Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

Closure at Last

Brodsky told jurors in opening statements that William loved his parents and didn't kill them. "What he saw in those few moments in that bedroom sent a shock wave through his life that he has never recovered from," the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying. As a result, the dejected William was never able to make anything out of his life and lived penniless "on a makeshift raft and drinking himself to death."

Eliciting a confession hadn't been difficult, William was "putty" in the hands of detectives and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, Brodsky declared. Instead, the defense said the real killer was Kurt Rouse, who had a stormy relationship with his parents.

Prosecutors called Kurt as a witness to rebut the defense's theory. Bruce and Darlene's eldest child had not seen his brother in 10 years. Kurt testified that he loved his parents and that William did also. Through tears, he said he had nothing to do with the murders and didn't know who the killer was.

Then the confession tape was played for jurors. They saw a radically different William from the one who sat demure, clean-shaven, and meticulously dressed at the counsel table. Investigators testified and then the prosecution was done. The defense put on witnesses who testified about Bruce and Darlene's problems with Kurt.

The sequestered jury got the case on a Friday night and deliberated for the next eight hours. They watched the confession tape three times. By 2:40 a.m. they had a verdict. Guilty.

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