crazy. it's like being inside of a snow globe. it takes an awful lot of time to keep the house clean. i don't know what to do. (doorbell) what's this? swiffer sweeper and dusters. this is nice and easy boys. it really sticks to it. it fits in all the tight spaces. this is really great. does that look familiar to you? i'm no longer the butler, i am just one of the guys. big news! the new sprint lte plus network is faster than verizon and at&t... based on data from the world's foremost authority on independent measurement. to celebrate, we're gonna cut some prices in half. switch to sprint and save 50% on verizon, at&t or t-mobile rates. no gimmicks. no tricks. it's the biggest offer in u.s. wireless history! what about verizon? 50% off. at&t too? 50% off. even t-mobile? 50% off. plus, we'll even pay your switching fees, up to $650 per line.
tt2w`t+o@pt6 bt`nkl, tt2w`t+o@pt6 "a`n[@h tt2w`t+o@pt6 bm`npkd tt4w`t+o@pt6" dzlq +_\ tt4w`t+o@pt6" enlq [[< tt4w`t+o@pt6" gzl& b\d this is where i first met mario casciaro, behind the century old walls of maynard. one of the country's toughest maximum security prisons with just where brian carrick's grieving father believed he belonged. >> everything i've heard about this maximum security prisons is bad. i guess he's earned his place. >> the college grate waj, now a convicted murderer, shackled and chained to the floor. >> i'm not a criminal. nobody in my family has ever been in handcuffs. i'm the fist. and that includes extended family as well. >> brian carrick's family believes that you belong here. >> if allegations are repeated over and over and over again for
believe that it's a fact. >> the car riks believe that you know where brian's body is. >> it's sad that they think that. it's sad that they would ever think something like that. and i really hope that we find brian. >> mario says that brian carrick was a loyal employee and they had a good relationship. >> he was a good guy. good family. he worked hard. one of my favorite coworkers. >> his memories of that fateful night are still vivid. just five days before christmas the store packed with shoppers, filling their carts with all of the makings of christmas dinner. it was brian's day off but he showed up that evening around 6:30 asking for another stockboy, robert render. >> and brian was looking for render and asked me if i had seen him, where is this guy. i paged him and that was the last time i seen him. >> after seeing brian, mario says he picked up a pizza
employees in a break room. clear across the other side of the store from the produce cooler. that's his alibi. mario says he helped close the store as usual at 8:00. both the defense and prosecutors believe brian was murdered before closing time. >> did you kill brian carrick? >> absolutely not. >> are you responsible in any way for his death? >> no he calls calling shane lamb to the store to talk to brian. >> this is important because police believe you call shame lamb. did you ever call him in. >> no. we actually gave them my phone records and showed them there was no call. >> shane on your urging of talk to him, has an altercation with brian carrick, punches him a few times, lay him out, you tell shane go, i'll take care of this. any truth to that? >> not at all. i didn't see shane in the build that evening. why would i say let he take care of this for you.
let me take care of a murder for you. be serious, you know what i mean. >> he questions why anybody would believe he would take a murder rap for shane lamb who has only worked at the store for two months. >> how could he get himself in a position where he's willing to do this for someone else wh. >> what about the witnesses who testified that mario sold pot? >> did you ever sell drugs. >> there were times when i was smoking pot that i would sell people pot out of my personal sfash stash. it was a criminal enterprise. >> did brian ever sell pot for you? >> no. >> did brian ever owe you money for selling pot? >> no. so the claim of him owing you $400, $500 -- >> that's all made it. they made it seem like it was a huge criminal enterprise. they went so far to say i was a
that's significantly different from smoking weed with your friends. >> there is one decision that haunts him. >> you didn't testify at your trial. how do you feel about that decision now? >> i think it was the wrong decision. i wanted to do it at the time. i was just advised not to. >> guidance from his attorney that day may have cost him his freedom. >> the verdict, what's going through your mind as you're waiting for the verdict in the second trial? >> what is taking so long? what are they thinking about? what could they possibly have found to be credible that they've seen? >> did you think at that point you were going home with your family? >> yeah. sure did. >> going home wouldn't be in the cards. a guilty verdict, mayory's mother's outrage caught my local news cameras. >> my son is innocent. >> his family sobbed. his father wailed. mario was confident the whole time. then he dropped his head. he was shocked that he would
there's no physical evidence. it was heart wrenching. it was as if mario had died. >> can you make it 26 years in here? >> i don't want to. i mean if i have to, i will find a way but i don't want to. i don't want to sit every day thinking about how did i get her. because it's -- i don't have the answers. you know what i mean? >> but next, a woman who thinks she does have the answers. enter mayory's new attorney. >> what is on this door. >> who is convinced she knows who killed brian and exactly how it was done. stay with us. hey man! hey peter. (unenthusiastic) oh... ha ha ha! joanne? is that you? it's me... you don't look a day over 70. am i right? jingle jingle. if you're peter pan, you stay young forever. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. you make me feel so young... it's what you do.
