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Dugan admits girl's slaying in court

WHEATON, Ill., July 29 (UPI) -- A convicted murderer officially admitted the slaying of a suburban Chicago girl for which two other men were convicted and sentenced to death, prosecutors say.

Brian Dugan, already serving a life sentence for two other murders, testified Tuesday he alone raped and killed 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, Ill., in 1983.

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Dugan first admitted killing Nicarico in 1985, but DuPuge officials long rejected his assertions, instead focusing on Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez, who were freed from death row in 1995 when DNA tests and recanted testimony undermined the prosecution, the newspaper said. The DuPage County Board paid $3.5 million in 2000 to settle lawsuits brought by Cruz, Hernandez and a third defendant, the Chicago Tribune reported.

State's Attorney Joseph Birkett, who has vowed to seek the death penalty for Dugan, gave a brutal and graphic description of the girl's slaying, in which he said Dugan kidnapped her from her home, raped her in the woods and then crushed her skull with a tire iron or baseball bat after promising to take her home, the Tribune said.

Jeanine had stayed home from school the day she was kidnapped because she was ill. The girl fought her attacker so hard, she left scratches on the wall of her home.

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