Convicted mass murderer James Degorski should find out this week if he’ll live out the rest of his days in a jail cell or die at the hands of the state.
The judge in Degorski’s death penalty trial told jurors that testimony would end Monday and closing arguments would begin on Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Defense attorneys have spent the past six days trying to convince the jury that Degorski is a troubled man from a troubled past who deserves mercy.
Degorski’s lawyers paraded all sorts of sympathetic character witnesses including half a dozen psychologists, an ex-girlfriend, former employees, prison guards and even his first grade teacher in an attempt to humanize the killer.
The strategy, the Tribune reports, could be backfiring, as jurors seem to be getting restless and frustrated with the string of witnesses.
Last Friday jurors sent a note to the judge asking when the evidence portion of the trial would close.
The note should give defense attorneys pause, veteran criminal defense attorney Stephen L. Richards, who is not involved in the case, told the Tribune.
He said one interpretation of the note passing is that the jurors made a deal last month to convict Degorski but agreed not to put him to death. "The other interpretation,” Richards told the Tribune, “is they made up their minds, they want to kill and they don't want to hear any more from the defense," Richards said. "If I were a betting man, I'd bet on No. 2. But it could easily be No. 1."