UPDATE: The Prisoner Review Board has announced it has denied parole to 59-year-old Curtis Brownell. Brownell has been in prison since 1978 after he was convicted of raping and killing a Loves Park Teen more than 35 years ago. Below is the release from the Winnebago County State's Attorney:
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato joined members of the Betts family in Springfield as the Illinois Prisoner Review Board announced a decision on whether to grant parole to Curtis Brownell (D.O.B. 10/19/1954). The PRB recommended unanimously that Curtis Brownell be denied parole. The PRB also recommended unanimously that his next parole hearing will be set out for the maximum five year period.
Brownell has been in prison since 1978. He kidnapped Louise Betts, 17 while she was trying to hitch a ride home in September of 1977. After picking her up, Brownell murdered Betts whose body wasn’t found until several months later in a rural Boone County field. Before police found Betts’ body and arrested Brownell, he also tried to kill another Winnebago County woman. She was seven months pregnant when Brownell abducted her from a Rockford Laundromat, sexually assaulted her and left her for dead. She and her baby survived the ordeal. Brownell was sentenced to 100 to 300 years in prison. He’s been denied parole more than a dozen times.
STATELINE (WIFR) – Two convicted murderers could soon get out of prison. Both Curtis Brownell, who raped and killed a Loves Park Teen more than 35 years ago and Calvin Madison, who shot a 19-year-old Rockford gas station cashier are up for parole again.
“You can just see the heartache and pain in their face that you feel in yours.” The families of Louise Betts and John Hogan are brought together by two tragedies. They’re protesting the release of two convicted murders, Brownell and Madison.
“We have to kind of unite together I guess and say our prayers for each of the other families that we can all get through this.”
This is the 33rd time Calvin Madison is up for parole. He killed then 19-year-old John Hogan at a Rockford gas station in 1970.
“My brother’s in a casket for the rest of his life and I believe Madison needs to stay in prison for the rest of his life,” said Terry Hogan, John Hogan’s brother.
Gary Betts says it’s a feeling he knows all too well as his family waits to hear a decision on the parole of Curtis Brownell. Gary’s teenage sister Louise was kidnapped, raped, and murdered while she was hitchhiking along North Second Street in Loves Park nearly 40 years ago.
This is Brownell’s 14th time before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
“The feeling will be better if he gets denied. Then I can just push this pain back into the old dark closet I keep it in,” said Gary Betts, Louise’s sister.
It’s that pain that both families say motivates them to seek justice for their lost loved ones.
Curtis Brownell is expected to go before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board later this month to say why he should be freed. Calvin Madison could find out his fate on March 26th, however that could be pushed back to May 1st if his inmate hearing is rescheduled.