Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Monday, February 25, 2013


            On this date, 25 February 1983, a ten year old girl, Jeanine Nicarico was murdered in DuPage County, Illinois. I will post information from Wikipedia before giving the latest news and the comments and condolences.

Jeanine Nicarico
The Jeanine Nicarico murder case was a complex and influential homicide investigation and prosecution which took place in DuPage County, Illinois that sent two men to prison who were later exonerated and released, and contributed to the death penalty moratorium imposed by then-Governor George H. Ryan.

In July 2009, Brian Dugan pleaded guilty to the murder of Nicarico after having previously confessed to the crime. Dugan is jailed on two unrelated murder charges, one of a 27-year old woman and one which began with the abduction of two seven-year old girls, one of whom escaped and the other of whom was raped and murdered by Dugan. On November 11, 2009, after deliberating about 10 hours over two days, a DuPage County jury sentenced Brian Dugan to death for the rape and murder of Jeanine Nicarico 26 years earlier.

Abduction, rape and murder
Jeanine Nicarico was born July 7, 1972. She was kidnapped, raped, sodomized, and murdered on February 25, 1983 when her home was burglarized on a day in which she had stayed home from school due to illness. Her body was found two days later along Prairie Path near Eola Rd. Her mom, Pat, an elementary school secretary, spoke with her on the telephone in the early afternoon. Nicarico was kidnapped during the commission of a burglary at her home. Her dad was at work and her sisters were at school.

Prosecution of Cruz, Hernandez, and Buckley
Rolando Cruz, Alejandro Hernandez and Stephen Buckley were indicted in March 1984. A joint trial was held; in February 1985, Cruz and Hernandez were convicted, but the jury deadlocked on Buckley. The next month, both Cruz and Hernandez were sentenced to death.

In November 1985, Brian Dugan, who was already in jail and being tried for the murder of a seven-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman, confessed to the crime through his attorney. Dugan plea-bargained his charges to life imprisonment.

In 1987, the charges against Buckley were dismissed by a judge.

On January 19, 1988 the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the conviction of Cruz and Hernandez because the two did not have separate trials. Both were retried despite public pressure on the DuPage State's Attorney's office to pursue the Dugan confession. Cruz was convicted in his second trial in February 1990. The second trial of Hernandez ended in a hung jury in May 1990; after his third trial, Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison on May 17, 1991.

Meanwhile, Cruz had appealed. In December, 1992, his second conviction was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, but in May 1993 the court agreed to rehear the case, and on July 14, 1994 Cruz was ordered a third trial.

The Illinois Appellate Court overturned the second conviction of Hernandez on January 30, 1995.

During his third trial, a sheriff's lieutenant reversed his testimony, and Cruz was acquitted in November 1995. A state investigator was appointed to review the recanted testimony. In December 1995, charges against Hernandez were dismissed by the State's Attorney.

Seven DuPage County law enforcement officials, three prosecutors and four deputies, were indicted by a grand jury in December 1996 on charges of conspiracy to convict Cruz despite being aware of exculpatory evidence. After numerous proceedings, in June 1999 all seven had been acquitted for framing the men.

Cruz, Hernandez and Buckley reached a $3.5 million civil settlement with DuPage County for their wrongful prosecution on Sept. 26, 2000.

In 2002, Gov. George Ryan granted Cruz a pardon.

In November 2005, Dugan was indicted for the Nicarico murder. On July 22, 2009, Dugan plead guilty to the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Nicarico. On November 11, 2009, Dugan was sentenced to death. On December 16, 2009 the judge set the execution date for February 25, 2010. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison after the death penalty was abolished in Illinois.

Illinois jury sentences Brian Dugan to death
From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Saturday, November 14, 2009

A DuPage County, Illinois jury has sentenced Brian Dugan to death for the February 25, 1983, abduction, rape, and murder of ten-year-old Jeanine Nicarico from Naperville.

The jury has been empaneled for a six-week sentencing hearing to determine Dugan's eligibility for the death penalty. Closing arguments lasted for nearly six hours last Tuesday. The jury then deliberated for five hours until 10 pm, when the judge said that the jury had reached a verdict.

