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Illinois Attorney General’s Office takes Ottawa manslaughter case

Shannon’s re-trial on hold until at least October

Mason Shannon
Mason Shannon

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General has agreed to prosecute a rural Ottawa homicide case, but trial dates still are pending.

Mason Shannon, 45, of Newton, Iowa, appeared Thursday in a Zoom conference on his pending case for involuntary manslaughter. He is accused of killing Michael Castelli during a 2017 struggle outside the Bonnie Plants growing facility in rural Ottawa.

Two attorneys with the AG’s office, Jonathan McKay and Michael Falagario, will take over for La Salle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly, who asked to be recused from the case earlier this summer.

McKay and Falagario told Judge William Dickenson they still are sifting through the records turned over by Donnelly’s office and want additional time to prepare, as well as to address a forthcoming motion by Shannon’s lawyers.

Dickenson agreed and set a status hearing for 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, again by Zoom conference, which is open to the public via Facebook. Trial dates could be set at that time.

Shannon has already stood trial once for the Castelli killing and been found guilty. Though Shannon argued self-defense, a La Salle County judge decided Shannon overdid it when applying a neck restraint. That conviction was overturned on a post-trial motion and Shannon, though again under indictment, enjoys the presumption of innocence.

If Shannon and his lawyers get their way, a second trial won’t happen. A motion to dismiss was filed before Donnelly withdrew, and that remains pending.

Shannon could, if tried and convicted again, face 2-5 years in prison.

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