Death for Dugan Wasn't Original Verdict

Brian Dugan's attorneys trying to preserve original document for appeal

By BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 PM CDT
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Brian Dugan was given a death sentence last month for the 1983 murder of a 10-year-old girl, but that wasn't the jury's first verdict.  Now his defense team is trying to preserve the original document for his appeal.

There was some confusion when the jury last month announced they'd reached a verdict and then withdrew the announcement, saying they needed more time to deliberate.

Defense attorneys on Wednesday asked DuPage County Judge George Bakalis to save the original form, even though the verdict was never delivered in court.

"It's going to be a huge issue," attorney Steve Greenberg told the Chicago Sun-Times, contending the jury's apparent change of heart is "unprecedented" in a death case.

DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett said the change of heart is "of no legal significance."   He said each jury member was polled in court and confirmed that the death sentence was their unanimous decision, the Daily Herald reported.

"Jurors can continue to deliberate, even if they indicate they have a verdict," he said.

Dugan fatally bludgeoned Jeanine Nicarico on Feb. 25, 1983, after abducting her from her family's Naperville home on a day she stayed home sick from school.

When he pleaded guilty last July, Dugan already was serving life sentences for the 1984 murder of Donna Schnorr of Geneva and the 1985 slaying of 7-year-old Melissa Ackerman of Somonauk.

He's scheduled to be formally sentenced to death on Dec. 16.

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