DIXON (WIFR) – A local rapist and murderer is up for parole again, after spending the last 38 years in prison. However, family and friends of the victim are protesting Robert Lower’s release as they’re forced to relive the death of their loved one.
It’s been nearly 40 years since the death of 15-year-old Joey Didier, but going over the details of his murder is still painful for his family.
In 1975, Robert Lower kidnapped Joey during his paper route then raped and murdered him at a cabin in Jo Daviess County.
Joey’s sister Diane Didier-Adolphson addressed the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and handed over 12,000 signatures protesting Lower’s release from prison.
“When we do these petitions every three year, we never have closure on Joey’s death and because of the horrific details of this case, it’s so hard,” said Didier-Adolphson.
This case hits close to home for Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato. He went to school with Joey.
“I can’t pick up my yearbook from that year without looking at the picture that memorializes Joey and the loss we suffered at Roosevelt Middle School. This is the reason I come to support these families,” Bruscato said.
Both Bruscato and Joey’s family believe Lower is still a danger to the community.
“Robert Lower is a very naïve, sexually disturbed man and he needs to stay where he belongs for the sake of the Rockford community and the sake of the state of Illinois.”
This is Lower’s 19th time up for Parole. He’s had a hearing every three years. Today Bruscato requested that if Lower stays in prison that they extend his next parole date to 5 years which is the maximum.
Lower has his own parole hearing today. The Prisoner Review Board will meet on February 27th to make a decision.