Charges dropped in 1995 murder of sisters

August 24, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The DuPage County State's attorney said Wednesday he decided to drop the charges because Illinois no longer has a death penalty.

Runge, 41, formerly of Carol stream, is accused in the brutal rape and murder of sisters Dzeneta and Amela Pasanbegovic in Hanover Park in July of 1995. After consulting with the Pasanbegovic family, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin decided to drop the case.

"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," Berlin said in a statement.

If prosecutors moved ahead in the Pasanbegovic murders, Runge would not receive any additional punishment. Berlin writes, "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."

In March, another case against Runge was also dropped by Cook County prosecutors.

Runge is already serving life in prison for the rape and murder of a Chicago mother and daughter. He was originally sentenced to death, but when Governor Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty, Runge's sentence was commuted, along with that of 14 other men. They will all spend their natural life in prison.

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