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Jury deliberating in Dugan hearing

November 10, 2009 9:26:11 PM PST
A jury is still deliberating in the death penalty hearing for Brian Dugan, convicted killer of Jeanine Nicarico.There will be no verdict in the case on Tuesday night.

A judge had told ABC7 that there was a verdict in the case late Tuesday. However, after assembling everyone back in the courtroom, the jury said they needed a few more minutes. The judge left the bench to speak to the jury. He then announced that the jury would retire for the evening. The jury will continue deliberations on Wednesday.

The jury is deciding whether to sentence Dugan to life in prison or give him the death penalty.

Dugan pleaded guilty in July to the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jeanine's father, Tom, read a brief statement, thanking jurors for their service over the last five weeks and thanking all of the people in the community, their friends, their family and many others who have helped the family over these 26 years maintain themselves and continue with strength and resilience.

"Words do not convey the gratitude and empathy we feel towards those very brave women, Dugan's surviving victims, who came forward and testified during these proceedings. They tore off the scabs from the emotional and psychological wounds which they've been trying to heal for many years. They exposed the rawness of their very personal pain and revisited the humiliations and inner fears in an effort to ease ours," said Tom Nicarico.

Everyone agrees that Brian Dugan is a psychopath and always has been. But Dugan's lawyers argued that his brain is wired abnormally and that his horrific crimes were the product of uncontrollable impulses brought on by a physical defect.

Defense attorney Bob Miller asked the jury, "how many of you believe that Brian Dugan went to the Nicarico home in February of 1983 to murder a little girl? He went there to burglarize the house." The horrible murder of Jeanine was, Miller said, an impulsive act committed in broad daylight, as were most of his crimes. There was no forethought, no planning, and no mental capacity to understand emotion and empathy.

In arguing to spare Dugan the death penalty, Miller said, "no one is saying he's insane or not legally responsible, but he won't be walking among us. He'll in Hotel Pontiac."

As for closure, Miller said there will never be closure for the victims and their families, and Brian's death won't change that.

But prosecutor Michael Wolf repeatedly characterized Dugan as a cunning liar, a con man who is about self-preservation, a manipulator who is not a Jekyll and Hyde, but a heinous criminal who could control his impulses and made choices. When he killed Jeanine, Wolf said Dugan was methodical, he had a motive, a design and a desire. He concealed the murder and cared not a wit when two others were sent to death row for the murder.

For a helpless 10-year-old so murdered 26 years ago, it was DNA that ultimately tied Dugan to the crime. Pointing at the now 54-year-old Dugan, who sat stone-faced throughout, Wolf said, "she got you, Dugan."

Steve Greenberg, Dugan's lead attorney, said to the jury on afternoon, "your decision is whether or not to put a mentally ill man to death. Death is not the appropriate sentence.

The DuPage state's attorney Joe Birkett said death is the only appropriate sentence for a serial killer who committed the worst kind of crime.


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