URBANA — More than 10 years after the brutal slaying of a Mahomet woman in her home, a trial date has been set for the man accused of her murder.
State’s Attorney Julia Rietz and Public Defender Lindsey Yanchus told Judge Heidi Ladd on Nov. 26 that they are prepared to proceed to a jury trial for Michael Henslick in February.
The 31-year-old Mahomet man has been in custody for 15 months, charged with the murder of Holly Cassano.
Miss Cassano, 22, was fatally stabbed and sexually assaulted in her home in the Candlewood Estates Mobile Home Park. Her mother discovered her body on Nov. 1, 2009.
For nine years, Champaign County sheriff’s de-tectives tirelessly worked the case. It was in August 2018 that a combination of genetic genealogy detective work and Henslick’s DNA from a cigarette butt converged to give detectives and prosecutors probable cause to link him to the killing.
The state has already announced its intention to seek a sentence of natural life in prison for Henslick should he be convicted.
Ladd said the trial would begin with jury selection on Feb. 10. The lawyers indicated they could get the case done in a week. The judge told the lawyers to have any pretrial motions on file by Jan. 3.
Although Yanchus sought and received copies of reports from The News-Gazette and area television stations on the case, she has not filed a motion for a change in the location of the trial.