PALATINE Ill. A Cook County circuit judge sentenced convicted killer Juan Luna, 33, to life in prison without parole for the murders of seven workers 14 years ago at a Brown’s Chicken and Pasta restaurant in Palatine, Ill., a middle-class suburb of Chicago. Judge Vincent Gaughan also denied a motion from Luna’s lawyers for a new trial.
Ajury convicted Luna last May of seven counts of first-degree murder. Because one juror voted against the death penalty, his life was spared. His alleged accomplice, James Degorski, 34, awaits his trial, which is expected to start later this year. He, too, could face the death penalty if convicted.
Luna and Degorski were not arrested until nine years after the Jan. 8, 1993, murders of Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt, Brown’s franchise owners, and five employees around closing time. The killings were proclaimed among the worst in Illinois history. The murderers escaped with less than $2,000 stolen from the victims.
The restaurant where the killings occurred was razed several years ago, and the site became part of a parking lot.