Juror Released in Degorski Trial

Psychologist says James Degorski's family was one of the most dysfunctional he'd ever seen

By BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009  |  Updated 3:30 PM CDT
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Juror Released in Degorski Trial

NBC Chicago

James Degorski

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One juror in the Brown's Chicken murder trial was released Wednesday after he told the judge that his wife had come down with flu-like symptoms and no one was available to care for his children.

The unnamed juror was replaced by an alternate.

As the sentencing portion of the trial continued, a clinical psychologist said James Degorski, convicted of killing seven people at the Palatine restaurant 16 years ago, grew up in a violent, sexually abusive home.

Jurors are hearing testimony to decide whether Degorski should be executed.

Dr. Robert Shapiro said the Degorski family was one of the most dysfunctional he'd ever seen. He testified Degorski's quick tempered father abused his depressed mother in front of their children, sometimes dragging her off to a bedroom.

"People around him were afraid of him. He made people uncomfortable," Shapiro said, according to the Daily Herald.

Shapiro said he started counseling the father and mother in the 1980s, and got to know their children.

Degorski was found guilty last month in the January 1993 slayings of two owners and five employees of Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine. Juan Luna was convicted of the crime in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

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