The jurors were then called into the courtroom, but in a surprising turn of events, the judge announced that the jury would like to continue deliberations. He sequestered them overnight, and deliberations continued Wednesday morning. The jury then announced that it had sentenced Dugan to death. He is now also suspected of committing four other murders.

Two men from Aurora, Alejandro Hernandez and Rolando Cruz, were first convicted of the crime on February 22, 1985. The jury deadlocked on Stephen Buckley, also from Aurora. On November 8 of that year, Dugan's lawyer revealed that his client, charged with the rape and murder of seven-year-old Melissa Ackerman of Somonauk, was also the lone murderer of Nicarico. Dugan was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Melissa Ackerman and Donna Schnorr, a twenty-seven-year-old woman from Geneva.

Charges against Buckley were subsequently dropped in March 5, 1987. On July 14, 1994, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned Cruz's conviction and ordered a new trial. Hernandez's conviction was later overturned as well. A judge acquitted Cruz of the crime on November 3, 1995, and charges against Hernandez were later dismissed.

Refinements in DNA testing allowed law enforcement officials to narrow down the list of suspects. In 2002, DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett stated that DNA certainly proved that Dugan was involved in the murder. He was charged in November 29, 2005, and pleaded guilty on July 18 of this year.

QUOTE 1: The parents and sisters of murdered 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico applauded a jury's decision sentencing convicted killer Brian Dugan to death in late 2009. Dugan abducted, raped and fatally bludgeoned the bubbly fifth-grader from Naperville in 1983, then went on to commit two more sex slayings as well as several other attacks.

“The news of the vote is more than disappointing,” parents Pat and Tom Nicarico wrote in a statement from their South Carolina home. “(It) feels like our almost twenty-eight year odyssey seeking justice for Jeanine's murder has been overturned.”

QUOTE 2: The Nicaricos are joining the McNamaras in calling on the Senate and Gov. Quinn not to follow the House's vote, saying it's not an act of prudence and caring, but rather cowardice, laziness and a disregard for justice.

“It is lazy because it eliminates the necessity to further evaluate the latest legal reforms and makes moot the need for further research into the matter; it's the easy way out of a burdensome predicament,” the Nicaricos wrote. “If the system is broken, fix it — don't destroy it.”

QUOTE 3: “It (capital punishment) serves a purpose. It should be on the books.”

QUOTE 4: Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill which abolished the death penalty in Illinois on Wednesday 9 March 2011: While some celebrated Quinn’s decision to abolish a punishment that for years exposed a system fraught with errors, it rattled others to the core.
Jeanine’s father, Thomas Nicarico, said he’s struggled with his personal tragedy for 28 years. Now, he envisions a party on death row. 

“They’re celebrating because even though they took lives, the governor gave them their lives back,” said Nicarico. “He (Dugan) has killed three girls. He has admitted it. DNA has proven it. How much more certain do you have to be?”

QUOTE 5: Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill which abolished the death penalty in Illinois on Wednesday 9 March 2011: Tom Nicarico thought his family's long, emotional wait for justice had finally ended in November 2009 when jurors condemned Brian Dugan to death for the rape and murder of his young daughter.

But Gov. Pat Quinn's decision Wednesday to ban the death penalty in Illinois and commute the sentences of Dugan and 14 other death row inmates to life without parole left Nicarico outraged.

"It's not just the murder of my daughter," he said by telephone from his home in South Carolina. "He murdered two other people's daughters and attacked others. This man earned it, and he's not the only one on death row who earned it."


New Location, Theme for 12th Annual Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund 5K

Event organizers have announced a new theme, time and location for this summer's 12th annual Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy 5K family run/walk.
Organizers for the Run for Reading 5K have announced some exciting new changes to this summer's event. 

A new "glow theme" is set for the 12th annual Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy 5K family run/walk. The event will be held during the evening of Saturday, June 1 kicking off at 8 p.m. at Fifth Avenue Station.

The memorial fund was created after the tragic death of Jeanine Nicarico, who was 10 years old when she was abducted from her home and murdered in 1983. The race has allowed her family to honor Jeanine in a positive way.

