Ten-year-old Jeanine Nicarico was raped and fatally beaten after being abducted from her home near Naperville while out sick from school on Feb. 25, 1983.
Dugan is expected to stand before a DuPage County judge next week and plead guilty to killing the 10-year-old Naperville girl, despite the fact that prosecutors have not met his demand that he be assured the death penalty will not apply to him.
"The 52-year-old former Aurora man long ago offered to admit to the crime, for which two other men spent years on death row before being exonerated, but only if prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table," The Daily Herald reports, but now Dugan has changed his mind.
Now, he is, apparently, "eager to accept responsibility for the crime," and has even asked to meet with Jeanine's parents, Tom and Pat Nicarico, to apologize and answer any questions they might have.
It's a dramatic reversal for a man twice convicted of murder and sex attacks on young women and currently serving two life terms for killings of Geneva nurse Donna Schnorr and 7-year-old Melissa Ackerman of Somonauk. It appeared, previously, that Dugan was willing to go to the grave without owning up to what prosecutors are convinced is his guilt in the Nicarico death.
Without an agreement to spare his life, the con had nothing to lose by keeping his mouth shut. But, the Herald's source says, "He's wanted to accept responsibility for a long time."
But for his part, DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett, whose office will prosecute Dugan in this case, intends to act responsibly by pursuing the death penalty for Dugan -- something Jeanine's parents would like to see happen.
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