MARIO CASCIARO was wrongfully convicted of murder by intimidation for a presumed murder and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. With the help of his family and community Mario was able to afford attorney Kathleen Zellner who specializes in wrongful convictions. Because of his family, friends, and attorney, Mario was released after spending around four years in prison.
In September 2015, the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois found that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Mario committed murder. In fact, they found the evidence to be “so lacking and so improbable” that there was no proof of Mario’s involvement. Mario was grateful to leave Menard Correctional Center behind and to rejoin his family, who had stuck by him during after the trials against him. Having a family to fight for him and to remain close to him while incarcerated, helped Mario to get where he is today.
An Illinois native, Mario grew up in Fox Lake and worked for the family business, Vals Foods. Before his conviction, Mario obtained an honors degree in Business Finance at Illinois State University. He used his degree to help build his family’s second grocery store, Vals Fresh Market. Mario currently lives with his family and spends his weekends in Chicago. He will be beginning law school in the fall and hopes to use his degree to prevent wrongful convictions in the future and to advocate for those who do suffer wrongful convictions.