Convicted Murderer Of Seven Awarded Nearly $500K In Civil Rights Case
March 10, 2014 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
SEATTLE, March 10 (UPI) — James Degorski, a man convicted of murdering seven people, has been awarded $451,000 in a civil lawsuit against a Cook County Guard.
In 1993, Degorski and accomplice Juan Luna murdered seven restaurant workers at Brownâ€™s Chicken and Pasta in suburban Chicago during a botched robbery attempt, leaving their bodies in the freezer.
The crime went unsolved for nearly a decade, until 2002 when Degorski was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.
According to his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, Degorski was beaten in an unprovoked attack by guard Thomas Wilson shortly after arriving at Cook County prison in 2002. Degorski suffered fractures to his cheek and eye socket that required metal plates to be surgically inserted in his face. Wilson maintains he was acting in self-defense.
Jury members in the civil suit who awarded Degorski $451K were told he is a convicted murderer but not told the details of his crime.
Family members of Degorskiâ€™s victims expressed their outrage. Bonjean expressed sympathy for the families but said the case is not about Degorskiâ€™s past crimes; it is about his constitutional rights as a prisoner.
â€śI understand why [the victimsâ€™ families] are upset, but at the end of the day [Degorski] is being punished for the crime he was convicted of,â€ť she said. â€śIf we accept that there is a sliding scale on whose constitutional rights should be protected and whose should not, we are going down a scary path.â€ť