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updated: 4/7/2014 6:25 PM

Ex-Libertyville trustee accused in 1994 murder plot dies

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  • Former Libertyville trustee Donald Coulson leaves the Lake County courthouse in 1994.

      Former Libertyville trustee Donald Coulson leaves the Lake County courthouse in 1994.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer


A former Libertyville trustee who went to prison after being accused of hiring an undercover detective to kill his wife in 1994 has died.

Donald L. Coulson, 80, died Friday at a Wheaton nursing home.

Coulson, formerly of Libertyville and Grayslake, served on the Libertyville village board from 1989 to 1993.

He was arrested in April 1994 after he was secretly videotaped arranging the murder of his wife, Arlene. The man Coulson thought would carry out the crime actually was an undercover Lake County sheriff's detective.

Originally charged with solicitation of murder for hire, Coulson pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated battery with a firearm. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Arlene Coulson was reluctant to cooperate with prosecutors and asked for leniency when it came to sentencing.

Coulson was an Army veteran who served with the special forces in the Korean War. He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

He later worked for the Illinois Bell telephone company.

In addition to his wife, Coulson's survivors include three children, five grandchildren and a brother.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at the Burnett-Dane Funeral Home, 120 W. Park Ave., Libertyville.

A graveside service with military honors is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Lakeside Cemetery in Libertyville.

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