Brian Dugan Sentenced to Death in 1983 Illinois Rape/Murder

Started by JeffB, July 23, 2009, 12:37:07 PM

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heidi salazar

Dugan came within minutes of having life spared

The ink was barely dry on the verdict form to sentence Brian Dugan to natural life when two jurors who resisted giving the convicted murder the death penalty wanted more time to deliberate.

The next day, after both jurors pored over more evidence to resolve lingering doubts, the DuPage County jury reached a unanimous decision that Dugan should die for the Feb. 25, 1983 murder of Jeanine Nicarico.

"No one was bullying anybody," said juror Michael Euringer, a 79-year-old Carol Stream retired broker. "They weren't holdouts. They were just searching. I think in their heads they were undecided. They weren't real firm on the 'no' position."

The verdict was reached Wednesday after nearly 11 hours of deliberations over two days.

By noon Thursday, Dugan was transported to a state prison. He had spent nearly four years in the DuPage County jail after being indicted for the 10-year-old Naperville girl's abduction, rape and murder.

Dugan, 53, won't formally be placed on Illinois' death row at Pontiac Correctional Center until after a perfunctory Dec. 16 court hearing in which Circuit Judge George Bakalis imposes the jury's verdict.

Dugan has been serving life prison terms since 1985 for two other murders - nurse Donna Schnorr of Geneva and 7-year-old Missy Ackerman of Somonauk.

But Dugan came within minutes of getting a third life sentence.

Some panelists who spoke to the Daily Herald said they signed the "life" verdict form late Tuesday because they lacked a unanimous death decision. They said the two jurors who were in the minority pulled it back after realizing it was too premature.

By that time, Bakalis had announced in the courtroom that the jury signaled it had a verdict. There was about a 30-minute delay to allow the Nicarico family to return to court. They did. Still, at least 15 more minutes went by. Finally, Bakalis returned to the bench and informed a packed gallery of stunned families and reporters that the jury would continue its deliberations in the morning.

Members were sequestered overnight at a Lisle hotel.

The two jurors who initially resisted a death verdict were a 50-year-old Naperville computer programmer and a 50-year-old Darien Walmart supervisor who told lawyers during the selection process that she believes in the concept of mercy and that people can change for the better.

She did not return calls for comment, but the Naperville man told the Daily Herald that he kept an open mind and declined to sign a death verdict until a further review of the evidence to resolve lingering questions. The juror, who asked not to be named publicly, said deliberations did not grow too heated; no one was pressured.

But, he said, "there was nothing about this process that was easy."

Others agreed.

"I think it's just the most difficult decision," juror Jill Russell of Naperville said. "I think that's what they were grappling with those few moments waiting. It just hit them, 'We have to go a little further.'"

The fact Dugan came, perhaps, within minutes of having his life spared chilled victims.

"I don't see how anyone, who paid attention to the facts presented at the sentencing trial, could vote any other way than for the death penalty," said Karen Schweitzer, who is Donna Schnorr's older sister. "It was the correct verdict. I like knowing that death row isn't going to be quite the resort he's been accustomed to and now he'll have fewer privileges."

Added DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett: "There's one verdict in this case and that verdict was that he receive a death sentence. That's the bottom line."

heidi salazar

Brian Dugan: Brain Scan Used In Murder Trial In Courtroom FIRST

For what may be the first time, fMRI scans of brain activity have been used as evidence in the sentencing phase of a murder trial. Defense lawyers for an Illinois man convicted of raping and killing a 10-year-old girl used the scans to argue that their client should be spared the death penalty because he has a brain disorder.

The defendant, Brian Dugan, pleaded guilty in July to killing Jeanine Nicarico after kidnapping her from her home in 1983. (Prior to that, the Nicarico case had taken more turns than a hangman's knot, detailed in a 1998 book Victims of Justice). Dugan was already serving life sentences for two other murders, but prosecutors sought the death penalty for Nicarico's murder.

