CHICAGO (CBS) – A man convicted in the 1993 Brown’s Chicken massacre is seeking a court hearing, with new evidence and said a witness lied in order to obtain a reward.
James Degorski is petitioning for a court hearing into new evidence, WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports. Degorski’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean said the government’s star witness lied, only to split a $100,000 reward for turning him in.
“What we learned is that the government’s key witness, their star witness, Anne Lockett had strong motivation to lie and was a very troubled woman,” Bonjean said.
The jury was never told Lockett would be rewarded for conviction.
Lockett implicated another ex-boyfriend and was not even dating Degorski at the time, Bonjean said. Lockett said Degorski confessed to her on the phone when she was at a psychiatric hospital, where she was unable to take calls.
“I cannot think of a stronger motivator than $50,000,” Bonjean said. “Particularly to a woman, who has a long history of psychiatric history. Additionally, we have new evidence to show that the testimony she provided could not have been true.”
Bonjean also accused Palatine Police of coercing Degorski’s confession.
“We know they bundled the case,” Bonjean said. “Everyone knows they bundled the case.”
At least five others confessed to the killings, Bonjean said.
James Degorski was convicted in 2009 for the murders of seven people at a Browns Chicken in Palatine back in 1993. Co-defendant Juan Lune was tried separately and convicted in 2007. Both men are serving life sentences in prison.
Prosecutors have not responded to the hearing request.