Did Gary Schuning murder two women? "It's a possibility," he told a DuPage County jury Tuesday.
Testifying in his own defense, the Addison man said he couldn't deny killing his mother and an escort five years ago because he doesn't remember.
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"It's a possibility, but it's not in my character," Schuning, 28, said. "I don't know if I did."
Schuning also couldn't explain why he confessed to the Feb. 26, 2006, slayings, or how he was able to give police extensive details about the case in three recorded interviews.
He told a DuPage County jury that if he did commit the murders, "I need to be held accountable."
"If I'm the reason those two people are gone, I deserve to be where I am," Schuning testified.
Schuning faces up to life in prison if convicted of murdering his 40-year-old mother, Doris Pagliaro, and Chicago call girl Kristi Hoenig, 21.
Though he now claims to have no memory of the slayings, Schuning at one point told detectives he stabbed Pagliaro in the chest with a kitchen knife after he returned home in the early morning from clubbing in Chicago and began arguing with her. He also confessed to stabbing Hoenig -- one of three escorts he called to his home for sex that morning -- shortly thereafter.
On Tuesday, Schuning said he had been drinking and using cocaine the night of the murders and couldn't even recall leaving the club to go home.
But Assistant State's Attorney Alex McGimpsey pressed him to explain why he would confess to investigators, and how he knew the victims were stabbed with kitchen knives or that Hoenig had worn a pink shirt if he had no memory of that night.
"I don't know what I was doing when (police) were talking to me," Schuning said. "They were telling me that physical evidence was all going to lead back to me. I tried to answer their questions with what I thought could have happened."
Schuning admitted he tried to protect himself by telling authorities that Hoenig attempted to stab him and that he killed her in self-defense. But he said "emotional pain was taking over" when he made that statement while recovering from his own stab wounds in a hospital.
"If I did something," Schuning said, "I want my family to know I don't know why I did it."
The trial resumes Wednesday and is expected to wrap up this week.