Columbo murders: Frank DeLuca dies in prison while serving more than 300 years
Convicted killer Frank DeLuca, who was sentenced along with lover Patricia Columbo to more than 300 years in prison for the murders of Columbo's father, mother and brother in their Elk Grove Village home, died Wednesday at the Dixon Correctional Center.
Lee County coroner Jesse P. Partington confirmed DeLuca, 84, died about 12:35 a.m., apparently of natural causes.
"This brings some closure to this whole horrific incident and the trauma it caused the entire Elk Grove community," said Raymond Rose, a former Elk Grove Village deputy police chief who investigated the May 1976 triple homicide. It was one of the Northwest suburbs' grisliest crimes.
"There's no concern about him ever being back in society," said Rose.
DeLuca and Columbo were convicted of the shooting deaths of Columbo's parents, Frank and Mary, and the death of her 13-year-old brother Michael, who was stabbed 87 times with scissors.
Patricia Columbo instigated, planned and participated in the crime, according to Rose, who said the then-19-year-old attempted to recruit two hit men eight months before the murders occurred. Ultimately, Columbo manipulated DeLuca, her married 37-year-old lover, into killing her family by falsely claiming her father planned to have her and DeLuca killed, Rose said.
Both Columbo and DeLuca have appeared before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board every three years in their bid for parole. DeLuca's next appearance was set for Feb. 2, said Rose.
Since 1984, the former Mundelein police chief and Lake County undersheriff has opposed their parole at every prisoner review board hearing. Each hearing brings up memories of that terrible day.
"It revictimizes again all the family members and the community as well," said Rose, who will continue to oppose Columbo's release.
"We still have to work to keep Patricia where she's at," he said.
Columbo, 66, is incarcerated at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln. She next appears before the prisoner review board on April 25.