Will Dugan's Past Crimes Haunt Him? Prosecution Wants to Use Man's Violent History to Secure Guilty Verdict in Nicarico Case
Gutowski, Christy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Christy Gutowski Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
Nine years before Jeanine Nicarico's murder, another 10-year-old girl walking alone in a neighboring town nearly suffered a similar fate.
The girl, Barbara, escaped after a scruffy-haired stranger who asked for directions to the Lisle train station tried to abduct her.
Barbara lived after that April 21, 1974, to tell her story; others did not. It was the first time, Brian J. Dugan said, he forced himself on a young female. But it wasn't the last.
Prosecutors hope the convicted killer's violent past will help seal his fate as he faces trial for the Feb. 25, 1983, abduction, rape and murder of Jeanine near Naperville.
Dugan, 51, has been serving life prison terms since 1985 for two later sex slayings, as well as three more attacks in which the young women survived.
Two years ago, DuPage County prosecutors indicted Dugan in Jeanine's murder, citing, in part, improved DNA evidence. They are seeking the death penalty.
State's Attorney Joseph Birkett asked a judge Friday to allow him to use up to eight of Dugan's past sex crimes as evidence in the high-profile murder case. The defense team, though, argues it's too prejudicial.
"The issue is - did Brian Dugan kill Jeanine Nicarico?" defense attorney Steven Greenberg argued. "If this other stuff comes in, what jury isn't going to say, 'It's over. He's guilty.'"
The law allows prosecutors to use a defendant's past sex offenses, to a limit, during a pending trial to show propensity, motive or a similar pattern of such violence. …