Killer says he was a 'Jekyll and Hyde' character

November 3, 2009 3:26:14 PM PST
Convicted murderer Brian Dugan calls himself a "Jekyll and Hyde" character. Jurors heard him make that observation in a videotape that was played Tuesday in court during the sentencing phase of his death penalty case. Brian Dugan is being sentenced for the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. He was previously convicted of killing a 7-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman.

The videotape is evidence in these proceedings, so it's not yet being made publicly available, but it is as close as Brian Dugan will come to testifying at his sentencing hearing. It's a nearly two-hour question-and-answer session video-taped September 5. It's conducted by a forensic psychologist hired by the defense, and it's part of the defense case that Dugan is a psychopath who couldn't control an impulse to kill because of structural defects in his brain.

In the years before his arrest for murder, Brian Dugan had built a resume of burglaries, arson and sexual assaults. Now, a quarter century later, Dugan describes himself as a Jekyll and Hyde character who can't explain why he did what he did.

In the nearly two-hour long video played for the jury Tuesday morning, Dugan discusses his adolescent years with a mother who was, he says, violent and controlling, and a father who was a drunk, disengaged from family.

Of the sexual assaults he was involved in, Dugan says, "something just clicked."

"When that part of my brain engages, it makes me unreasonable," Dugan says on the tape.

Dugan paints a self-portrait as a drug abuser, too lazy to work, and low on self-esteem. "I needed a psychiatrist back in those days. I really did", he says on the tape.

Then the questions turn to the murder of Jeanine Nicarico. It and two previous murders were not planned, Dugan claims; they just happened. But, why? he is asked. "I don't know why", is his slowly worded response. "I just don't know what I was feeling. I think I wanted to protect myself."

To the Nicarico family, Dugan on tape says he knows an apology would mean little, but that he has long thought about what he'd say. "I didn't understand that Jeanine was a real person. I want to let them know how sorry I was for destroying their lives and taking that away from them."

Dugan says he was terrified after committing his crimes, but couldn't stop. The psychologist asks, were you having a bad day? Dugan's response, "It wasn't a bad day. I was a bad guy."

On a portion of the tape, Dugan talks about the death penalty. He tells the psychologist that he is philosophically opposed to capital punishment - that it's "useless" and "overkill." But ,beyond that, Dugan says, "I don't care about dying... I'll have an early release." The jury did not hear that portion of the tape because it will decide whether Dugan will face death or return to prison for the rest of his life.


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