Michael Henslick was arrested on August 28, 2018 and charged with murder and aggravated assault in the 2009 death of 23-year-old Holly Cassano in Champaign, Illinois.
Cassano was found dead in her mobile home in Mahomet, Illinois on November 2, 2009. She had been stabbed around 60 times with a weapon that is thought to be a kitchen steak knife. DNA from an unknown male was collected at several places in the mobile home, as well as from Cassano’s body.
The FGG investigation was undertaken by Parabon Nanolabs. Police made the initial confirmation through surveillance and the surreptitious sampling of DNA from cigarettes he discarded.
When first arrested in August of 2018, Henslick stated he had consensual sex with Cassano that evening, and afterwards he had stabbed her in a fit of rage and had intercourse with her remains – a confession that the judge admitted at his trial. Henslick himself did not testify at his trial.
He was convicted by a jury in February 2020 of first-degree murder accompanied by exceptional brutality or wanton cruelty and sentenced to life in prison.
Henslick had been convicted of a drug offence and ordered to provide a DNA sample, but he refused to do so, and absconded several times from probation. He also absconded on two felony domestic assault charges.
Before Henslick was identified, the DNA profile obtained from the crime scene was compared to 190 suspects, all of whom were excluded after providing police with their DNA.
Henslick was sentenced to life without parole in June of 2020. In September of 2020, a judge denied Henslick a reduction of this sentence.
Clotter, Haydee. “Holly Cassano’s Mother Reacts After Michael Henslick Sentenced.” Fox News Illinois, June 5, 2020. Accessed December 23, 2021. https://foxillinois.com/news/local/michael-henslick-sentenced.
Homer, Tiffani. “Michael Henslick Found Guilty of First Degree Murder.” Fox News Illinois, February 14, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://foxillinois.com/news/local/michael-henslick-found-guilty-of-first-degree-murder.
People v. Henslick, 2022 III App. 4th 200481 (III App. Ct. 2022). https://casetext.com/case/people-v-henslick-2.
Schenk, Mary. “Judge Denies Reduction of Henslick’s Life Sentence in Cassano Murder.” The News Gazette, September 29, 2020. Accessed December 23, 2021. https://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/courts-police-fire/judge-denies-reduction-of-henslicks-life-sentence-in-cassano-murder/article_eab6157b-9ce3-5efa-8eca-ce6e6521f4f6.html.
Schenk, Mary. “Jury Finds Henslick Guilty in Cassano Murder; Faces 20 Years to Life in Prison.” News-Gazette, February 14, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/courts-police-fire/jury-finds-henslick-guilty-in-cassano-murder-faces-20-years-to-life-in-prison/article_97acc467-d84c-519d-b9b7-85a27c79feec.html.
Sederstrom, Jill. “Police Arrest Suspect in 9-Year-Old Murder of Young Illinois Mom.” Oxygen, August 29, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/michael-henslick-arrested-murder-of-holly-cassano-young-illinois-mom.
Shapiro, Emily. “Man Arrested for the 2009 Murder of 22-Year-Old Mother Through Same Type of Testing that Caught ‘Golden State Killer’ Suspect.” ABC News, August 29, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-arrested-2009-murder-22-year-mother-type/story?id=57480270.
WICS/WCCU Staff. “Michael Henslick Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder.” Fox News Illinois, June 5, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://foxillinois.com/news/local/michael-henslick-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-murder.