Ex-girlfriend testifies in Brown's Chicken trial

September 9, 2009 (CHICAGO) His former girlfriend, Anne Lockett, told jurors that Degorski confessed to her about his role in the crime. Degorski faces the death penalty if he's convicted on the seven counts of first-degree murder.

In January 1993, seven people were killed and stuffed into a walk-in cooler and freezer of the Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine. Days after the murders, Degoski allegedly confessed to his then-girlfriend, Lockett, who now goes by her married name, Anne England. England testified that she was in Degorski's basement when he described how he and Juan Luna killed the victims and robbed the restaurant.

Luna was convicted for the murders in 2007. Degorski is now on trial.

On Wednesday, England testified: "They did it because Juan wanted to see what it was like to kill somebody and Jim agreed to help."

After the disclosure, she said, "He told me if I ever told anybody he'd kill me."

England testified about a lifelong battle with mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction that includes six suicide attempts and two psychiatric hospitalizations.

After her first hospitalization, she said it was only days before she began using drugs again, and it was during that time she recalls Degorski's disclosure.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Mark Leavitt asked, "In 1993, you can't be sure where you were on what day."

She responded, "They all ramble together."

Upon a second round of questioning by prosecutors, England was asked, "Will you ever forget what the defendant told you in the basement about him and Juan Luna?"

She responded, "Absolutely not. Never."

Also on Wednesday, there was testimony that the murder weapon- a gun that was never found- was tossed into the Fox River. The state will continue to call witnesses Thursday. After that, the state is expected to rest and the defense will call witnesses.

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