This special event for adults and children supports literacy programs in the Naperville community. All proceeds will go to the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy to acquire and distribute resources that provide enriched literacy opportunities for the learners within the Naperville Community.

Advance registration is strongly encouraged for this popular event at www.nicaricoliteracyfund.org or www.naperglow5k.com. At the end of the race, participants are invited to stay for the post-5K party including awards, refreshments and live music.

This Chip Timed, 5K USATF Certified (pending) Course Route takes participants on a scenic run through one of Naperville’s established neighborhoods. The race begins at 5th Avenue Station, winds down Plank Road, with a flat stretch, ending up back at the 5th Avenue Station building for a celebration tent with food, refreshments, live music and awards. Water and encouragement will be provided along the course.

Registration is available online at www.naperglow5k.com or www.nicaricoliteracyfund.org. The pre-registered general entry fee is $30 per person for adults and children; for pre-registered CARA members, the entry fee is $28. Race day registration entry fee is $35 per person for adults and children; for CARA members, the race day entry fee is $33.

All registered participants will receive an official G.L.O.W 5K Run for Reading technical running t-shirt, runner/walker number and a goodie bag full of treats and coupons. More information and complete event details are available by visiting the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy Website at www.naperglow5k.com or www.nicaricoliteracyfund.org.

Awards will be awarded to the top overall male and female runner and the top male and female runners in the following categories: 10 & Under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69. 70 & Over. And awards to the Best “GLOW” costume and Best “GLOWING” Team. Results will be posted on the fund’s website www.nicaricoliteracyfund.org.

Race Packet Pick-Up is available on Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday May, 29 at the Naperville Running Company, 34 W. Jefferson Ave. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or at Café Buonaro’s Atrium Friday, May 31 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the 5th Avenue Station. Registration and packet pick-up will also be available race day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the event tent in 5th Avenue Station parking lot.

Submitted by 12th Annual Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy G.L.O.W. 5K Run/Walk for Reading

            My heartfelt condolences to the Nicarico parents who lost their child and their justice were taken away when Brian Dugan’s death sentence was changed to life without parole. However, there are some comforts for them as I do encourage people to donate money to the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy and at the same time, I heard that the Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had become unpopular, hopefully he will be stepping down soon.
         I was glad that the 3 innocent men were taken off death row. However, I strongly denounced George Ryan’s plan to clear everybody off death row. Please see this information I got from Wikipedia:

Ryan helped to renew the national debate on capital punishment when, as governor, he declared a moratorium on his state's death penalty in 2000. "We have now freed more people than we have put to death under our system," he said. "There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied." At the time, Illinois had executed 12 people since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977, with one execution, that of Ripper Crew member Andrew Kokoraleis, occurring early during Ryan's term. Ryan refused to meet with religious leaders and others regarding "a stay of execution" in light of the impending 'moratorium' and other facts relative to the 'flawed' capital punishment system in Illinois; in fact, under Ryan's governorship, 13 people were released from jail after appealing their convictions based on new evidence. Ryan called for a commission to study the issue, while noting, "I still believe the death penalty is a proper response to heinous crimes... But I believe that it has to be where we don't put innocent people to death."

The issue had garnered the attention of the public when a death row inmate, Anthony Porter, who had spent 15 years on death row, was within two days of being executed when his lawyers won a stay on the grounds that he may have been mentally disabled. He was ultimately exonerated with the help of a group of student journalists at Northwestern University who had uncovered evidence that was used to prove his innocence. In 1999, Porter was released, charges were subsequently dropped, and another person, Alstory Simon, confessed and pleaded guilty to the crime of which Porter had been erroneously convicted.

Ultimately, on January 11, 2003, just two days before leaving office, Ryan commuted (to "life" terms) the sentences of everyone on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' death row—a total of 167 convicts—due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly. He also pardoned four inmates, Aaron Patterson, Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange (who were released), and Stanley Howard. However, Patterson is currently serving 30 years in prison after being arrested for drug trafficking he committed after his release from death row. Howard remains in prison for armed robbery. Ryan declared in his pardon speech that he would’ve freed Howard if only his attorney had filed a clemency petition; Ryan then strongly urged investigators to examine Howard's alleged robbery case, because it appeared to be as tainted as his murder conviction.

