Dear IllinoisVictims.org -
Louise Betts was my sister. She was 16 (just 1 month short of her 17th), my
mother dropped Louise off thinking she would walk a couple blocks to meet a
girl friend. The date was 9/27/77. Louise began hitchhiking and was picked
up by Curtis Brownell. He drove her around Rockford for a time, then
to remote location in Boone County when he raped and strangled her leaving
her body in a the cornfield. Mother reported her missing the next morning
but because she had run away previously the authorities were not real
anxious to look for her.
On January 31, 1978 Curtis Brownell abducted a woman from a Rockford
Laundromat, drove her to within 1/2 mile of where he killed Louise, raped,
pistol whipped her, threw her out of the car and drove his car over her at
least twice. She was 7 months pregnant with her first child. The only
thing that saved them was a recent heavy snowfall, their bodies were
cushioned by the snow. She played dead and he left her. She was able to
get help and survived.
Less than a month later he followed another woman and her 2 year old to a
7-11, scaring her enough to take down his license number and report him. He
was arrested for the 2nd rape and was in jail awaiting trial when Louise's
body was found on 3/31/78. At that time he confessed to killing Louise. He
was tried in Boone County for Louise's murder and the death penalty was
assessed twice, once by a judge and once by a jury, but overturned both
times by the Illinois Supreme Court. Now his sentences for the Boone and
Winnebago County crimes range from 410 years to 1,300.
Information is pretty sketchy from the Review Board. Mostly my parents made
the appearances while they were alive. My mother passed away in 1997 and my
father in 2004. My brothers and I all live in Texas now but have many
extended family members still in Rockford. It is my understanding, only
from hearsay information that Brownell has never received any votes for
release. I don't know if that is accurate or not. We are really concerned
over this hearing because he has been moved from Dixon Correction (Minimum
security) to Graham Correction (medium security, but lots of programs for
people getting out, including a "sex offender rehabilitation" program). It
appears to us that he has maneuvered himself there in another attempt to
claim he is rehabilitated.
Any help anyone can give us would be appreciated.
Our review board hearing is set for 2/4/08 and the en banc is set for
THIS FROM THE FAMILY
AFTER THEIR FEB 2008 HEARING:
The Betts clan traveled from Texas to Illinois on February 3 and spent
most of February 4 waiting to testify before the Prisoner Review Board.
Thank you for lifting us up. God worked in many ways. We had safe travel
and got to express our fears and feelings. I think that we were heard.
We would continue to solicit prayers. The decision will NOT be made by
the Review Board until February 14. We would ask that you pray for wisdom
and discernment for the board members and that they not be fooled. It was
confirmed to us that the reason Mr. Brownell has changed facilities is so
that he can attend an intensive "sexual offender rehabilitation program."
Unfortunately I think this makes his next review even more important than
this one. Would you like this "rehabilitated" offender living in your
neighborhood conducting his "rock hauling business" with his dump truck?
But thank you with the sincerest thanks that [our
family] can muster. Without your help we could not have done the
hard work necessary to present the board with over 3000 signatures and many
personal letters. It makes me awed again that my God has inspired each of
you to step up and lift us up when we were far too weak to do this for
ourselves. Thank you is insufficient but it is all we have.
I am enclosing a link to the Rockford Register Star article that very
well tells the story of how our day was yesterday.
In His Service,