Daily Herald
Who's who in the Brown's murders
Published: 8/2/2009 12:01 AM | Updated: 8/2/2009 12:16 AM

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Sixteen years ago, what started as an armed robbery ended in the murders of seven people at Brown's Chicken & Pasta in Palatine. In 2007, Juan Luna of Carpentersville was convicted. On Thursday, jury selection begins in the trial of the second suspect, James Degorski.

The victims

• Michael Castro, 16, of Palatine. Worked cash register alongside classmate Rico Solis. Aspired to join the Marines.

• Lynn Ehlenfeldt, 49, of Arlington Heights. Co-owned restaurant with husband, Richard. Three daughters.

• Richard Ehlenfeldt, 50, of Arlington Heights. Former political aide who co-owned restaurant with wife, Lynn. Three daughters.

• Guadalupe Maldonado, 47, of Palatine. Fry cook, had recently immigrated from Mexico. Married with three sons.

• Thomas Mennes, 32, of Palatine. Chicken breader. Had a twin brother, Jerry. Single.

• Marcus Nellsen, 31, of Palatine. Manager in training. Divorced with a 4-year-old daughter.

• Rico Solis, 17, of Arlington Heights. Philippine-born cashier. Worked counter with high school classmate Michael Castro.

On trial

• Jim Degorski, now 36, of Indianapolis. Charged in Brown's murders with former Fremd High School classmate Juan Luna. Faces death penalty if convicted. Single.


• Juan Luna, now 35, of Carpentersville. Charged in Brown's murders with former classmate Jim Degorski. Worked briefly for the Ehlenfeldts. Serving a life sentence at Stateville Correctional Center, Joliet. Married, one son.