DuPage Drops Charges Against Jailed Killer

Paul Runge already is serving life in prison for the murders of two Northwest Side residents

By Lisa Balde
|  Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011  |  Updated 12:24 PM CDT
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DuPage Drops Charges Against Jailed Killer

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DuPage County prosecutors "reluctantly" will dismiss charges in two cases against an alleged Chicago area serial killer.

Citing the abolishment of the death penalty in Illinois, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin confirmed Wednesday that some charges will be dropped against Paul Runge, 41.

Runge has been awaiting trial for the 1995 murders of Dzeneta and Amela Pasanbegovic. The Hanover Park sisters are among seven other alleged victims.

The State's Attorney's Office said in a statement the decision to drop charges wasn't made without deliberation. The sisters' family members were first consulted, as well as staff members.

"The fact is, Mr. Runge will spend the rest of his life behind bars," Berlin said. "Even if we were to proceed to trial and Mr. Runge was found guilty of the murders of Dzeneta and Amela, since the death penalty is no longer an option in Illinois, he would not receive any additional punishment."

Runge is serving life in prison for the sexual assault and murders of Northwest Side resident Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her daughter, Jessica Muniz, 10, in 1997.

He was taken off Death Row with 14 others when Gov. Pat Quinn singed a bill repealing the state death penalty.

"I have determined that it would not be a prudent use of the resources of the State’s Attorney’s Office to move forward," Berlin said.

In March, Cook County prosecutors dropped three murder charges against Runge, citing the recent abolishment of the death penalty.

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