A man who inherited millions when his parents were murdered 16 years ago was convicted Saturday of killing them over an argument about drug use.
William Rouse, 31, was 15 when he shot his parents in the bedroom of their mansion. He faces life in prison. Both a sister and older brother were home that night; police never learned what happened from either sibling.
The June 6, 1980 murder of Bruce and Darlene Rouse went unsolved until Rouse was picked up by Florida police last fall as a robbery suspect.
He was living on a houseboat in Key West, having squandered his share of the $2 million fortune his father made with a chain of gas stations.
In a videotaped confession, Rouse said he killed his parents after a confrontation with his mother over his drug use in which she threatened to send him to military school.
As his parents slept, Rouse crept into the bedroom with a shotgun and shot his mother point-blank, then turned the gun on his awakened father, clubbing and stabbing him as well.
During the trial, Rouse’s lawyer claimed the confession was coerced and suggested Rouse’s older brother was the real killer.
Kurt Rouse, 36, took the witness stand and denied killing his parents. Their sister Robin died in a 1983 car accident.
“There was a long time between the crime and the guilty verdict,” prosecutor Michael Waller said. “But justice was finally done in this case.”
Waller did not to seek the death penalty because of Rouse’s age at the time of the murders.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.