Brian Dugan looked at in cold cases

November 13, 2009 4:27:43 PM PST
Brian Dugan will be formally sentenced to death for the murder of Jeanine Nicarico on the December 16.He has now been linked to three murders. But there are questions about other possible murders that Dugan may have committed.

His lead attorney says Dugan isn't hiding anything. He's confessed to his crimes, and that's that.

But police and prosecutors in the west and northwestern suburbs have several unsolved murders that over the years have had investigators at least consider the name Dugan. DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett wants those cases dusted off again before Dugan's formal sentencing next month.

Twenty-six years ago in an Aurora home, Kathryn Pollock, a 64-year-old widow, was bludgeoned to death in what was thought to have been a home invasion. Her murder has gone unsolved. In the years since, investigators have considered a possible connection to Dugan, though he was never named as a formal suspect.

Dugan had admitted committing burglaries in Pollack's neighborhood. He lived not far away and was not at work the day of the murder. The weapon - never recovered - was believed to be a steel instrument. Five weeks earlier, Jeanine Nicarico had been abducted and bludgeoned to death with a tire iron.

Birkett says there may or may not be a Dugan-Pollack connection, but investigators for several months have been revisiting the Pollack murder and several other cold case killings to see if there might be a Dugan link.

"I think it's just grandstanding," said Steve Greenberg, Dugan's attorney. "I don't think they're really checking into anything, and if they were, they're not going to find anything. They've had 25 years.

"We've talked to him and said is there anything else out there- anything we could use as leverage to try to get you a deal in this, and he denies that there's anything else out there," Greenberg continued.

Throughout his trial, prosecutors called Dugan a cunning liar and manipulator, but they didn't attempt during the proceedings to link him to any unsolved killings, and it's unclear if there's substantive evidence that ultimately might. Dugan's attorneys, meanwhile, are planning an appeal of his sentencing trial, based in part on the jury's announcement Tuesday night that it had a verdict, followed by an abrupt choice to continue deliberations. An appeal would go directly to the state supreme court.

"It'll take two to three years for that appeal to take place, then we'll move to the federal court. I suspect we're looking at 10 to 15 years," Greenberg said.

When Dugan is formally sentenced December 16, his attorneys will argue that the proceedings were flawed, that there was judicial error, and that there should be a new sentencing hearing. While that's always possible, it's not at all likely, which means that the state appellate defender will begin the appeals process as Dugan is moved to death row.


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