Columbo denied parole again

  • Patricia Columbo

    Patricia Columbo

  • Patricia Columbo, 1976

    Patricia Columbo, 1976

Updated 5/27/2011 5:43 AM

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board has again denied parole for Patricia Columbo and Frank DeLuca, each serving 200 to 300 years in prison for the 1976 murders of Columbo's father, mother and 13-year-old brother in their Elk Grove Village home.

Columbo has tried and failed to win parole at least 15 times.


Board members voted 10-2 Thursday against granting Columbo parole. The two parole board members who voted in favor of her release in three previous attempts did so again. The board voted 12-0 to deny DeLuca's release.

It will be three years before either can try again, said Ken Tupy, attorney for the Prisoner Review Board.
"The two board members who voted for (Columbo's) release noted her good institutional record, and that she teaches arts and crafts, she had been doing social work and helping out other inmates," Tupy said.

There was also a letter from Columbo's cousin in support of her release, Tupy said.
The board majority voted to deny Columbo's parole because "she was one of the moving forces behind the crime," Tupy said.

The majority of parole board members also noted the brutality of the murders, the planned nature of the crime, dubbing it a "cold and calculated manslaughter," and the strong opposition to Columbo's release, he added.

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"It's good news," said Mundelein Police Chief Raymond Rose, who was the Elk Grove Village Police Department's lead investigator of the murders. "I feel satisfied that justice continues to be served.

That they are where they need to be, and the community and the family doesn't need to worry now for at least three more years."

Last week, Rose and the original criminal prosecutor of Columbo's case appeared before the review board to lay out the gory details of the murders, and give personal testimonials for why Columbo should never be set free.

Rose chronicled how Columbo, then 19, plotted for eight months to kill her family, soliciting friends and acquaintances to carry out the murders. She ultimately executed her plan on May 4, 1976, with the help of Deluca, her 37-year-old boyfriend.

Columbo and DeLuca were interviewed by members of the board earlier this year at Dwight and Logan correctional centers, respectively.

While DeLuca, now 72, has admitted shooting the victims, Columbo to date has not owned up to her part in the murders, which was a factor in the board's decision to deny her, Rose said.


The parole board member who interviewed Columbo noted during today's hearing that Columbo would never talk about specifics of the murders.

"They took offense to that," Rose said after attending Thursday's vote in Springfield. "They still perceive her as being very manipulative and that she was very insincere in her comments about how she's changed and what a good person she would be were she allowed to go back into the community."

Columbo and DeLuca were convicted of shooting her parents, Mary and Frank Columbo, and brother, Michael, and mutilating their bodies. Both were sentenced to 200 to 300 years in prison for the murders and another 150 years each for conspiracy to commit murder. Columbo received an additional 50-year prison term for solicitation to commit murder.

"It's clear what the intent of the judge was with the sentencing guidelines in place at the time," Rose said. "If they were allowed to be paroled it would diminish the significance of the law and minimize the wrongdoing that they did."

The heinous nature of the murders and Columbo's meticulous planning of the crimes weighed heavily in the parole board's decision, Rose added.

Rose pledges to be at every one of Columbo's parole hearings as long as he's alive.

"We can't let this go. We can't lose interest in it," Rose said.

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