'Pine village massacre' killer released from prison, moves near elementary school

A 77-year-old man convicted of killing five people at an Illinois restaurant in 1972 was granted parole late last week and then moved across the street from an elementary school, prompting the school district to issue a community alert.

Carl Reimann left prison last Thursday after spending more than 45 years behind bars. The mass killer was sprung after the Illinois Prisoner Review Board granted him parole.

The Illinois State Police Murder and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry listed his new address in the 700 block of South Seventh Street in La Grange, Ill. – across the street from the Seventh Avenue Elementary School.

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Upon learning that Reimann would be moving across the street, the La Grange School District 105 issued a warning to parents and families in the community, Patch.com reported.

“The police department is aware of this fact and is working closely with the schools to plan for increased presence during school arrival and dismissal times,” the district said in a statement. “We have contacted the Illinois Department of Corrections, chief of paroles, to express our concerns about his residence being in such close proximity to our school.

On Dec. 29, 1972, Reimann and his then-girlfriend, Betty Piche, entered Pine Village restaurant in Yorkville with the intention of robbing it. The situation escalated when Reimann pulled out a .32 caliber semiautomatic handgun and shot five people nearby, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Customers David Gardner, 35, and Bob Loftus, 48, bartender John Wilson, 48, dishwasher Catherine Rekate, 16, and cook George Pashade, 75, were killed.

Reimann and Piche were stopped by police soon after the shooting in Morris, about 20 miles away. He was sentenced to 50 to 150 years for each murder, plus additional time for armed robbery, to be served concurrently.

Piche was also convicted and was granted parole in 1983.

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The Illinois parole board granted his parole last week after an 8-to-4 vote.

The news of his parole was met with dismay from Bruce Rekate, whose sister Catherine was one of the victims. He told the Chicago Tribune he was ashamed of and angry at the parole board.

“This man is free,” he said. “Them five victims never got to be free no more. They don’t get to walk this earth. Why should this man?”

Former Kendall County sheriff and Yorkville Police Chief Richard Randall, who was one of the first officers on the scene the night of the shooting, said he was shocked by the parole board’s decision.

“The person who committed the crime will be walking free … That’s difficult to understand and comprehend,” he told the Tribune.