Three Murder Charges Dropped Against Accused Serial Killer

Recent abolishment of death penalty left no other option, officials say

Cook County prosecutors Tuesday dropped three murder charges against alleged serial killer Paul Runge, citing the recent abolishment of the death penalty.

"In light of the state’s recent decision to abolish the death penalty in Illinois, the State’s Attorney's Office reluctantly concluded that with the death penalty no longer an option for Runge in these brutal murders, there was no other course of action but to drop the remaining murder charges in these cases,” the office said in a statement.

"This decision was made only after consultation with the family members of the victims in these cases."

The murder charges dropped against Runge involve the 1995 slaying of Stacy Froebel and the 1997 murders of Dorothy Dziubak and Kazimera Paruch, authorities said.

Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski dismissed the cases Tuesday after prosecutors dropped the charges, according to office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Simonton had no additional details.

Runge, 41, was taken off Death Row with 14 others earlier this month when Gov. Quinn singed a bill repealing the death penalty in Illinois.

But he will have to serve life in prison for the sexual assault and murders of Northwest Side resident Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her daughter, Jessica Muniz, 10, in 1997.

Authorities believe Runge is responsible for some additional murders in DuPage county.

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