A signed form indicating a DuPage County jury originally had decided on a life sentence for Brian Dugan could be the basis for arguments in the mandatory appeal of the death sentence Dugan received after jurors continued deliberations the next day, his lawyers said today.
When the 12 jurors signed the life sentence verdict form shortly before 10 p.m. Nov. 10, most found it an act of defeat. Two jurors -- a single mother from Darien and a married father from Naperville -- had argued against death, and the other 10 had given up hope of swaying them.
Under Illinois law, the jury must reach a unanimous decision to impose the death penalty. But as jurors waited for lawyers and family members to return to the courtroom for the decision, one of the holdouts began questioning her resolve.
Did Dugan really deserve to live after murdering 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico?
"I felt sick," juror Sue Grbic, of Darien, said. "I knew I wasn't ready to make a decision yet."
Grbic broke her silence today to defend the jury's verdict and reiterate her continued support for the death penalty in this case. Today marked the first time that the situation was discussed in detail in court, after defense attorney Steven Greenberg filed a motion seeking clarification of the jury's actions.
A hearing is set for Dec. 16 for Judge George Bakalis to officially sentence Dugan to death, although Greenberg reminded the judge Wednesday that he didn't have to follow the jury's recommendation.
I suspect Brian Dugan's appeal will not bring any closure to the Nicarico family. I'm sure they are shocked and hurt to learn that the jury originally decided on a life sentence for Dugan.