Illinois

Couple murdered in their bed: wife shot between eyes with shotgun, husband shot in jaw then bludgeoned with butt of shotgun and stabbed in heart

June 5, 1980
Libertyville, Illinois
Bruce and Darlene Rouse are killed in their home while their children, aged 20, 17, and 15, sleep

Darlene was killed first, shot between the eyes with a shotgun as she slept. She was killed instantly. Bruce, startled awake by the shooting, was shot in the jaw, though this injury did not kill him. He was then bashed in the head with the butt of the shotgun and stabbed in the heart 6 times with a steak knife.

The murders went unsolved until 15 years later when the youngest child William confessed to murdering his parents. Because he was a minor at the time of the murders, William was ineligible for the death penalty. The judge presiding over his trial sentenced him to the maximum sentence available, two 40-year sentences to be served consecutively and made a point to tell William she wished she could sentence him to life. “That is the injustice that I have to live with,” she told him. “They gave you life and brought you in to this world…they gave you every opportunity for a future.”

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