Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

The Confession

As a child, Billy Rouse felt like a failure and a loser. He was continually chastised by his mother and felt like he couldn't do anything right. The wayward youth was a time bomb waiting to go off. The final straw was the argument with his mother when she threatened to send him to military school. Billy felt he couldn't take it anymore, he told investigators.

Darlene Rouse
Darlene Rouse

He ate some psychedelic mushrooms and went to the recreation room, angry and feeling he had to get rid of his mother. He envisioned stabbing her to death, but wanted something more instantaneous. Instead, he grabbed one of Bruce's shotguns from the rec room and walked toward his parents' bedroom. He paused outside for about 10 minutes, thinking about what he was about to do.

Reenactment: William gets a gun
Reenactment: William gets a gun

Billy entered the room and shot his mother at close range. He didn't intend to kill his father, but when Bruce woke up, Billy felt that he had to die as well. When the first shotgun blast didn't kill Bruce, Billy said he couldn't bear the sight of him writhing in pain, so he was bludgeoned with the butt of the gun. That didn't seem to work either, so Billy grabbed a knife out of the kitchen and stabbed him six times in the heart, according to the confession as reported in the Tribune.

Taped confession
Taped confession

Afterwards, Billy went into shock, thinking, "Why'd I do this, man? Why'd I do this?" He grabbed the rest of his father's guns along with the knife and jumped into his father's car. He drove onto a bridge over the Des Plaines River and threw the items into the water. His brother and sister had nothing to do with the killings, Billy said.

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