150 jurors summoned in Palatine murder trial

August 10, 2009 2:51:26 PM PDT
Jury selection is underway in the trial of James Degorski, who is charged in the 1993 killings of seven people.Degorski's co-defendant, Juan Luna, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison.

On Monday, a judge and attorney questioned prospective jurors at the Criminal Courts Building located at 26th and California. The 150 prospective jurors will be questioned in groups of 10.

In 1993, two owners and five employees at Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine, Ill., were shot and killed during a robbery. Luna was convicted of the murders in 2007 after DNA on a chicken dinner from the restaurant linked him to the scene. Jurors also heard Luna's lengthy videotaped confession.

The difference in Degorski's case is that there is no hard evidence linking him to the crime. There is, however, a brief videotaped comment.

The prospective jurors were brought into a conference room crowded with24 people- mostly attorneys and Judge Vincent Gaughan.

"Jeez, you guys are intimidating," said one prospective juror.

Jurors filled out questionnaires about their backgrounds, familiarity with the case, and views on the death penalty, which the state is seeking should Degorski be convicted.

Question 38 on the survey: Are you in favor of the death penalty as an available punishment for certain types of crimes?

At least five prospective jurors are likely to be released due to their opposition to the death penalty. Two others are likely to be released due to their favor for death penalty regardless of eligibility or appropriateness of the punishment.


Load Comments