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Dugan pleads guilty to Nicarico's murder

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On Tuesday, Brian Dugan pleaded guilty to the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville in 1983. Dugan would have pleaded guilty years ago except that he wanted to avoid the death penalty, which State's Attorney Joe Birkett insisted on seeking. With this guilty plea, Dugan requested a jury to determine if he should face the death penalty or life in prison, which he is already serving for two other murders.

A life sentence on top of existing life sentences wouldn't really add punishment for Dugan, but Illinois has suspended the death penalty and may never reinstate it. So was it worth it for Birkett to hold out this long seeking a punishment that may never be administered? Do you think Dugan deserves a death sentence?

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Many are such hypocrites: You are against the death penalty (or demand a bar so high it is the same as being against it), yet you have no qualms about, say, releasing the perp into the genpop to be killed.

Have the guts to participate yourself by having an enforcible death penalty!

I read Tim Wests article in yesterdays Sun. I was not aware that this was apparently a burglary that went wrong? I have always assumed that the crime was planned directly against Jeanine where robbery was not the motive. Dugan had done this to two others already - were the other crimes considered robberies gone wrong as well? In the article Dugan is described as a "burglar who also happens to be a serial killer".

I think that we will get 100% agreement that an innocent person should not be convicted and ultimately executed for murder. But for those who have followed this case I would bet that there is near 100% agreement that Dugan deserves the death penalty? I know I do.

link to the article: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/1689336,random-violence-west_NA072909.article


Jim Ryan was the States Attorney at the time and I do not believe Joe Birkett's involvement was not until later years (one of the re-trials).

It always seemed back then that the authorities were hurried to get someone for this horrible and shocking crime. I remember it well and it has been a major news story every year to the present. I was in high school at Central and knew the the two sisters (also went to the same college). A good friend of mine lived in the house across the street and he went to the original trial back then.

Dugan was known well back then and he fit the profile of this crime. The case should have never gone on like this. I do not blame the parents for eventually moving out of Illinois, probably to get away from the area and the news media because it has been too painful for them.

Don't forget how jim ryan, who was up for election and pandering for votes, started the whole thing by grabbing the wrong people and totally fabricating the case against them.

Jeanine was abducted from her home in unincorporated Naperville (less than 1 mile west of Naperville Central High School) and was found along the Prairie Path near Eola and Aurora (not sure if this area was unincorporated).

Putting somebody behind bars for a Life Sentence is FAR less costly to the taxpayers than imposing the Death Penalty, with all the legal maneuvering and special accommodations that go along with a Death Sentence.

I agree with Ken.

The only crime left unpunished is the crime that Birkett, along with the DuPage Seven, have perpetrated on the citizens of Dupage County and the Nicarico family by prolonging this case to further his political career.



Of course our system of justice is only supposed to convict those whose guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In theory, this standard should serve to ensure that only the truly guilty are punished. In practice, of course, our system is far from perfect, and innocent people are sometimes convicted of crimes they did not commit. When these miscarriages of justice are uncovered, we can do something to rectify the situation for a person who's in prison by, at least, setting him free, but we can't do anything for the person who has been executed.

This is why we need some higher threshold when it comes to death penalty cases. I agree that Mr. Dugan's guilt seems beyond question here, but how do we write the rules so that only people like him get the ultimate penalty? For example what is the difference between a gang-banger who's killed more than one person, and a serial killer? "I know it when I see it" served, for a time, as an imperfect legal standard for defining obscenity, but I think we need something stronger than that when a person's life is at stake, and I'm not sure that the appropriate legalese exists to define exactly when that standard has been met.



At first glance, I agree with you. However, after thinking a bit I came to realize that nobody should be in prison, let alone death row, if there were any doubt. I’m not sure if your standard of “really beyond doubt” means to go further than beyond a reasonable doubt.

I support the death penalty, but think it should be used very judiciously. Should the thugs and gang-bangers be routinely sentenced to death for knocking each other off? No. But the serial killers, child rapist-murderers, and cop killers should be.

In this case, we have a brutally vicious crime and a plea of guilty—a confession. I think that would meet your burden of “really beyond doubt”. For the others, I would support something such as the requirement for physical evidence (such as DNA) and not just an eye-witness account to support a death sentence.

As for the moratorium, it’s only a matter of time before it gets lifted and this could be the case with enough outrage to bring it down.


