Convicted of double murder in 1970, Henry Hillenbrand was denied parole for the eighth time by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on Thursday.

Henry Hillenbrand, a convicted double murderer who escaped from jail in LaSalle County and lived for more than a decade as a free man before being recaptured, was denied parole for the eighth time by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on Thursday.

The board unanimously agreed to wait another three years before reconsidering their decision.

Prisoner Review Board Member Milton Maxwell reported his findings to the board and said, 'Based upon the gravity of this case, in which the lives of innocent individuals were snuffed out ... Mr. Hillenbrand's actions have left the deep and indelible mark on the family of the loved ones remaining.'

Hillenbrand, now 60, is serving simultaneous prison sentences of 80 to 240 years for the murder of Patty Pence and 50 to 150 years for the murder of George Evans, both of Streator.

Virgil Evans, brother of George, said he's glad Hillenbrand's parole was denied. He said his mother and father worry about Hillenbrand being on the street.

'Usually when they (convicted murderers) get out, they do the same thing they did before,' said Evans, who is retired from the Illinois Department of Corrections. 'He won't straighten up. He's better off where he's at.'

Hillenbrand pleaded guilty to the murders in 1970. Pence, 20, had been Hillenbrand's high school sweetheart, and they had a daughter together. Pence eventually broke up with him and started dating Evans, 22.

In June 1970, Hillenbrand followed Pence to the home of Evans' mother, broke into the home and shot Evans while he slept. Hillenbrand dragged Pence from the home, held her at gunpoint and drove away with her. He shot her several times and crushed her skull.

Just before his sentencing in November 1970, Hillenbrand escaped from the LaSalle County Jail using a hacksaw blade, according to his Prisoner Review Board file.

He eventually moved to Missouri, where he used the name Thomas Elliott.

During his 13 years of freedom, he married and fathered two sons. In 1983, Hillenbrand was detained at the Canadian border for trying to bring a bear skin into the United States. After a fingerprint check, he was arrested a few months later.

'I think it is particularly important to point out that despite any representation inmate Hillenbrand may be making to the review board, his past history speaks louder than his words,' Brian Towne said in a written statement. Towne is the state's attorney for LaSalle County.

State Rep. Careen Gordon, D-Morris, said in a written statement that parole of Hillenbrand would be a 'travesty of justice.'

Gordon also pointed out that Hillenbrand has served less than 50 percent of either sentence.

Thomas Elliott, son of Hillenbrand, said it's time to move on.

'He's 60 years old. He was in Missouri for 13 years and nothing happened,' Elliott said. 'It doesn't take but a moment to mess up a person's life. What does a person actually have to do to get anything more done?'

Charles Pence, 83, father of Patty, said that he's as happy as he can be regarding the prisoner review board decision.

'I am so glad he got what is coming to him,' Pence said. 'I hope it goes that way when I am dead and gone.' Pence said.

Meagan Sexton can be reached at (217) 782-6882 or