Defense rests in Brown's Chicken murder trial

September 22, 2009 3:19:19 PM PDT
The defense rested its case on Tuesday in the murder trial of James Degorski. Degorski and another man are accused of killing seven people in a Brown's Chicken restaurant in Palatine in 1993.

Juan Luna is serving a life sentence for the killings.

Degorski faces the death penalty if he is convicted.

Relatives of the Browns victims prepare for the second of two trials to come to a close.

On Tuesday, attorneys representing James Degorski rested their case. They called over a dozen witnesses over fives days to defend Degorski's innocence.

Judge Vincent Gaughan explained Degorski's right to testify and the right to remain silent. Degorski chose the latter.

Degorski's mother, sister and brother have also been in court during the trial.

Degorski is accused in the murders of seven people at the Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine in 1993.

Juan Luna was tried and convicted for the murders in 2007.

While Luna and Degorski were high school friends much of the evidence presented in Luna's trial has not been heard in Degorski's trial.

The State presented dozens of witnesses including three women who testified that Degorski admitted his guilt. Degorski's defense team maintains no evidence connects Degorski to the scene and errors in the investigation may have ignored leads to the another suspect.

On Tuesday, Jurors heard from an evidence technician who testified that a mistake the day after the murders meant a footprint was not preserved properly and could not be identified.

And jurors heard evidence that there were two people's DNA found on a preserved piece of chicken from the restaurant and neither DNA sample matched Degorski.

Now the rebuttal phase begins and that's expected to take a couple of days. The trial has not been operating on Fridays and they are taking Monday for the Yom Kippur holiday. Next Tuesday closing arguments are expected to be heard.


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