Today in History: 20th Anniversary of Brown’s Chicken Massacre
Among the seven victims were a husband and wife from Arlington Heights who owned the Brown's Chicken and Pasta in Palatine, and five people from Palatine, including two teenagers, who also were employees of the restaurant.
On January 8, 1993, seven people were murdered in the Brown’s Chicken and Pasta restaurant that was once stood at the northeast corner of Northwest Highway and Smith Street in Palatine.
The restaurant was razed in 2001, and today, a Chase Bank occupies the corner.
The victims included, according to the Chicago Examiner, owners and husband and wife, 49-year old Lynn Ehlenfeldt and Richard Ehlenfeldt, 50, both of Arlington Heights, and Palatine residents and employees Guadalupe Maldonado, 46, Thomas Mennes, 32, and 31-year-old Marcus Nellsen.
Juan Luna and James Degorski, former Fremd High School students in Palatine, were arrested in 2002 for committing the murders. A former girlfriend of Degorski came forward and told authorities both men had confessed to being responsible for the crimes.
The murders occurred just after 9 p.m., the Daily Herald reported, 20 years ago today, in 1993. The bodies weren’t discovered until early on January 9. All of victims were shot to death and left in the restaurant’s freezer.
Luna was sentenced to life in prison without parole in May of 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported, and The Huffington Post reported Degorski also received a life sentence in 2009. Both men were charged with seven counts of murder.
The motive for the murders was determined to be robbery. Luna and Degorski got way with less than $2,000.