"Nobody thought we had any chance at all going in," says Steve Greenberg, the lead attorney for the defense. But the defense tried an unusual strategy: They argued that Dugan was born with a mental illness--psychopathy--that should be considered a mitigating factor because it impaired his ability to control his behavior. Dugan exhibits the antisocial behavior, inpulsivity, lack of remorse, and other characteristics of psychopathy in spades, says Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the Mind Research Network, who served as an expert witness for the defense. Dugan scored 37 out of 40 points on the standard diagnostic checklist for psychopathy, putting him in the 99.5th percentile, Kiehl says.

Kiehl conducts research on psychopathy in New Mexico state prisons in which he and colleagues collect life histories, anatomical brain scans, and fMRI scans of brain activity as inmates perform various tasks, including tests of moral reasoning. Using scanners at Northwestern University, Kiehl ran Dugan through a similar battery of tests. Kiehl testified that Dugan exhibited abnormalities similar to those he and others have reported in other psychopaths. Kiehl says he was careful not to stretch beyond what the data show. He didn't claim, for example, that the brain scans prove that Dugan committed his crimes as a result of a brain abnormality. "It's just one piece of evidence that his brain is different," he says.

Jonathan Brodie, a psychiatrist at New York University testified for the prosecution. "I said the scans are of wonderful technical quality, but so what? They're not relevant here," Brodie says. "Using an fMRI scan done in September of 2009 ... to indicate a thought process that was going on in 1983 could hardly be more silly."

After 5 hours of deliberation the jury told the judge on 10 November that they'd come to a decision. But before the sentence could be read, the jury asked for more time and the judge sequestered them overnight. The next day they returned with a death sentence for Dugan. According to media reports and interviews with defense attorneys afterwards, the jury initially planned to sentence Dugan to life in prison, with at least one juror holding out against the death penalty, which requires a unanimous vote. The last minute change is highly irregular, says Greenberg, who is planning an appeal.

Although evidence of anatomical abnormalities in the brain has been introduced previously in the sentencing phase of murder cases, and PET scans have been used to show abnormalities in brain metabolism consistent with mental illness, the Dugan case may be a first for fMRI. "I don't know of any other cases where fMRI was used in that context," says Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford Law School and co-director of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project. Greely notes that the standards for admitting evidence in sentencing hearings are less stringent than those for evidence used to establish a defendant's innocence or guilt. "The penalty phase of a capital case ... is a special situation where the law bends over backwards to allow the convicted man to introduce just about any mitigating evidence."

It's hard to know what effect the fMRI scans in particular had on the jury in the Dugan case, but Greenberg says the fact that they deliberated for a total of more than 10 hours shows that it was influential. "This guy was guilty of raping and killing little girls," Greenberg says. "Without the brain imaging stuff the jury would have been back in an hour."

heidi salazar

Judge formally imposes death penalty on Dugan

A judge imposed the death sentence on Brian Dugan today for kidnapping, raping and killing 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, and set the execution date for Feb. 25.

"The wheels of justice were often derailed for Jeanine," said Judge George Bakalis this morning in accepting a jury's sentence of death, then setting the execution date. The death penalty is subject to automatic appeal in Illinois.
In fact, the hearing was nearly derailed this morning as defense lawyers argued that Bakalis should instead accept the jury's first signed verdict for a life sentence in prison. They then filed an immediate appeal with the appellate court, arguing they should be able to have their motion heard before Bakalis officially sentenced Dugan.

Dugan pleaded guilty in July to the 1983 kidnap, rape and murder. The jury considering his sentence agreed shortly before 10 p.m. Nov. 10 to a life sentence because two jurors were unconvinced he deserved death, which requires a unanimous verdict.

But before the signed verdict form could be delivered to Bakalis, those jurors - a single mother from Darien and a married father from Naperville -- had second thoughts and asked for an opportunity to continue deliberations.

The next afternoon, the jury returned with a unanimous vote for death. Bakalis formally imposed that sentence today.