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after mario was sentenced to 26 years for murder he says he didn't commit, his family vowed to fight on until he was freed. >> there was no physical evidence, no dna, no witnesses and no motive. >> when you are innocent, you are going to fight until the very end because you know you're innocent. and we're going to fight until behind him. >> and that's why they hired this gladiator to appeal his case. a high powered attorney with a reputation for overturning convictions, zel nar reviews the evidence and uncovers what she believes are secrets long tucked away inside the family's groesry store. >> i believe we have an excellent case that will be reversed outright. >> she believes the evidence leads not to mario or not to
rob render, an early suspect in the case who brian accused of stealing alcohol from the store and the one brian was looking for at the day he vanished. >> what do we know about rob render? >> another troubled soul. he had a lot of problems, a lot of drugs. >> for zelnar, the case begins with the physical evidence, the blood at the crime scene. rob render's blood was there and his washe t only blood ever found aside from brian's. >> we know that rob render and brian carrick had an altercation because both of their blood is right there at the crime scene. >> for her, the crime scene tells the story. look at these photo exhibits while brian's blood is in the hallway leading to the cooler, rob render's bloody fingerprint is on the cooler door handle. and inside the door, more of rob remembereder's blood. when police questioned rob, he insisted he wasn't there. >> i didn't do anything, i don't
>> they asked rob, if he wasn't there, why was his blood? >> i cut my finger, who knows. maybe i bit my nails so bad because i do that it bled a little bit. >> there's no way that this amount of blood could have been left my rob render by biting his nails. you'd have to be a hemophiliac. you'd have to have a clotting disorder. >> and zr zelnar there is motive. brian turned in rob for stealing booze and ridiculed him at work for being weak. where was rob that night. >> zelnar contends that other employees say that rob was nowhere to be found for two hours but according to rob -- >> i was probably stoned that night. i'm sure. i was 17 years old. that's all i did. maybe i was stuck in the aisle somewhere. maybe i went on break. i'm telling you, i never left the store. >> but maybe he knows more than he's telling.
fight in the cooler and that led them to the crime scene that's what led us to the cooler. and led us to the blood. >> nobody else said that, that there was a fight in the cooler. >> a detail zelnar believes only the killer would know. she says rob also tried to cover his tracks, mopping up the produce cooler that night and being on the scene the next morning when co-owner jerry ka sar ro noticed the pool of red-tinted water. >> what did you think that circular stain was from? >> at the time i thought it was hawaiian punch. i got a little hot under my collar and said you clean it up. it was rob render. >> and zelnar has an witness. an employee at the grocery store when brian disappeared who could rock the prosecution's case with explosive claims. >> what did the new witness have to say?
