Libertyville’s Own ‘American Horror Story’

The infamous “Murder Mansion” in unincorporated Libertyville has been the center of attention for the Discovery Channel’s affiliate station Investigation Discovery in order to film a documentary that will most likely air early in 2015.

William (Billy) Rouse 15 years later after having murdered his mother and father Bruce and Darlene Rouse in 1980.

Public Records

William (Billy) Rouse 15 years later after having murdered his mother and father Bruce and Darlene Rouse in 1980.

Jasmine Turner, Staff Writer

The Discovery Channel’s affiliate station, Investigation Discovery, is investigating the dubbed “Murder Mansion” in unincorporated Libertyville where Bruce and Darlene Rouse were brutally murdered by their son on June 5, 1980.

 Stephanie Hill, an associate producer for Sirens Media, asked the village’s Board of Trustees on Oct. 14 for permission to film on the property through the 17. The footage would include snippets of real-life roads, village signs, neighborhood streets, and local landmarks. According to the Libertyville Review, Hill said as a public statement that  the documentary needs a mix of real-life footage and digital imaging.

“We’re establishing the setting as a suburban area near Chicago and in or by an All-American town where these things had never happened before,” Hill said. “Part of the story also touches on how the murder shocked the town.”

Bruce and Darlene Rouse were self-made millionaires who took up residence in a 13-bedroom mansion in unincorporated Libertyville  at 2057 N. Milwaukee Ave., a few blocks north of Route 137. Owning a chain of gas stations and cable services, they became prominent members of the Libertyville community. They had three children, Kurt, Robin, and Billy, ages 20, 17, and 15, respectively.

According to the, None of the children confessed to the murder at the time. However, Robin, then 17, said that she believed one of her brothers had done it; she failed to mention which one, however. All of the children moved on with their lives and received $300,000 each in life insurance.

The case eluded police for many years. Billy Rouse, the youngest of the children, after spending his fortune away on drugs and alcohol, living from couch to couch, and having been arrested multiple times, later confessed on camera to the murder of Bruce and Darlene Rouse.

Billy Rouse was convicted in August of 1996, 16 years after the murder, and sentenced to 80 years in prison for murdering his mother and his father .

According to Billy Rouse’s recollection of the night, Billy recalled the night as having gotten into  what seemed like a recurring fight with his mother after she came home to smell alcohol on him. Nonetheless, this time Darlene threatened to send Billy to military school.

Feeling like he wasn’t good enough, Billy felt like he had to get rid of his mother. At 2:30 a.m. Billy Rouse took his father’s shotgun and fatally shot his mother in the face and then proceeded to shoot, stab, and beat his father.

This was not the end of the “Rouse house saga.” The new owners of the mansion created just as many problems. Members of the Chicago mob opened up a cocktail lounge and casino shortly after. According to the Chicago Tribune, In 1983, bookkeeper Robert Plummer was strangled and beaten to death on the stairway for working for a rival organization. The mansion was now dubbed “Murder Mansion.”

The infamous house did not stay out of the spotlight for long, though. In 2002, the house mysteriously burned down when the then-residents of the house were away on vacation. No evidence was found of arson.

The story of the “Murder Mansion” will appear on the Investigative Channel as a documentary. According to the notes recorded at the Libertyville Board meeting on Oct 14, the producers of the show have met some resistance from the Board of Trustees and the mayor of Libertyville.

Mayor Terry Weppler has encouraged the associate producer to be cautious as to how she is portraying the town of Libertyville.

“You’re talking about taking pictures of our signage, which to us will read ‘Welcome to Libertyville, the place where we have murders and Mafia-run gambling houses,’” Mayor Terry Weppler told associate producer Stephanie Hill, according to the Libertyville Review. “That was not the case and has not been the case in any time frame since then either.”

Mayor Weppler reiterated the point to Drops of Ink that it was important the term “unincorporated Libertyville” was stressed on the aired documentary.

“I just want to make sure it is made clear that these events happened in unincorporated Libertyville,” Mayor Terry Weppler said. “Reality TV is not always real, and it tends to dramatize a place or situation. We were recently named one of the top 20 safest towns in Illinois. We like being perceived that way.”

Mayor Weppler went on to say that the filming done by Sirens Media went smoothly and should stay true to his requests on air. When the show is finished, it will air early in 2015.