Defense attorney Steven Greenberg argued that because jurors actually signing off on a life verdict first, lawyers should be allowed an immediate appeal before Bakalis confirmed the death sentence.

Bakalis disagreed, telling Greenberg he was proceeding with the hearing even after Greenberg showed him proof that the appeal had been filed.

During earlier arguments, Greenberg said, "we should have been told about the life verdict," but Bakalis said when the jury said it was not ready to release its decision, "I had no choice but to let them continue to deliberate."

State's Attorney Joseph Birkett said the defense was "grasping at straws," and alleged that the defense originally thought the first verdict was for death and didn't want to hear about it.

Defense attorney Allan Sincox said, "Brian Dugan is simply entitled to a life sentence," and that the idea that "a man's life depends on how fast a jury gets called out," is "simply not acceptable in a death penalty case."

Dugan was in the courtroom in shackles, although his handcuffs were removed. He has grown a beard since last month's sentencing hearing.

ScoopD (aka: Pam)

As 1st date, judge had selected Thursday, the 27th anniversary of the day Jeanine Nicarico was kidnapped, killed

In November, a DuPage County judge set Thursday for the execution of Brian Dugan for the 1983 rape and murder of Jeanine Nicarico.

But the day will come and go with Dugan's life intact.

Judge George Bakalis selected Feb. 25 because it is the 27th anniversary of the date that 10-year-old Jeanine was kidnapped from her Naperville home and killed by Dugan.

While state law mandated that Bakalis set a date, it also automatically stayed the sentence from being carried out until all possible appeals are concluded. Plus, there has been a moratorium on executions in Illinois since 2000.

Dugan, 54, was sentenced to death by lethal injection after a six-week sentencing hearing. He lives along with 15 other inmates on Illinois' death row in the Pontiac Correctional Center. He has been in prison since 1985, serving two life sentences for two other murders.

Illinois law dictates that people sentenced to death in Illinois automatically have their cases appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Illinois attorney general's office will represent the state and argue that Dugan received a fair trial and should be executed. The 2nd District Illinois appellate defender's office has been appointed to represent Dugan. The written appeals are expected to be filed later this year. It can take up to a decade or longer for a defendant on death row to have all of his appeals heard and ruled upon.

"I would love to be involved in the retrial," said Steven Greenberg, one of Dugan's five attorneys during the sentencing hearing. "This case has a lot of issues to deal with, starting with the exclusion of some evidence and ending with how the verdict was returned.

"You can tell where the judge's thoughts were on this case by the selection of the date that he chose for the first execution date."

On Wednesday, DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett reflected on the case and sought to bolster his long-standing claim that the mistakes of past prosecutors and police in the almost 3-decade-old Nicarico saga were righted under his regime.

He said the three men originally charged in 1984 with the crime never should have been charged or tried.

"Anybody who looks at what the evidence was then and what it is now would have to say these guys are innocent," said Birkett, referring to Rolando Cruz, Alejandro Hernandez and Stephen Buckley, who eventually were cleared.

And he said he believes he has wrongly paid a political price because of his perceived role in the case. Were it not for his association with the case, Birkett said, "Right now I'd be the attorney general or the governor."

Illinois hasn't executed anyone since 1999. After placing a moratorium on executions in 2000, then-Gov. George Ryan commuted the sentence of more than 160 inmates on the state's death row in 2002.


<br /><br />If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine<br /><br />My reason for supporting capital punishment: My cousin 16 yr. old Amanda Greenwell was murdered in March of 2004 at the hands of serial killer Jeremy Bryan Jones.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slain Jeanine Nicarico's father: Death penalty move a 'cop out'


Staff Reporters

Jan 12, 2011 12:55PM

Brian Dugan earned the death sentence he faces for raping and murdering 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in 1983, the Naperville girl's father said Tuesday.

That's why Thomas Nicarico thinks the move by Illinois legislators to repeal the death penalty -- which would spare Dugan's life if it's signed into law -- is "the wrong thing to do."