render made a statement to him just a week before brian disappeared that he was very angry with brian and that he was going to jump him with a weapon. >> that matches with her version of events. zelnar says the fatal plow wasn't from a punch as shane lamb confessed but from a knife. >> tell me what you believe happened. >> i believe that render comes up behind him and cuts his throat and in the process cuts himself. and brian starts falling forward and render grabs the door. that's why his thumb print is on the door. then he pushes him like this. then he scrapes against the boxes. that's why the transferred blood is there, the attack is in the hallway. >> unfortunately for you the evidence points at you. almost all of it points at you, rob. >> police charge render with concealing brian's murder. but within a month, drop the
involved. rob render never told his story in court. he overdosed on a cocktail of heroin and cocaine and died months before mario's second trial. rob's older sister passionately defends her older brother claiming he would never hurt anyone. >> the premise that my brother could have possibly killed brian over $30 or over him telling on him or anything is ridiculous to me. my brother having an explosive temper is ridiculous. >> and she accuses kathleen brother. >> i asked him what he knew there. he didn't know what happened. >> i'm sure prosecutors say this is a classic case of blaming the dead guy. that's meaning ls. n't mean dead guys didn't commit murders. the only person that really dislikes brian carrick is
the only person that owes money to brian carrick is render. the only person that's ever described wanting to jump him with a weapon isand the only person in that back hallway was render. >> there was one man we wanted to talk to. remember shane lamb, one of the stockboys along with rob render, mario ka sar ro and brian carrick. where did we find him? in jail on an unrelated charge. he sat down exclusively with 2020 with a stunning confession. >> i didn't have anything to do with this. he doesn't deserve to have in prison. >> it's safe to say he's serving 26 years in a maximum security prison because of your testimony. >> that's right. >> what you want to say about your testimony today in. >> all of it was false. every single thing, the state's attorney set it up. >> he's talking about assistant state's attorney michael combs
mario at the scene. shane says his back was against the wall. i was arrested for cocaine charges. my offer was 12 years. they said they would be indicted for murder if i didn't cooperate. >> here he is giving a statement but according to shane, what you don't see before this point, before the cameras roll, he makes allegations that combs sat him down for an hour without his lawyer telling him what to say point by point. >> on december 20th, 2002 mario karviar ro never called you to say come to the store and talk to brian carrick because he owes me money. >> never. >> you weren't his enforcer? >> no. >> you never punched him two or three times? >> never. >> mayor yo never said to you get out of here, i'll take care of this? >> never np never happened. >> explosive allegations, especially if true. but there's a problem.
lying, along with a lengthy rap sheet. >> you're a five-time felon spend a lot of you life in and out of jail. can you understand that people say how can we believe him. >> they believed me enough to use my testimony to put him away but now they're going to say iep lying. >> last october in a statement prosecutor combs denied coaching shane lamb out of the presence of his lawyer calling it unworthy of belief, untrue and farfetched. >> i have nothing to gain. the only thing that could happen to me right now is they charge me for murder. i have everything to lose now. >> is that why you think people should believe me? >> 100% they should believe me. it's the truth. >> how does that change your defense of mario. >> it dramatically changes it. he was the only person responsible for mario being convicted. >> but for shane lamb one thing is clear. he says he's willing to spend the rest of his life in prison so that mario doesn't have to.
26 years and i just feel like they let somebody make up testimony to get him locked up for 26 years and he's sitting there and he can't do anything about it. i'm not going to have that on my chest anymore. >> i'm happy that he's finally telling the truth. i wish he would have done it at the trial so that way i wouldn't have had to be subjected to this. this changes your whole life. >> but will that newest confession set mario free? the shocking words of the illinois appellate court decision. >> i think it says that the prosecutors overreached extraordinarily to get this conviction. it's a disgrace that they locked up mario casciaro for this really preposterous theory. >> stay with us.dependent study tested wireless performance across the country. verizon, won big with 153 state wins. at&t got 38, sprint got 2, and t-mobile got zero. verizon also won first in the us for data, call speed, and reliability.
tt2wat^(@%4 bt@q9op tt2wat^(@%4 "a@q)c4 tt2wat^(@%4 bm@q"h8 tt4wat^(@%4 " dztq l> what is mario going to eat first? >> a packed bus makes its way to the state's largest maximum security prison. it's usually a one-way ride. but this particular bus isn't dropping off inmates. it's picking up one. >> we're so happy. and we couldn't wait to get there and get him out. >> we all can't stop smiling. >> mario casciaro is getting released. and this bus load of believers will escort him home. >> what was it like when you heard the news?
>> he was running down the aisles at the store. he's coming home, he's coming home screaming down the aisles. >> you started celebrating early. >> and who could blame him. >> when mario is finally released after serving nearly four years, a father seems content to spend the next four years locked in an embrace with his son. the family had little hope of a heartfelt reunion like this until 2020 cast a national spotlight on mario's story last year. since then an illinois appellate court ruled on a brief presented by mario's crusading lawyer, kathleen zellner. it blasted the prosecution's case, calling their theory ir reasonable, improbable and unsatisfactory. even adding that rob render could not easily be dismissed.
