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What the jury will have to consider
By Stacy St. Clair | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/9/2007

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The nine men and three women tapped to decide Juna Luna's fate come from various walks of lifeďż˝ -- and of Cook County.

Among the jurors sit a flight attendant, a probation officer, a former drug dealer and a stay-at-home mom. Some are city dwellers. One describes himself as a sheltered kid from the suburbs.

Together, they are charged with weighing evidence in the bloodiest crime in suburban Chicago history. Their job intensifies today as they listen to closing arguments and then begin deliberations.

The group, it seems, has formed fast friendships. They are often heard laughing together in the hallway and talking with animated voices in the jury room.

From the beginning, they brought goodies to munch on during their downtime. One day, a juror brought in a big box of rib tips for everyone to enjoy during lunch.

The group has behaved in such a jovial manner, the judge has complimented their camaraderie on more than one occasion.

Some jurors -- for example, the man who professed a keen interest in the O.J. Simpson trial -- have paid rapt attention. Others, such as the probation officer, appear to have stopped taking notes about a week ago.

The judge chastised two men for falling asleep during early testimony. One of those jurors, however, continues to doze off on a near-daily basis.

The panel consists of five minorities and at least one immigrant.

Luna, 33, was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was very young. He's now a naturalized citizen.

The defense's case

Key elements of the prosecution

Complete coverage

Case points

DNA evidence

Prosecution: DNA found on half-eaten pieces of chicken matches Luna. The likelihood of another person having that same genetic code is 1 in 2.8 trillion.

Defense:DNA has been contaminated, thanks to repeated thawing and people touching the chicken without gloves. Authorities also lost the DNA swabs taken from the bones.

Partial palm print

Prosecution:Partial palm print found on a discarded napkin could not match anyone else in the world besides Luna.

Defense:The dime-size print area is too small to definitively say it belongs to Luna. Also suggests Luna, a former Brown's employee, would have touched lots of napkin stacks during his employment.

Witnesses

Prosecution:Two women who testified Luna and pal Jim Degorski told them about their involvement in the murders are believable - despite having kept a horrific secret for nine years.

Defense:The women, who have histories of drug and alcohol use, are liars with personal agendas against both men.

Luna's confession

Prosecution:Luna's 43-minute confession contains facts only the killer would know and corroborates physical evidence and witness statements.

Defense:Luna, whose young son had been with him when he was arrested, would have said anything to be reunited with the child.

Simonek's confession

Prosecution:John Simonek confessed after being fed information from police.

Defense:Simonek knew details only killers would know. If he didn't do it, it's possible that another innocent man could confess while in Palatine police custody.