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Second Brown's Chicken murder trial will start in February
By Stacy St. Clair | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/5/2007 12:20 AM

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

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 Jan. 8, 1993, killings of seven people inside the Palatine franchise.

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.