Two Winnebago County killers up for parole March 27, May 1

Online Staff Report

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato has announced updates on when the Illinois Prisoner Review Board will decide whether two convicted killers, up for parole, should be let out of prison.

According to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, they’ll decide if Curtis Brownell should be set free March 27. Brownell has been in prison since 1978. He kidnapped Louise Betts, 17, while she was trying to hitch a ride home in September 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.

The Prisoner Review Board also expects a decision about whether to release Calvin Madison at a hearing May 1. Madison is in prison for the 1970 murder of John Hogan at a Rockford gas station. Madison walked in to the West State Street business with a gun, and demanded Hogan give him money. Hogan did, but it wasn’t enough. Madison took Hogan into the restroom and shot him several times in the head, execution-style.

Madison was originally sentenced to death, but he was later re-sentenced to 75 to 150 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional.

Bruscato plans to join the Betts and Hogan families at both of these hearings.

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