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Prison inmate who killed 7 people wins $450,000 after officer beat him

By Mason White 3:16 PM March 18, 2014
Prison cell illustration 

By: Devansh Dutt
(Scroll down for video) Many people were shocked with a jury’s decision to award a prison inmate $451,000.

James Degorski was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for killing innocent people.

Degorski, 41, a former handyman, is serving life in prison for killing 7 people in 1993. He said that a jail guard punched him in the face, and broke his eye socket and cheek bone.

Now, he was awarded nearly $500,000 in a civil lawsuit for his injuries. Victims’ relatives were angry with the jurors’ decision to give a killer money for broken bones, when he took the life of so many innocent people.

Degorski, with an accomplice, stabbed and shot seven people – including two restaurant owners and five workers – at Brown’s Chicken and Pasta during a botched robbery.

The two men then placed the bodies in a walk-in cooler and freezer. During the trial, the jury was not told the reason Degorski was serving time in prison.

The jury awarded him $225,000 in compensatory damages, which Cook County must pay. He was also awarded $226,000 in punitive damages, which the jail guard Thomas Wilson must pay.

Wilson plans to appeal the decision. Prison officials could ask a court to seize the money in order to cover the cost of keeping Degorski in prison. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, the cost to house each inmate is about $20,000 a year.