Dramatic testimony in Brown's Chicken murder trial
September 8, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A Palatine police commander told a jury Tuesday what James Degorski said as he was questioned about the 1993 Brown's Chicken murders. He testified that Degorski talked specifically about the seven victims and what happened.
Some of the specifics can be so difficult for the relatives of the victims. Every day of this trial they have sat through it, and they also sat through Juan Luna's trial that lasted several weeks. Some of the testimony is very graphic and violent about their loved ones. Tuesday was one of those days.
Juan Maldonado testified. His father Guadelupe Maldonado was among the seven victims in the Brown's murder case. Maldonado testified that he saw his dad before school the day he was murdered, saying, "He just gave us a kiss, said I love you, and said see you next time."
The next time Juan saw his father was at his father's funeral five days later.
Tuesday was the fifth day of the trial against James Degorski. He is accused of murdering five employees and two owners of the Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine in 1993.
The former chief medical examiner for Cook County testified in great detail about four of the victims' injuries. Dr. Edwin Donoghue testified that Guadelupe Maldonado was shot three times, twice in the head and once in the palm of his hand.
Dr. Donoghue testified that the wound to Maldonado's hand could be a defensive would -- when a victim tries to shield himself from harm.
The most dramatic testimony of the day came from a Palatine police commander. William King testified about questioning James Degorski for several hours on May 16, 2002, and into the next day.
King testified, "He said he was sorry for what happened" and went into detail about where and how he and Juan Luna committed the robbery and shot the victims.
In 2007, Juan Luna was convicted for the murders and is serving a life sentence.
Luna and Degorski were high school friends back in 1993.
Commander King testified that Degorski described the victims as nice people. Commander King testified that he pressed Degorski on that point, asking, "If they were nice people, why did you kill them?" He said that they wanted to do "something big."
Jurors were shown graphic pictures of some of the victims after they are been shot and after rigor mortis had set in.
The attorneys, as well as the victims' relatives, are all under a gag order, so they cannot talk to reporters during the trial.
Several more days of testimony is expected, including testimony from Ann Lockett, the former girlfriend of James Degorski who he allegedly confided in.
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