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home : news : local   April 15, 2014

5/2/2013 11:09:00 PM
Streator killer gets first votes for early release


Tom Collins
Staff Writer



A double-murderer serving a life sentence was denied parole Thursday — but left his hearing with a couple of votes in support of release, a first for him.

Henry Hillenbrand, 65, is serving 240-year and 150-year sentences for a pair of 1970 murders in Streator. Hillenbrand has stood for numerous parole hearings but never got a single vote in favor of release — until now.

Thursday, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted 9-2 against release, marking the first time Hillenbrand gleaned any support for parole. He will be up for parole again in 2014.

Though costs had been openly cited during the recent abolition of the death penalty, a spokesman for the parole board said there is no financial consideration in re-evaluating cases such as Hillenbrand’s.

“Most of these inmates have been in 30 or 40 years and are quite elderly — many are in medical treatment — and are no longer a threat to the community,” said Ken Tupy, chief counsel for Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Nevertheless, Hillenbrand joins Chester Weger, the so-called Starved Rock murderer, in suddenly gaining support for early release. After years of never getting any favorable votes, Weger was denied parole in 2011 by an 8-5 vote and again last year by an 8-7 vote.

Hillenbrand was charged with murder after he entered the Streator home of 22-year-old George Evans with a rifle early June 29, 1970. He killed Evans with a single shot to the head.

He then dragged 20-year-old Patricia Pence to his car, drove her to his apartment building, shot her three times and also struck her repeatedly with the rifle butt when she tried to escape to a neighbor’s home.

He was soon taken into custody, but then escaped from La Salle County Jail in 1970. He spent more than a decade on the lam in Missouri before being recaptured and pleading guilty to murder in 1984.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 223-3206 Ext. 130 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous19647

OH YEA!!!!!!
He's such great person. Turn him loose so he can kill again.
Killed one person with a shot to the head & the other person was shot 3 times, then beat with the rife. That's the kind you want living next door.


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