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Thread: Michael Henslick arrested for 2009 murder of Holly Cassano, arrest made through familial DNA

  1. #1
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    Michael Henslick arrested for 2009 murder of Holly Cassano, arrest made through familial DNA

    Another one bites the dust after thinking he got away with it for almost a decade.

    A man is in custody for the 2009 killing of a 22-year-old Illinois mother after he was tracked down through the same technology used to catch the suspected "Golden State Killer."

    Michael Henslick, accused of killing Holly Cassano in November 2009, was taken into custody without incident Tuesday in the parking lot of a mall in Champaign, the Champaign County Sheriff's Office said at a news conference Wednesday.

    Henslick and Cassano both lived in the same community of about 2,000 people when she was killed, and they both had attended the same high school at the same time, the sheriff's office said.

    They had mutual friends and acquaintances but that was extent of the relationship, Walsh said.

    Authorities never had a tip that indicated Henslick was involved in the killing, the sheriff's office said.
    Henslick was found through Parabon NanoLabs' genetic genealogy testing -- the same type of technology used to arrest the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April.

    In Cassano's case, the suspect's DNA was collected at the crime scene and uploaded to genetic genealogy databases for comparison.

    The sheriff praised the Parabon technicians' work in the case, saying they "tracked the DNA's ancestors literally back to the 1800s, and from that worked forward to the present, building a family tree."

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    Toni Cassano said her faith has sustained her the last 10 years as police looked for the person who took her only daughter out of her life, then found him and brought him to justice.

    "I have spiritually forgiven him, but that doesn’t mean I think what he did was OK,” the Villa Grove woman said. “I do believe that he needs to pay for what he did, and that’s between him and God.”

    As Cassano was talking with The News-Gazette on Friday afternoon, word came that a jury had reached a verdict in the murder trial of Michael Henslick, just an hour after it began deliberating. She was stunned by the speed of jurors’ decision.

    Since unwittingly being thrust into the spotlight in 2009, Toni Cassano has been the model of composure and civility, freely talking to the media as the search for her daughter’s killer went on.

    Then, after Henslick’s arrest, she measured her words carefully as she attended almost all of his court hearings.

    While testifying Tuesday about how she found her daughter’s slain body, cold and stiff, she held it together on the witness stand, choking back a sob.

    In the hallway outside the courtroom on breaks this week, she spoke kindly to Henslick’s mother and aunt and did her best to comfort her own relatives and friends who were hearing the grisly details of how Holly Cassano’s life ended.

    But when Judge Heidi Ladd read aloud the guilty verdict, Toni Cassano buried her face in her hands and sobbed, her body visibly heaving for several seconds. Her adult son next to her put an arm around her and held tight.
    'A weight lifted off me'

    So how has she not let the grief consume her?

    “God. I look at this as my faith journey. I start out knowing God. When this happened, I hated God,” said the mother of two, who is raising her late daughter’s only child, now 12.

    So as not to prejudice Henslick’s right to a fair trial, prosecutors were not allowed to introduce evidence that Holly Cassano was a mother to an 18-month-old girl at the time of her slaying.

    The judge even forbade the lawyers from sending the jury a photo of Miss Cassano’s purse on her daughter’s bed because in the background was a pull-up diaper.

    However, in a picture shown to jurors of the mostly naked Miss Cassano on the floor of her bedroom, there was a child’s plastic tricycle just inches from her foot that may have given them a clue.

    The verdict is in: A Champaign County jury on Friday found Michael Henslick guilty of the 2009 murder of Mahomet's Holly Cassano.

    Jurors found that the crime was committed in "an exceptionally brutal and heinous manner, indicative of wanton cruelty," which means Henslick could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Henslick's sentencing was set for March 20 at 1:30 p.m.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kevansvault's Avatar
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    They ought to bury that motherfucker alive under 12 tons of dirt and let him suffocate and scream his bloody goddamn head off as he dies.

    Sorry ass motherfucker. Make him suuufffffferrrrrrrrr.
    Don't like what I have to say? I respect that. Now go fuck yourself.

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