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Degorski juror replaced before selection process completed
By Barbara Vitello | Daily Herald Staff

James Degorski's Palatine Police Department 2002 arrest photo


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Published: 8/14/2009 2:47 PM

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A 19-year-old college student seated earlier this week as a juror in the James Degorski murder trial was removed for cause Friday after he informed the court he feared that serving on the jury could cost him his federal work-study job which requires him to be a full-time student.

During Monday's jury questioning, the Illinois Institute of Technology student said he was willing to take the semester off to serve on the jury. On Friday he informed the court that doing so would make him ineligible for work-study since he would cease to be a full-time student.

During a hearing Friday morning before Cook County Judge Vincent M. Gaughan, IIT officials said the school would grant the student leave and would reserve any scholarships he had received. Additionally, officials said the school would not collect on any student loans he had obtained from the school.

The prospective juror was replaced by a mechanic in his mid twenties who counts "Cops" and "Court TV" among his favorite TV shows. Also impaneled Friday was a corrections officer who works at Cook County Jail.

Degorski, 36, is charged with first-degree murder in the 1993 slayings of seven people at a Palatine Brown's Chicken and Pasta. Degorski's co-defendant, Juan Luna, was convicted of the murders in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

Jury selection continues Saturday.