Retiring police officer fights against parole for Columbo killers

  • Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose, who recently announced his retirement, argued for the last time as a police officer Wednesday against the release of convicted murderers Patty Columbo and Frank DeLuca. Rose said he will keep up his fight as a civilian, if necessary.

    Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose, who recently announced his retirement, argued for the last time as a police officer Wednesday against the release of convicted murderers Patty Columbo and Frank DeLuca. Rose said he will keep up his fight as a civilian, if necessary. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/20/2017 8:18 AM

The slideshow began with yellowing photographs of an Elk Grove Village home, its window drapes drawn shut and newspapers piling up on the front porch.

The front yard has been neatly trimmed, and the house appears undisturbed, except for a team of detectives entering the front door. Inside, they found the bloody scene of three murders.

 

One of those detectives, Ray Rose, says he can still smell the death 41 years later.

During a parole hearing Wednesday, the 50-year law enforcement veteran -- who's in his final days as a police officer -- once again recounted the slaying of the Columbo family in May 1976.

Though he's retiring as Lake County undersheriff next week, Rose says he'll continue to argue against releasing Patty Columbo and Frank DeLuca, both convicted of killing Columbo's parents, Frank and Mary, and her 13-year-old brother, Michael.

DeLuca and Columbo were sentenced to more than 200 years in prison each. However, under Illinois sentencing laws as they existed in the mid-1970s, they have a right to parole hearings every three years.

"It becomes even more important to me with the parole board to keep reminding them," Rose said.

Three members of the Illinois Prison Review Board, two of whom are new appointees, listened as Rose described the police department's investigation in measured sentences.

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The presentation showed picture after picture of the gruesome scene -- the family members shot then mutilated from repeated stabbings, and blood sprayed from the ceilings to the shag carpets. Rose quickly clicked through a final series of photos showing the victims' bodies awaiting autopsy.

Former Columbo prosecutor Patricia Bobb, Elk Grove Village Police Chief Chuck Walsh and his predecessor, Stephen Schmidt, also argued against parole.

Presenting the evidence doesn't get easier, no matter the number of times he argues the case at parole hearings, Rose said. In May, he plans to attend a hearing in Springfield, where the full parole board will vote whether to grant Columbo and DeLuca early release.

"I'm very committed to being there to speak on behalf of Frank and Mary and Michael because they lost their voice when they lost their lives," Rose said.

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