"He's earned capital punishment," Nicarico said of the 54-year-old Dugan, who was sentenced to death in 2009. "He's earned the most severe punishment the state can give -- and now the state is taking it away."

Dugan was sentenced to die by a DuPage County jury for Jeanine's murder, though he also was convicted of two other brutal killings.

Nicarico called the decision by legislators to abolish the death penalty "a cop-out."

"I think it's a mistake. I think it's a cop-out," Nicarico said after learning Tuesday that state senators had voted to repeal the death penalty, a move already approved by state representatives.

The death penalty should remain intact as a deterrent and as a possible punishment for the very worst offenders, he said.

"It serves a purpose. It should be on the books," said Nicarico.

Dugan's conviction was part of a tangled legal saga that saw two other men -- Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez -- get convicted and sentenced to death before ultimately being exonerated. The case was one of the many that led then-Gov. George Ryan to put a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000.

Read more :

Photo : The victim Jeanine Nicarico :'(








March 13, 2011, 01:05:59 PM Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 01:07:34 PM by AnneTheBelgian

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dugan will drop appeal of Nicarico sentence

By Matt Hanley

Mar 13, 2011 03:18AM

Brian Dugan will drop his appeal in the Jeanine Nicarico murder case now that his sentence has been commuted from death to life in prison.

Attorney Steven Greenberg said Saturday that Dugan saw no point in continuing to appeal because he is already serving life sentences for two other murders.

"He said he didn't want to put other people through the process," Greenberg said. "He didn't want to put the Nicaricos through wondering if they would have to come to court again."

In July 2009, Dugan pleaded guilty to fatally bludgeoning Jeanine on Feb. 25, 1983, after abducting her from her family's Naperville home on a day she stayed home sick from school. A jury later sentenced him to death.

This came years after two other men were convicted of Nicarico's murder, then later cleared. These wrongful convictions became a significant part of the argument in whether to repeal the death penalty.

Dugan already was serving life prison terms for the 1984 murder of Donna Schnorr of Geneva and the 1985 slaying of 7-year-old Melissa Ackerman of Somonauk.

After Gov. Pat Quinn repealed the death penalty last week and commuted all death sentences to life in prison, Dugan contacted his attorney.

"I think it's relief," Greenberg said of Dugan's emotion. "There was a chance he'd eventually be put to death."

Since the sentence was handed down, Greenberg has believed there was a good chance that the jury's decision would have been overturned on appeal. But it would have been a waste of time and emotional energy to continue pointless appeals, Greenberg said.

"He knows he's where he belongs and where he deserves to be," he said.

Governor Quinn, I have a question : What do you think about this rubbish >:(  >:( ? He deserved to be executed isn't it  >:( >:( ?

Photo : The murderer Brian Dugan >:(








I guess now, instead of being executed (which should have happened a long time ago) he will take up basket weaving in general pop. Mad mad mad
Bombs do not choose. They will hit everything   ... Nikita Khrushchev

I once said, "We will bury you," and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.  ... Nikita Khrushchev

Granny B

I guess now, instead of being executed (which should have happened a long time ago) he will take up basket weaving in general pop. Mad mad mad

Since he has a NEED TO KILL, maybe he will start killing other prisoners.  Then what, serial murderer killing other prisoners in prison, no other punishment than life in prison.  Sounds good to murderers, I guess.  Wonder how that will sound to the Governor who abolished the death sentence and how well that will play in the press for him and with the anti abolitionists?

Sound bite:  Governor Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in Illinois taking Brian Dugan off death row for the 2nd time in his long career of serial rape and murder of little girls and women.  Since getting off death row and being allowed in general population, Dugan has turned his attention to serial rape and murder of men in prison who are of slight build and with feminine characteristics. 

Since the death penalty is now abolished in Illinois, Dugan will only receive another life sentence.  The family of his latest victim is outraged at this, but has no recourse other than a lifetime of anger towards Governor Pat Quinn, who made this latest murder possible, and the state of Illinois, who failed to protect their incarcerated loved one from this vicious killer.

>:( >:( >:( >:(
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

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