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Rural Ottawa manslaughter suspect awaits Jan. 22 hearing

Shannon to argue he can’t be tried twice

An Iowa man charged with manslaughter in a 2017 death outside a rural Ottawa growing facility will argue Jan. 22 that he cannot be tried twice.

If he prevails on his motion to dismiss, the 46-year-old Mason Shannon will not stand trial again for the killing of Michael Castelli, who died in summer 2017 outside the Bonnie Plants growing facility.

Shannon appeared Thursday on a Zoom conference with Visiting Judge William Dickenson and agreed to waive his right to an in-person hearing in La Salle County. Shannon said he understood he had the right to appear in a court of law, “but I’d also like everyone to stay safe.”

Dickenson welcomed that pronouncement – the judge wants to limit any exposure to the novel coronavirus – and then set a virtual hearing Jan. 22 by Zoom. (The hearing will be broadcast over YouTube.)

Shannon and his lawyers will argue that putting him on trial again for Castelli’s death would be double jeopardy; and the U.S. Constitution forbids trying someone twice for the same crime.

Shannon was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for putting Castelli into a neck restraint. Though Shannon argued self-defense, a La Salle County judge decided Shannon overdid it when putting Castelli into a carotid sleeper hold.

That conviction was overturned on a post-trial motion, however, and the La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Office withdrew from the case. Two attorneys with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, Jonathan McKay and Michael Falagario, will argue against the motion to dismiss.

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

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