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Date set for James Degorski's trial in Brown's Chicken case
By Stacy St. Clair | Daily Herald Staff

James Degorski


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Published: 9/4/2007 4:17 PM

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A second man is scheduled to stand trial for the Brown's Chicken slayings early next year.

A Cook County judge set a Feb. 13 trial date for James Degorski, the 34-year-old Fremd High School graduate accused of participating in the killings of seven people inside the Palatine franchise on Jan. 8, 1993.

Authorities say Degorski and classmate Juan Luna fatally shot the restaurant's two owners and five employees in "an attempt to do something big." The men were arrested in 2002.

A jury convicted Luna of the slayings in May and sentenced him to life in prison. He is appealing the verdict.

Degorski has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

As his trial inches closer, Degorski has asked Judge Vincent Michael Gaughan to bar any statements he made to police. Degorski contends he was coerced into confessing while being held in police custody for two days.

Prosecutors deny the statement was taken under duress. They say Degorski was treated well and could have refused to answer questions or asked for a lawyer at any time during the interrogation.

Gaughan will hear additional testimony on the defense request later this month.