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updated: 2/1/2011 4:48 PM

Kane state's attorney supports capital punishment

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Back in 2000, Joe McMahon helped prosecute the case of Maurice L. King, who was convicted of stabbing to death a Carpentersville mom and her 4-year-old daughter in April 1998.

King was sentenced to death for the slayings, and officers testified that King admitted he stabbed Lola Gooch and her daughter Alisha more than 20 times each -- "for the kicks."

"I think the sentence was appropriate," said McMahon, who now serves as the Kane County State's Attorney, Tuesday during his monthly media briefing. "I believe in appropriate cases it's the only appropriate sentence."

King's sentence was later reduced to life in prison after then-Gov. George Ryan cleared death row and put a moratorium on executions.

Gov. Pat Quinn has until mid-March to sign a bill that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois as of July 1.

The move could affect five capital cases in Kane County, four of which are still awaiting trial.

In one case, Hector Mauricio, 24, of the 1100 block of Ridgeway Avenue, Aurora, pleaded guilty to murdering 83-year-old Roscoe Ebey in 2007. A judge has ruled Mauricio is eligible for the death penalty, and he is due in court next week. But Kane County prosecutors will wait until Quinn takes action before holding a sentencing hearing.

"We have sought the death penalty sparingly, only in extreme cases," McMahon said. "When we make the decision to seek the death penalty against someone, we're looking for evidence beyond that standard (of beyond a reasonable doubt)."

In four other cases, prosecutors are moving forward. They are:

• Darren Denson, 39, for the February 2003 murder of Kyle Juggins in Elgin. Denson's trial is set for April 4.

• Frank Hill, 39, for the January 2007 slaying of Karyn Pearson in Gilberts. Hill's trial is set for May 16.

• Jaime M. Diaz, 33, for the 1998 murders of Brendan Anderson and Elias Calcano. Diaz is next due in court on Feb. 10.

• Aurelio Montano, 55, for the July 1990 murder of his wife, Guadalupe Maria Montano, in Aurora. He is next due in court on Feb. 18.

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