Suburban police officials Tuesday recalled the grisly details of Patty Columbo's "savage crimes against her family" and urged the parole board to keep her behind bars for the 1976 murders of her parents and brother in Elk Grove Village.
Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose, the lead investigator on the case at the time, and Elk Grove Village Deputy Police Chief Charles Walsh were among those at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Ill., pleading with the parole board to never release Columbo.
"I cannot, and will not, simply forgive, excuse or forget these crimes, and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board should not as well," said Rose, who attends every parole hearing.
Columbo, 57, will argue her case May 1. A ruling is expected that day both on her case, and that of Frank DeLuca, her former boyfriend also convicted of the murders.
Almost 38 years ago, Columbo, who was 19 at the time, and 37-year-old DeLuca murdered Patty's parents, Frank and Mary Columbo, and her 13-year-old brother Michael in their home.
The killings were gruesome. Frank Columbo was shot four times in the head, and Mary once between the eyes, with her throat slit from ear-to-ear. Michael was shot once in the head at point-blank range. After being shot, all three victims were stabbed or bludgeoned multiple times.
Both Columbo and DeLuca were convicted and sentenced to more than 200 years in prison each. Columbo's sentences on a number of charges totaled 1,100 years, Rose said.
Since then, Columbo has sought parole at least 16 times, arguing she is a changed person and can be a contributing member of society. In her last parole attempt in 2011, two of the 14 board members voted in her favor. She needs eight votes to be freed.
That won't happen if Rose can help it. He is committed to speaking on behalf of the surviving Columbo family members. And he requested Tuesday that parole requests be limited to once every five years, rather than every three, to spare the family trauma.
"Why would we sentence people to life in prison, and in the middle of (their sentence), say, 'I changed my mind, and we should let her out and have a chance.' That makes a farce of the whole system," Rose said.