>> i think the decision is airtight. the court saw it just like we did. this is complete vindication that he is innocent. anyone who reads this opinion, that's what the court concluded. >> it was a slam dunk for mario's legal team. >> he's innocent. never should have been charged with this. they didn't get the right killer. and it's a kallos l failure on the part of the system. >> finally did it. it's all behind us now. move on. >> amen. >> for more than a decade he'd suspicions. his pleas of innocence ignored. prison grounds. >> okay. >> go home. >> he invited our cameras to home. >> there's nothing that compares to today.
>> even mario's customary reserve gave way to chattiness as he spoke philosophically about his time in lockup. >> what was it like, spending almost three years in one of the roughest maximum security prisons in the country? >> i was lucky. they never got to imprison my mind. i just never allowed it to happen. my physical body was imprisoned but i never let my mind be there. >> he says he read a lot, kept to himself and stayed positive despite the odds. >> i talked to major, he had been here 20 years saying i'm only the third person he's ever seen leave. it's like winning the lottery. >> a salute. >> it was a night for celebration and a moment for the man of the hour to come to grips with the time lost. >> family members here you're seeing for the first time. >> absolutely.
>> so what's the thing that makes you smile right now? >> you're looking at it. good times. >> family. >> yeah, family, love. >> goods times brain carrick's family was robbed of ever knowing. >> are you still interested in fiep finding out what really happened? >> without a doubt. how could this have even happened. >> what about the carrick family? >> we've lost brian,' we're not going to get him back. the only thing -- the only thing i can hope for is that i'll meet him again some place. >> william carrick died last year in december of 2014, before the court's reversal. other members of the carrick family declined our request for an interview. >> where did he go? people don't disappear. people just don't disappear. that's the part -- that's why we're talking about it. it's so unfair to that family
>> i think what the carrick family needs to do is study the opinion. because the person who committed this crime and the person who helped dispose of brian carrick's body have not been held accountable. and there is nothing that's been gained by having the wrong person locked up. they should push hard to have this case solved and to figure out exactly what happened. the forensic evidence is right there. it tells the story. >> that's my mom. she's the type of person that would hang a baby picture of me in my own room. see in i was cute then. i don't know what happened. >> i wanted to keep mario's room like if he was here because every time i clean the house, mario's room will be the first one i do. >> just having this much space, how about that. my whole cell was one third of
and i had two adults living in there. so this is just -- for me now, i guess i appreciate it more. >> his incarceration inspiring a newfound appreciation for freedom. >> just being able to drive around feels so wonderful. i can go left, go right. i can do so many things i wasn't able to do three months ago and it feels wonderful. >> there was a trip back to val's grocery store with no shortage of familiar faces. >> hey. >> all righty. >> why running the family business was once seen as a given, mario has made a new career choice. >> i want to practice law to get in criminal defense because i believe my vantage point is extremely unique. >> the man who did not speak at his own trial decided to use his voice and his story to benefit others who have been wrongly convicted. and even as he looks forward, mario will not forget where he's
these care packages provided by a local church for inmates across the state. >> it felt so humbling to be able to help people. >> in a family where food is love, mario's mom has outdone herself with good reason. >> we just haven't had a lot to celebrate. we haven't celebrated christmas or new year's or birthdays or anything. we didn't feel right celebrating without you. >> exactly. >> welcome home. mario's new year isn't completely carefree. the illinois state's attorney michael combs still believes he's guilty.
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valley roadways particularly for pedestrians. what experts say needs to be done to make things safer. the dust is settling on 2015 and one thing that jumped out at us here at channel 13 was the number of deadly car crashes last year. action news reporter david schuman talked to experts about the sobering statistics.... and what can be done for a safer 2016. he joins us live with this story. david. the numbers aren't pretty....especially for pedestrian deaths. a traffic expert told me this crosswalk here is a good representation of what's wrong. it's not well-lit.......there are no stoplights to slow cars down. people walking at night are real danger here. but change is on the way -- here and elsewhere. this year is already shaping up to be a safer one on the roads. first...you have to know the extent of the problem. 2015: 207 crash fatalities -- up from 174 in 2014.