Listen to this article

URBANA — The man police believe killed Holly Cassano in her home almost a decade ago lived within blocks of her both before and after the killing, court records show.

And Michael Henslick, 30, has been in and out of police custody repeatedly since the Nov. 2, 2009, murder, most recently on Monday, in a drug case that started in 2015, and on other cases alleging he was violent with his girlfriend and hurt a woman for whom he acted as a caretaker.

In a petition for an order of protection filed by his girlfriend in August 2017, she alleged that Henslick "punched me in the face twice, breaking my teeth, choked me, hit me in the head, shoved me to the ground, took my belongings, keys, phone, purse, threw my purse outside his car. He then threw a glass at my driver’s side window."

In that petition, the woman alleged that Henslick had a history of violence and was occasionally suicidal.

The woman, who lived with Henslick, was granted an emergency order of protection for herself and her two children, but did not follow up seeking a plenary order — so the case was dismissed.

Also dismissed was a criminal case filed in connection with those allegations in which Henslick was charged with aggravated domestic battery toward that woman and possession of psilocybin and cannabis.

However, he was convicted of violation of an order of protection in another case involving that same woman that occurred two weeks later in September 2017. He was sentenced to conditional discharge, a form of probation that does not require reporting to a probation officer, and 35 days in the county jail.

Henslick currently has two other criminal cases pending involving the same live-in girlfriend. In one he’s charged with domestic battery for allegedly hitting her in the face on April 27; in the other, he’s charged with criminal damage to property for allegedly damaging her cellphone and possessing cocaine on May 18.

In both of those, Henslick missed court dates, was arrested on warrants for failing to appear, and posted bond ranging from $4,000 to $12,000 cash to be released. In one case, his name is on the bond receipt; in another, his mother signed as the bond poster.

Henslick has been ordered in all the cases involving the live-in girlfriend to have no contact with her. She was in court Wednesday to see him arraigned on the murder charges.

Henslick was also in court Monday on his 2015 possession of cocaine case. Represented by Assistant Public Defender Lindsey Yanchus, Henslick asked Judge Roger Webber for a continuance to hire an attorney — a move he has made several times in different court cases in the last few years — to represent him on a petition to revoke his probation.

Prosecutors have alleged twice since Henslick pleaded guilty in January 2017 and received 18 months of probation, that he violated the terms of his probation by not reporting to an officer.

That means that Henslick has not satisfied any of the basic terms of his probationary sentence, including giving a DNA sample, as is court-ordered in most felony cases.

Court records show that a month before Miss Cassano’s killing in 2009, Henslick was living on Carroll Street, which is four blocks north of DuPage in the Candlewood Estates mobile-home park.

The address police provided for him after his arrest Tuesday evening was in the 2200 block of Olen Drive, which is seven blocks north of the murder scene.

Court records show Henslick has in the past been represented by Champaign attorneys Mark Lipton and John Gadau. Records also indicate that he has usually posted bond in many of his cases before spending too much time in custody.

In his pending cases for the probation revocation and the unresolved felonies filed in April and May, he is represented by the Champaign County public defender’s office.

His convictions date to 2006 and range from traffic offenses such as a speeding ticket amended to a non-moving violation, operating an uninsured vehicle, driving under suspension (for which he was given electronic home confinement on Carroll Street in September 2010), driving without a license, and possession of a controlled substance.

A criminal case alleging that in July 2016 he hurt an elderly person for whom he acted as a caretaker by grabbing her arm and slamming a door when she was standing in the doorway was also dismissed when he pleaded guilty in the drug case that is unresolved with the probation revocation.

N-G staff writer Debra Pressey contributed to this report.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).