BELLEVILLE — BELLEVILLE -- A St. Clair County jury on Thursday couldn't decide whether convicted killer Roger Burns is so sexually dangerous that he should be committed for treatment until a judge finds it is safe to release him.
Burns kidnapped a woman from a Belleville coin laundry in 1965, then raped, murdered and mutilated her. Four months later he kidnapped a woman from a Belleville gas station and stuffed her in the trunk of her own car before she escaped. He admitted the crime.
Burns, now 70, served his sentence and was paroled on Nov. 3, 2008.
After his release, he lived in a veteran's home in McHenry County for a year before a social worker found his behavior so disturbing that she notified Burns' parole officer. They also discovered the lie Burns told of his military service that allowed him to live at the home.
The Illinois attorney general's office filed a petition in civil court to find Burns a "sexually violent person" and commit him to the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services until a judge orders his release.
On Thursday night, 10 jurors said he was sexually violent, but two said he wasn't. The verdict had to be unanimous in order for him to be committed for treatment.
"I greatly appreciate the jury working hard to reach a verdict," said Tom Cannady, Burns' lawyer. "It turned out to be deadlocked."
After the verdict, Burns was returned to the Rushville Correctional Center.
A state psychologist found that Burns lies "expeditiously and frequently ... to improve his situation."
Burns told a therapist that he served with Special Forces in Vietnam, claiming that he received a field court martial after he killed four Viet Cong prisoners. Burns was actually dishonorably discharged from Scott Air Force Base when he was 22.
But that lie made him eligible to move into the veterans' home after he was paroled from prison in November 2008.
While he was there, Burns called the home's social worker outside to see a dead opossum that he said he scared to death. While with the social worker, he kept repositioning the animal and said he wanted to take pictures of it, according to a state report.
He also began paying attention to a young woman who worked as a secretary at the veterans home, giving her a birthday card with a questionable message inside.
Burns told a therapist who interviewed him when he was facing charges for the 1965 murder of Rosann Elizabeth Curran that he fantasized about sticking pins in the breasts of large-busted women, then choking them. He later told the therapist 45 years later that he had lied about that in hopes it could be used to build an insanity defense.
Curran, 34, of Belleville, was abducted from a Belleville coin laundry. Burns told police that he took her to his trailer and attempted to rape her, but when she fought back, Burns said he shot her. Burns dumped her body near Green Mount Road about five miles outside Belleville. He went back the next day and cut off her breasts with a paring knife.
Four months later, Burns whacked a woman in the back of the head with a rubber mallet at a Belleville gas station where he worked. Burns stuffed her into the trunk of her Corvair. The victim was able to escape.
Burns later pleaded guilty to Curran's murder. He was sentenced to 199 years in prison, but was paroled after serving 43 years.
While in prison, Burns earned two college degrees, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average.
He also befriended serial killer Richard Speck, who was convicted of raping and murdering eight nursing students in Chicago, according to a psychologist who interviewed Burns. The two set up a still in the basement of the Menard Correctional Center and sold moonshine to inmates, according to the psychologist.
Speck died in 1991.
In 2008, Burns scored low on one of the risk assessment tests to determine whether he was likely to re-offend in the community, according to one psychologist's report, but the report stated his score was lowered because of his age. The psychologist testified in 2008 that she believed Burns is a sexual sadist and that condition does not reduce as a function of age.
If Burns is found to be a sexually violent person, a judge will review his progress in six months, then annually. Less than 10 percent of those found to be sexually dangerous people have been released.
If Burns is committed as a sexually violent person, treatment is optional. Half of the residents opt to participate in the treatment that uses group therapy as the preferred treatment, according to the Department of Human Services. Treatment also consists of 7 1/2 to 15 hours in a sex offenders' group and three hours in other groups, such as anger management.
The goal of treatment is to decrease the risk of re-offending at the facility and also in the community.
No date has been set for a retrial.