Death Penalty a Possibilty for Degorski

September 30, 2009

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James Degorski (AP/File)
The second man convicted in a brutal 1993 murder at suburban Chicago Brown's Chicken could be put to death. The same jury that found James Degorski guilty of killing seven people at the  Palatine restaurant has decided he's eligible for the death penalty.

This part of the trial occurs in two phases. In the first phase, the six man six woman jury must unanimously decide if Degorski  is eligible for the death penalty. To reach that conclusion, Degorski's crime must satisfy at least one of 20 aggravating factors. Those  include premeditation and murder committed during the course of another felony. Prosecutors have the job of providing such evidence.

A final sentencing phase would take place if Degorski is found eligible for the death penalty. His defense give reasons why their client shouldn't be put to death. The prosecution could also call victim's family members. It only takes one juror to vote against death during this phase of the trial, and if that occurs, Degorski gets a life sentence.