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Tentative Trial Date Set for Brown's Chicken Murder Case

By Joanna Miller in News on May 3, 2006 8:03PM

If you lived anywhere in the Chicagoland area during the early ‘90s, you remember the Brown’s Chicken massacre. Chicagoist was only, well, we were a lot younger when seven people were trapped inside a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in Palatine and murdered in January 1993, but we remember how scared we were when we heard the awful story.

In fact, the Brown’s in our neighborhood was never quite the same for us and, it seemed, for a lot of other people, although it’s still there.

gavel.jpgBut that was a long time ago. A LONG time ago. Today, a tentative September trial date was set for Juan Luna, one of the two suspects accused of the murders. No date has been set for the other defendant, James Degorski.

So when jury selection begins in September, if it begins on time, it will be nearly 14 years since the murders. Nevertheless, Assistant Public Defender Stephen Richards thinks it’s still too early – “premature,” he said – and that the defense needs more time to prepare because of the complexities of the case.

More time to prepare? Is he kidding?

Granted, they haven’t been preparing all this time. Luna and Degorski were arrested in May 2002 thanks to DNA evidence retrieved from partially eaten food left in the trash at the crime scene. But that’s four years. And yes, they’ve been busy deposing witnesses and arguing over evidence in the mean time, we think it’s about time they got down to business. As in start the trial.

Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan says he may move the date back if extraordinary circumstances arise. Let’s just hope there aren’t any more of those.