These were four of ten death row inmates known as the "Death Row 10," due to widely reported claims that the confessions that they had given in their respective cases had been coerced through police torture. Ryan is not the first state governor to have granted blanket commutations to death row inmates during his final days in office. Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller also commuted the sentence of every death row inmate in that state as he left office after losing his 1970 bid for a third two-year term, as did New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya before he left office in 1986 and Ohio Governor Dick Celeste before he left office in 1990.

Ryan won praise from death penalty opponents: as early as 2001 he received the Mario Cuomo Act of Courage Award from Death Penalty Focus, in 2003 the Rose Elizabeth Bird Commitment to Justice Award from the same organization, and in 2005 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Many conservatives, though, were opposed to the commutations, some questioning his motives, which came as a federal corruption investigation closed in on the governor and his closest political allies (see below). Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan called Ryan "pathetic", and suggested that the governor was attempting to save his public image in hopes of avoiding prison himself. Buchanan noted "Ryan announced his decision to a wildly cheering crowd at the Northwestern University Law School. Families of the victims of the soon-to-be-reprieved killers were not invited."

            I wholeheartedly agree that it was a just thing to free all the innocent men from death row but it is immoral to free the guilty. George Ryan had heaped misery upon the Illinoisan victims’ families.

            As a researcher, Tim Stanley once wrote in his article, ‘As Britain debates the death penalty again, studies from America confirm that it works US politics August 5th, 2011’:

From 2001 to 2007, 12 academic studies were carried out in the US that examined the impact of the death penalty on local crime rates. They explored the hypothesis that as the potential cost of an action increases, so people are deterred from doing it. Nine out of twelve of the studies concluded that the death penalty saves lives. Some of their findings are stunning. Professors at Emory University determined that each execution deters an average of 18 murders. Another Emory study found that speeding up executions strengthens deterrence: for every 2.75 years cut from an inmate’s stay on death row, one murder would be prevented. Illinois has just voted to stop executions across the state. According to a University of Houston study, that could be a fatal mistake. It discovered that an earlier Illinois moratorium in 2000 encouraged 150 additional homicides in four years.

There were some problems with the criminal justice system in the United Arab Emirates, but they have now succeeded in reforming their system by learning from their mistakes and adding massive safeguards. They did not empty their prisons or death rows, the Illinois criminal justice system should learn from other countries who are working hard to reform their justice system. It was because of placing the moratorium on the death penalty, the state soon became a ‘land fit for criminals’.

George Ryan’s official prison sentence ends on 4 July 2013. We, the Victims’ Families For The Death Penalty, personally wanted him to stay in prison forever.
            Although George Ryan was imprisoned, I feel that Governor Pat Quinn has to be partly blamed for all these chaos in Illinois after he signed the bill to abolish the death penalty, letting all the violent murderers be kept alive. The homicide rate had risen from 60% since the abolition of the death penalty. He also ignored the cries of the murdered victims’ families who wanted to see justice done. The family members of Diann Hoagland, who was murdered by a recidivist murderer, Steven Pryer, will never get justice served. So, are the family members of Jitka Vesel, whom her killer confessed that he waited for the death penalty to be abolished before shooting her dead. Even the parolee who murdered that little girl, Kelli O’Laughlin will not be paying with his life. A former prison guard also denounced Pat Quinn’s ideas for the abolition. Last year, Pat Quinn has also released criminals from prisons.  

Just like Charles Fain and Aleksandr Biryukov, Rolando Cruz still supports the death penalty and wants the system fixed. I am grateful that he does not want to work for the Abolitionists anymore. Thanks to the abolitionists in Illinois, the homicide rate had more than doubled after the death penalty was abolished.

            Let us remember Jeanine Nicarico and those victims whose killers were all released from death row. Governor Pat Quinn is becoming very unpopular and hopefully, Illinois will be a better place without him. If the death penalty ever returns to Illinois, we must execute those who were already sentenced to death before the death penalty was abolished. I will be blogging on 20 March about a T.Y.R Law on how it should be done.

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