Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

A Big Payout

Bruce and Darlene had amassed a $3 million fortune and had a $900,000 life insurance policy. Under state law, convicted killers cannot benefit financially from their crimes. But the problem here was that no one had been arrested. Nearly a year after the slaying, American United Insurance Co. filed a federal lawsuit to avoid paying the claim.

In December 1981, a settlement was reached, and each child would inherit $220,000. By now, Kurt and Robin were living with relatives elsewhere in Illinois and Billy had gone to live with an aunt in Washington state, who enrolled him in a private boarding school for troubled teens.

The house still stood, somewhat of a curiosity to local residents. At first it was cordoned off with police tape, but when it became evident that no more clues would be forthcoming, it was sold. The new owners would provide just as much fodder for gossip as the Rouses — the house was bought by agents of the Chicago mob, which opened a gambling casino on the site complete with two cocktail lounges and valet parking.

The gambling operation featured rigged blackjack and craps tables, creating quite a lucrative business for the mob bosses. Then in May 1982 bookmaker Robert Plummer was strangled and beaten to death on a stairway inside the house for working with a rival organization, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. His body was found a week later in the trunk of his car parked at a Holiday Inn hotel.

Mob figures Rocco Earnest Infelice and Salvatore DeLaurentis, who ran the casino, were later charged with the murder. They were acquitted, but convicted of racketeering. The "Rouse House" now had a new nickname — "Murder Mansion."

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