Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

A New Start

Meanwhile, Kurt Rouse moved to northern California where he got married, and Billy landed in Key West, Fla. Robin died in a 1983 car crash in Wisconsin when she slammed into a utility pole. By all accounts, the brothers rarely spoke to each other.

William Rouse
William Rouse

Even with a new start, Billy — who sometimes went by the name William — just couldn't stay out of trouble. On Feb. 27, 1985, he was convicted of battery for stabbing a man in the abdomen during a chess game. He claimed it was self defense, but was sentenced to 60 days in jail and placed on probation. Rouse admitted he had been drinking beer and smoking marijuana before the incident happened. In fact, Billy still had quite a drinking problem.

After his release from jail, he met Frances Mote at a boarding house and got married. Billy still had a sizeable amount of money left from his parents' life insurance policy, so he paid $100,000 cash for a one-bedroom house. He spent another $75,000 in improvements such as extra bedrooms, a bigger living room and a Jacuzzi, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

 The couple had a son, Billy Jr., but it didn't equate to lasting happiness. Billy's excess drinking made him violent, and he never had a steady job. One night he threatened Frances with a gun. The couple separated and eventually divorced, selling the house at a loss. Frances went on to marry someone else, and Billy moved onto a ramshackle barge anchored off Key West, home to several of his drinking buddies and distinguished by the skull and crossbones flag it flew.

Billy continued to fritter away his fortune on alcohol and drugs. Over the next decade, he would amass a lengthy rap sheet for mostly petty crimes. He lived a seedy existence with no real job or place to call home. The millionaires' son had sunk nearly to the lowest rung of society.

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