Brian Dugan wanted to publicly apologize Tuesday for murdering Jeanine Nicarico so long ago, but those most affected by his violent past weren't buying it.
After he pleaded guilty, the 52-year-old former Aurora man was denied an opportunity to read in court a handwritten letter he penned in the DuPage County jail.
But Daily Herald sources said an apologetic Dugan, who is clean and sober after spending decades in prison for two other murders, wanted to make a sincere effort to help the slain girl's family find the truth that has eluded them.
"I never imagined it would take a quarter-century to stand where I am today," he wrote, "to take responsibility for the horrible crimes I committed so long ago. For more than two decades, I have been a prisoner of myself; haunted by my violence; imprisoned by my own self-loathing and doomed to defend my ugliest moments.
"I deeply regret all the pain and suffering I caused. I sincerely hope this brings the Nicaricos and the community a small measure of resolution in their search for the truth."
Dugan even has offered to meet face to face with the Nicaricos to answer their questions.
His words, though, brought Tom and Pat Nicarico little solace. They still mourn the loss of their beloved daughter, Jeanine, 10, the youngest of their three girls.
"He's just looking for a way to save himself and get mercy to avoid the death penalty," Tom Nicarico said. "He's had a lot of time to apologize. Why would we want to talk to him? We can't trust what he says. It's another publicity stunt."
Dugan long ago offered to plead guilty if prosecutors agreed to spare his life - a deal they still refuse to make. Meanwhile, three other men, including Rolando Cruz, spent years in prison before their eventual acquittal.
Cruz, 46, twice was sentenced to death, likewise had sharp words for Dugan.
"I almost died because of this man," Cruz said. "He didn't try to save my life. He only cares about saving his own. He should be executed or spend the rest of his natural life in hell. He needs to suffer for all that he's done to us."