Aged IL Murderer, Circa 1945, Denied Parole Once Again


In 1945, William Heirens murdered two women and a 6-year-old girl in Chicago. He has spent 61 years in prison for those crimes, more than any other Illinois inmate, and by most accounts is a changed man. Now 78 and suffering from diabetes, he wants out. State officials rejected William Heirens' request Thursday–as they had done nearly 30 times before. “God will forgive you, but the state won't,” said Thomas Johnson, a member of the Prisoner Review Board, which voted 14-0 against parole.

Heirens, 17 when he committed the murders, was the first Illinois prisoner to earn a four-year college degree behind bars. Johnson called Heirens “an educated man, a wonderful man.” He has served as a jailhouse lawyer for other inmates and worked unsupervised as an emergency medical technician years ago while incarcerated. He can try for parole again next year.


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