Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Statement From State’s Attorney Berlin Regarding Paul Runge
More than ten years ago, Paul Runge brutally took the life of sisters Dzeneta and Amela Pasanbegovic who had recently come to the United State’s from Bosnia in search of a better life. In addition to the murders of these two young women, Mr. Runge also viciously murdered five other women including the brutal rape and murder of a Chicago woman and her ten-year-old daughter. For that crime, Mr. Runge was found guilty and sentenced to death.
In March of this year, Governor Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois and in doing so, commuted the death sentence of Mr. Runge, and fourteen other men, to natural life in prison.
In light of the fact that Illinois no longer has the death penalty and Mr. Runge has been sentenced to serve the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole for previous crimes, I have reluctantly decided not to pursue any further action against Mr. Runge. I have consulted with family members of Dzeneta and Amela as well as members of my staff before reaching this decision.
I do not take this action lightly as I know that to some it may appear as if Mr. Runge has, in essence, gotten away with murder since he will not be punished for the murders of Dzeneta and Amela.
While this may appear to be the case, the fact is, Mr. Runge will spend the rest of his life behind bars. 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.
With this in mind, I have determined that it would not be a prudent use of the resources of the State’s Attorney’s Office to move forward on a case that will, because of the abolition of the death penalty, carry no real consequences for the defendant.