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Jury Decides Brian Dugan Qualifies for Death Penalty

By Jake Guidry in News on Oct 7, 2009 9:00PM

[Photo via WBBM Radio 780]
A DuPage County jury took little time today to decide that Brian Dugan, convicted for kidnapping, raping and murdering 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico, qualifies for the death penalty.

The decision, only taking an hour, is the prelude to a testimony to determine whether or not Dugan will receive a third life term or the death penalty. The testimony hearing begins this afternoon and is expected to take 4 to 6 weeks.

Dugan's qualification for the death penalty is due to a history of violence in addition to the Nicarico rape and murder. In July, he pleaded guilty to killing Nicarico, of Naperville, in 1983. He already is serving life sentences for the rapes and murders of Donna Schnorr and Melissa Ackerman, 27 and 7, respectively.

Art Barnum of the Chicago Tribune reported that "[d]efense attorneys didn't offer much argument against Dugan's eligibility." However, attorney Steven Greenberg stated today that "this is just a phase in the process. Don't foreclose the ultimate decision in this process. There is a whole story to be told. Many of the facts of this case have come from the mouth of Brian Dugan."

Dugan's confession is believed to be an attempt to avoid death row in favor of a third life sentence. A death sentence would require a unanimous vote.