Brian Dugan, right, pleaded guilty in July to killing 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in Naperville, Ill., in February 1983.
Brian Dugan received the death penalty for the 1983 rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. His life could be spared if Gov. Quinn signs into law a measure to abolish the death penalty in Illinois.
Today, Thomas Nicarico, father of the slain 10-year-old, is calling the move to repeal the death penalty "a cop out," the Chicago Sun Times reports. Nicarico said the 54-year-old Dugan "earned the most severe punishment the state can give - and now the state is taking it away."
In 2009, a Dupage County jury sentenced Dugan to death for the brutal 1983 crime, but a moratorium on the death penalty enacted by former Governor George Ryan and upheld by Governor Quinn, has kept the state from carrying out executions. Now Governor Quinn is weighing a measure that would repeal the death penalty, which has already passed both the Illinois house and Senate.
The Dugan case is analagous to the controversy over the death penalty. Two other men were initially convicted in the murder and rape of Jeanine Nicarico before being acquitted. Dugan admitted to the murder while serving time for raping and killing another girl and woman. He ultimately pleaded guilty to the Nicarico murder in 2009.
The debate over capital punishment continues across the country, with 15 states and the District of Columbia already taking capital punishment off the books. Since 1987, Illinois has removed 20 wrongly condemned people from death row. Stil, some argue that the death penalty must be reserved as a deterrent to heinous crimes like the murder of Jeanine Nicarico. Now, the debate over the death penalty in Illinois is a decision for the state's newly sworn Governor.