On this day 30 years ago, seven people were gunned down during a robbery at Brown’s Chicken in Palatine on a cold January night.
On January 8, 1993, their bodies were discovered piled in a freezer.
All of the victims were employees of the restaurant, including the owners, Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.
Juan Luna and James Degorski were later identified as the assassins.
According to police, they waited until the restaurant was about to close before committing the deadly robbery for less than $2,000.
The men remained at large for years after the murders while a task force comprised of multiple police agencies pursued thousands of leads. Finally, nine years after the murders, a former girlfriend of Degorski came forward in 2002.
Luna was identified by DNA evidence found in a saliva sample from a chicken wing collected by a technician. DNA tracking was in its infancy at the time of the murders.
Luna and Degorski are both sentenced to life in prison. Though it took nine long years to bring them to justice, some believe that time allowed DNA evidence to advance to the point where they could be definitively linked to the crime.