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Gauger stands firm on story that deputies framed him
by Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/14/2009 4:36 PM

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Gary Gauger withstood a three-hour cross-examination Friday and stood consistently behind his allegations that three former McHenry County Sheriff's investigators framed him for the 1993 murders of his parents, putting him on death row.

Gauger is suing the onetime detectives - Beverly Hendle, Gene Lowery and Christopher Pandre - as well as the McHenry County Sheriff's Department for perhaps as much as $14 million, claiming they conspired to have him wrongfully arrested and convicted of the killings.

Despite defense efforts to point out inconsistencies between Gauger's testimony this week and prior statements he made about the case, the 57-year-old Richmond man remained firm in his claim that the detectives coerced him into making hypothetical incriminating statements and then falsely said he confessed.

"I told them I had absolutely no memory of (killing my parents) and I'm not going to sign a confession," Gauger said when asked what happened after offering the hypothetical.

The suit stems from Gauger's arrest in April 1993 following an 18-hour interrogation conducted after his parents, Ruth and Morris Gauger, were found murdered on their Richmond-area farm. Gauger, who lived on the farm and was home when someone slit his parents' throats, was an immediate suspect.

During the questioning, he told jurors this week, the detectives bullied him, lied that they had stacks of physical evidence against him and coerced him until he suggested that he could have killed his parents during a blackout and then described how it might have happened.

Largely on the basis of those statements, a jury convicted Gauger of first-degree murder in 1994 and he was sentenced to death. Three years later, however, a federal investigation of the Outlaws motorcycle gang linked the case to two bikers who ultimately were found guilty of the slayings. Gauger was released and, in 2002, pardoned.

The civil trial will resume Monday with Gauger's attorneys expected to begin calling the former detectives to the witness stand.