In all fairness, the Naperville Police did not have jurisdiction in the Nicarico case. It happened in the unincorporated area between Naperville and Warrenville. The sheriff's department conducted the investigation with the state's attorney office.

This man truly is evil. It is so hard to see anymore resources wasted on him. Yes another life sentence means we feed and shelter him for an unknown amount of time. However, with a death sentence, he automatically gets a tax-payer paid for appeal. Maybe the best thatcan be hoped for is some "Prison Justice".

I don't believe in the death penalty. I do, however, believe in justice. In this case, justice means transferring child rapist and killer Brian Dugan to Stateville Prison and releasing him into general population. The guards will find something else to do. And nature will take its course. Meaning Mr. Dugan will finally become the steel-cut oatmeal he so richly deserves.

Using taxpayer dollars to bring justice is much more reasonable, in my opinion, than using taxpayer dollars to prolong what should be the inevitable.

Dugan has had 26 years more than Jeanine Nicarico. That's 26 years more than he deserves. He's been living on borrowed time. I say it's time to cancel that gravy train.

LIGHT ~EM UP....Use the tax money to keep this guy alive, housed, well fed and in good health toa better use. There are plenty of people that could certainly use those dollars ear-marked for this characters upkeep.

I'm serious! Can anyone tell me why they are even having this trial? Dugan is already in prison for the rest of his life and even if somebody in Illinois revokes the moratorium he will simply get out of Hell on earth sooner. Were all going this route as far as I can tell, we are mortal. I say let him suffer. The Sun reported that this whole soap opera was going to cost the taxpayers millions in legal fees. Hmmm, maybe I just discovered the answer.

To C.C.,
If that's the case, then maybe what it will take is for Illinois residents to FLOOD the Governor's office and State's Attorney's office with email and regular mail requesting active reinstatement of executions starting with a proposed Death Penalty sentence for Brian Dugan.
That would definitely be worth the time and effort to finally bring justice and closure for the family, their friends, and Illinois taxpayers.

It's just semantics. There's a moratorium on executions in Illinois. Dugan is already serving two life sentences. Even if he were sentenced to death by a jury, without the state actually carrying out the sentence, nothing would change except that he'd then be on death row, which for him might be a room (cell) with a better view.

T.B. wrote:

I hope Gov Quinn realizes that two prior convictions and a confession to brutally raping and murdering a child provides the adequate safeguards society is looking for. Dugan is a prime example of why we have the death penalty. I don’t think it should be employed often, but there are cases for which it is truly needed.

The challenge, though, is devising a law that ensures that the death penalty is reserved for those who's guilt is really beyond doubt.

“Can anyone tell me what that means in a state that has abolished the death penalty?”

Yes. Illinois never abolished the death penalty. Then-Gov Ryan put a moratorium on executions and later cleared death row via commutations, but the death penalty has always remained on the books.

Blago kept the moratorium in place and tried to pass his version of death penalty reform. In 2003, Blago partially vetoed a bill to reform the death penalty, but his veto was overridden by the legislature in Nov. 2003 and the reform bill became law.

Gov Quinn stated in Feb 2009 that he has no “immediate” plans to lift the moratorium citing the need for adequate safeguards.

I hope Gov Quinn realizes that two prior convictions and a confession to brutally raping and murdering a child provides the adequate safeguards society is looking for. Dugan is a prime example of why we have the death penalty. I don’t think it should be employed often, but there are cases for which it is truly needed.




I think what passes for law enforcement in Dupage county and Naperville did to the Nicarico family was a crime. The obvious conclusion to Birkett's failed grandstanding shows what an idiot he and others have been concerning this case. Dugan deserves a death sentence, but Birkett deserves a political death sentence for using a family's tragedy to further his political career.

Can anyone tell me the last time somone was executed in Illinois? I mean by the state of course.

That would be Andrew Kokoraleis on May 19, 1999 (link).

Anonymous, I don't have the answer to your question, but I would be interested to find out what it is.

I think if ever there was cause for the Death Penalty in Illinois, Dugan is it.

I have often wondered for about a decade now why is it whenever I see a video report on the news covering the latest murder the reporter often indicates that the prosecutor or states attorney is going to seek the death penalty against those charged with the murder. Can anyone tell me what that means in a state that has abolished the death penalty? Is it supposed to instill fear in anyone else who may be contemplating murder but thinks they may be subjected to a death penalty that has not really existed for longer than most people can remember? Can anyone tell me the last time somone was executed in Illinois? I mean by the state of course. I am not talking about last night in Chicago.

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