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Press Release-Brownell Parole Hearing

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February 13th, 2019

State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross


Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross along with Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia Smith traveled to Dixon to oppose the release of a convicted killer from the Illinois Department of Corrections. Curtis Brownell is up for parole again for the 1977 murder of Louis Betts. State’s Attorney Hite Ross and State’s Attorney Smith testified in front of the Prisoner Review Board this morning in an effort to encourage members to keep Brownell in prison. 

 Curtis Brownell

In September of 1977, Curtis Brownell kidnapped Louise Betts, 17, while she was hitchhiking along North Second Street in Loves Park.  After picking her up, Brownell sexually assaulted, then murdered Betts whose body wasn’t found for several months 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. The victim and her baby survived the ordeal. 

In 1978, Brownell was convicted and sentenced to 100 to 300 years in prison. Since his conviction Brownell has been denied parole more than a dozen times.  The last attempt was in 2014, when the Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted unanimously against his release and decided not to give Brownell another change at parole for five years. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board is expected to issue a decision on whether to grant Brownell parole on March 28th, 2019.


Alternative Justice & Outreach Coordinator

Katie Zimmerman


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