Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

A Gruesome Scene

June 5, 1980, was just a normal day in the Rouse household. Bruce went to work and took Billy with him to help install a spray painting booth for cars. That evening Bruce went to a Rotary Club meeting; Billy went home and drank and smoked hashish.

William Rouse
William Rouse

Darlene was out to a restaurant for dinner and then played bridge with friends. When she arrived home at 11 p.m., she noticed Billy's glassy eyes and the smell of alcohol. This led to another one of their frequent arguments. This time, Darlene threatened to send Billy to a military school.

Kurt Rouse, older
Kurt Rouse, older

Bruce had been home for about half an hour and in typical fashion, hadn't said anything to his son about his drug use. Kurt was visiting with his girlfriend in his room outside and Robin was in her bedroom. The Rouses went to bed. Then, sometime around 2:30 a.m., the killer struck. Bruce and Darlene's lifeless bodies lay undetected until 8:30 a.m. when Robin discovered the grisly scene.

Robin Rouse, older
Robin Rouse, older

The police responded immediately and were greeted by Robin and Billy. Kurt was still asleep in his room and awoke when police knocked on his door. None of them claimed to have heard anything, saying that a thunderstorm the night before must have muffled the shots. However, Robin told a detective that one of her brothers was responsible. She didn't say which one.

Inside the bedroom, the killer had covered the bodies with a red, white, and blue sheet. Detectives knew that such an act typically shows that the killer had remorse after the slaying and didn't want to look at what they had done. It was no wonder — Bruce's lower jaw had been shot off and the top of Darlene's head was gone. Blood covered the walls, bed and floor. A trail of blood also led upstairs, stopping at the landing.

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