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Degorski jury complete, as four alternates selected
By Barbara Vitello | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/15/2009 4:26 PM | Updated: 8/15/2009 11:52 PM

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The jury selection in the trial of James Degorski for the 1993 slayings of seven people at a Palatine restaurant concluded Saturday with the seating of four alternate jurors.

They will join the 12 jurors chosen earlier this week to hear evidence in the trial of the man charged with first-degree murder in the deaths at a Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant. Opening arguments in Degorski's trial are scheduled for later this month in Chicago.

His co-defendant, Juan Luna, was convicted of the murders in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison. If convicted, Degorski, 36, faces the death penalty.

Alternate jurors selected Saturday include a recently married young man who works for a fleet management company and supports the death penalty.

He said he believed his company would pay him for five days jury service only. Defense attorneys asked if that financial hardship would be a distraction.

"Just because I'm hurt financially doesn't mean I can't concentrate in court," he said.

Alternate jurors also include a woman in her 20s who believes that because a jury determines a defendant is eligible for the death penalty, doesn't mean they should automatically impose it; a retired man in his 60s who said he could maintain his opinion even if his 11 fellow jurors opposed him, and a young man recently out of work, who said he doesn't think the death penalty is the only option for murder.

The 12 jurors and four alternates return to the Cook County Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California Avenue on Aug. 28 for orientation.

Opening arguments are scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 31 in courtroom 500.