Twenty years ago today, police found 7 bodies in a walk-in freezer and cooler at a suburban Chicago fast food restaurant. Juan Luna and Jim Degorski entered a Brown's Chicken restaurant the previous evening and committed one of the most awful crimes in Illinois history, killing seven people in what jurors later found to be premeditated murder, reports today's Chicago Tribune.
The perpetrators roamed free for nearly a decade before Degorski's former girlfriend, Anne Lockett, confided to a friend that she knew who was responsible for the murders. The friend called Palatine police and reported the conversation.
When contacted by authorities Lockett said, "I can't live with this anymore,"
She recounted to police that the day after the murders, Degorski called her at Forest Hospital where she was undergoing treatment for substance abuse. Lockett said Degorski told her to watch the news because he had done something big. She also claimed Degorski and Luna detailed their involvement during a conversation with her in the weeks following the murders. She told police that Degorski threatened to kill her if she talked.
Another piece of evidence was crucial to the case. Investigators had saved a discarded meal from the scene, and as DNA analysis improved, they were able to match DNA left on a chicken bone with Juan Luna's saliva. The two were arrested in May 2002.
Luna was convicted of murder in 2007, and Degorski followed two years later. Jurors spared them the death penalty, but both are serving life sentences with no possibility of parole.
Terrible events like this continue to occur so you may want to give some thought to what actions you might take should you find yourself in similar circumstances. Would you have tried to escape, attempt to fight back, or just do what they asked and hope for the best?
If the owners or the employees had been carrying a gun maybe things wouldn't have turned out the way they did, but they weren't. Odds are high you won't have one either if confronted by similar circumstances, so what action will you take to survive?
In Part-2 we will consider what options might be available to increase your chance of survival.
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