Defense: Degorski's confession was coerced

September 16, 2009 2:54:50 PM PDT
For the second day, the defense took the stand in the Brown's Chicken murder trial.Attorneys for James Degorski tried to get police investigators to admit that they coerced a confession from their client during the trial on Wednesday. Degorski is accused of killing seven people in 1993 at the Brown's Chicken and Pasta Restaurant in Palatine.

Degorski's former boss, Mark Mogilinski, was called to testify. He lived in Degorski's Hoffman Estates neighborhood and hired the suspect to work at his auto detail shop.

"He's a happy go lucky guy," said Mogilinski. "I never seen him get in any trouble."

Mogilinski also described how Degorski negotiated conflicts at the shop.

Years later, Degorski was arrested for the murders of seven people at the Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine in 1993. Degorski's high school friend, Juan Luna, was convicted for the murders in 2007 and is serving a life sentence. Degorski is now on trial.

His attorneys called Casey Haefs to testify Wednesday. She was supposed to work at Brown's the night her co-workers and bosses were killed.

She testified that in that between 1993 and 1999 investigators questioned her 20 times, sometimes leading her answers

"In a way they gave me information of what they were looking for," said Haefs.

She testified the questioning became more intense and she eventually lied so she could go home.

"I finally gave them a story," said Haefs. "It was terrible. I never experienced anything like that and I was in boot camp. They were screaming at me. They were yelling at me. They get you to question your own self."

Late Tuesday night, Haefs testified that two police officers refused to leave her home until she returned a call to the State's Attorney's office about her testimony.

"They said they weren't allowed to leave until I called the State's Attorney's office," said Haefs.


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