Gun Rights Advocate Knew His Murderer

Death of 82-year-old Carl Kuhn was originally thought to be natural causes

By BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009  |  Updated 3:35 PM CDT
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Kuhn Was Friends With His Killer

Terry Bratcher (L), Keith Allen (R) are charged with killing 82-year-old Carl Kuhn by suffocating him with a pillow during an attempted robbery.

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The retired attorney who was smothered to death in his own home had a friendly relationship with his killers.

Carl Kuhn, 82, was allegedly murdered by a former client, Terry Bratcher, and an accomplice, Keith Allen, so they could steal his impressive gun collection.

Bratcher knew about the 43 guns because he was a regular visitor to Kuhn’s home.

"My dad trusted him," Eric Kuhn, 47, the oldest of three sons told the Chicago Tribune. "The hardest part of this whole thing is this wasn't someone who just wanted to steal my father's guns or someone who just wanted money.  They didn't kick open the door.  My father opened it and let them in."

Bratcher, a former client of the retired defense attorney, had developed a close relationship with Kuhn and often showed up to his home unannounced to work on his cars or take him out to the movies.

He often entered Kuhn’s home without knocking.

Bratcher didn’t knock on Friday when he and an accomplice sneaked into the home and allegedly killed Kuhn.  They forced Kuhn to an upstairs bedroom and smothered him to death, then burglarized the home, police said.

Judge George Bakalis on Tuesday set bond at $3 million for Allen, a 21-year-old Chicago man.  DuPage County authorities said Allen confessed to the murder.  Bond was denied for Bratcher, a 43-year-old from West Chicago.

The crime was originally thought to be a death by natural causes but was labeled a homicide just days later.

Because the murder was carried out during the commission of another felony, the defendants may be subject to the death penalty, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing the state's attorney's office. First-degree murder carries a minimum sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison.

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