40 year unsolved murder of Jay Rockefeller's twin sister in law? WTF?

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My heart goes out to this family tragedy, but am I the only one that is confused about how the F this is possible?

Jay Rockefeller, like the 10th most powerful man in the country is still offering a $100K reward for info?  I mean not for nothing but he uses like $100K in stolen water ontracts to flush his toilet.

UPDATE: correction...Jay is offering $0.00. The Percy's are offering the $100K.

Percy Killing: The Forty Year File
Friday, September 15, 2006 | 7:39 AM
  By Chuck Goudie

September 14, 2006 (WLS) -- Since 1966, investigators have been trying to solve one of metro Chicago's most mysterious and notorious crimes: the murder of Valerie Percy. Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has new information on one of the longest unsolved murders in Illinois history.

Forty years ago, Charles Percy was the golden boy for Illinois Republicans. He had one eye on the U.S. Senate and one on the White House. Percy had wealth, ambition and twin daughters who returned from college the summer of '66 to campaign. But only one of the Percy twins lived to see Election Day. For the first time in 40 years, we hear from the twin who was spared.

"We were identical twins, so I feel like she's pretty much a carbon copy, or we were carbon copies of each other. Everything changed that day and nothing has really ever been the same," said Sharon Percy Rockefeller.

Sharon Percy Rockefeller still tries to comprehend the nightmare she was awakened by on the morning of September 18, 1966. Inside her family's sprawling mansion, perched above the beach on Lake Michigan, her twin sister Valerie lay dying.
Story continues below

"It wasn't possible. I didn't know what people were talking about," said Sharon. "The last time I saw her was midnight, and I had returned her raincoat to a closet which belonged to her in her bedroom and she was already asleep. And I said good night Val, and she murmured good night. I mean, she heard me and then around 5 o'clock the tragedy happened."

Tragedy began when someone used a glass cutter on the Percy back door and found his way to Valerie's second floor room. She was stabbed and beaten to death.

For 40 years the killer's identity and motive eluded federal state and local investigators whose best clue was a bloody palm print, the killer's glove and this sketch of a possible suspect.

Twenty-one-year old Valerie Jeanne Percy had graduated from Cornell that summer and was two days away from postgraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. In the days leading up to her murder she was campaigning alongside her father.

"Val was going downtown all summer, so she was riding the el, she was walking to the office and she was out campaigning," Sharon said.

Chuck Percy had already made his fortune as the head of Bell and Howell Corporation, had run unsuccessfully for Illinois governor and was beginning a career in national politics.

The murder of his daughter put the campaign on hold, but when several weeks passed without an arrest or even a solid suspect, Percy resumed campaigning. At stake was a highly coveted Senate seat about to be snatched from the incumbent Democrat Paul Douglas. Percy won the election and went on to serve in the Senate until his defeat in 1984.

For years, the investigation went no where. Then in 1973 a newspaper series pinned the murder on a ring of mob sponsored home invaders looking to steal silver and jewels. Even though the Sun-Times series won a Pulitzer prize, there was a problem with that theory: nothing had been stolen from the Percy home.

"Was it burglary, heck no. This person went there to kill Valerie Percy, and that's my belief 40 years ago, and that's my belief today, 40 years later," said Joseph Dileonardi.

Joe Dileonardi knows murder. The former Chicago police superintendent was an Area 6 homicide cop in 1966 called into the Percy case when Kenilworth realized the murder was more than it could handle.

"She was found Sunday at 5 a.m. We got there Monday morning and it was 24 hours old, and we get to the crime scene and there was none, no crime scene, the room where she was murdered was completely renovated. You cannot conduct a homicide investigation like this," said Dileonardi.

"If this crime were to happen today, you would have a group of people who would immediately begin investigating. There would be no delay, there would be no chaos involved in trying to figure out who's going to investigate what or who is going to be part of the investigation," said Sgt. David Miller.

"This was not a burglar, nothing was touched, not a thing was touched in that house," said Joseph Dileonardi. "A burglar would not strike a victim 14 times, a stick up person does not strike a victim 14 times. the other motive, the last motive, was revenge and that's what I think happened to Valerie Percy."

Today, the tragedy of Valerie Percy remains a mostly inactive, but an open murder investigation and clues that could still crack the case sit in storage in Kenilworth.

"In 2002, we did a complete inventory and review of the evidence. All of it was analyzed for suitability for testing with modern forensic techniques and testing was initiated and continues to this day with the hope that some additional DNA evidence will be produced," said Sgt. David Miller.

"It's been a source of sadness all our lives, but we have also had fortunate lives and lucky lives in other ways, and I think understanding the balance is important too," said Sharon Percy Rockefeller.

Within a year of the murder, twin Sharon would marry and move to West Virginia to support another political career, that of her husband Jay Rockefeller. Today, the couple have four children, including a daughter named Valerie.

Sharon Percy Rockefeller has worked for women's causes, serves on corporate and charitable boards, and has led public broadcasting's Washington affiliate the past 18 years.

"I think I have probably tried to live for two," Sharon said. "I have had every year a sort of celebration on September 18 for my family, I have brought them together. I visit her grave every time I go to Chicago, send flowers. You just want to remember the person."

In 1966 the Percy family posted a $50,000 reward for the name of the killer. Unfortunately, no one has ever provided information to crack the case and claim the money.

In Valerie's memory, the Percy family tells ABC7 that they will pay a $100,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the killer -- someone who has gotten away with murder for 40 years.


Valerie Percy, 14,000 interviews

"I don't have a political machine," Charles Percy, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, had joked at a rally one September evening in 1966, "but my daughter Valerie does, so I depend on her to get out the workers." On Sept. 18, around 5 a.m., Percy was asleep in his suburban Kenilworth mansion when his wife, Loraine, heard moans. Investigating, she surprised a man bending over her stepdaughter's bed. Mrs. Percy screamed and woke her husband. The intruder fled, but Valerie, brutally stabbed and bludgeoned, died before a doctor could reach her.

In the past 10 years police and FBI agents have interviewed some 14,000 people, tracked down more than 1,300 potential leads and administered no fewer than 58 lie detector tests in their effort to capture Valerie's killer. But while at least two known criminals have been named as suspects in the case, no arrests have been made, and none appears imminent.

Authorities theorize that Valerie—the 21-year-old twin of Sharon Percy, wife of West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jay Rockefeller—was murdered by a member of a housebreaking gang. Their principal clue is a record of a mysterious call, made four months before the crime, from a phone on the Percy estate to a South Side Chicago meat market. (Because of the political campaign, the Percy home was often accessible to the public Rugendorf, operator of the market and an accused crime-syndicate fence, denied ever receiving the call. Later Rugendorf testified that a cat burglar named Frank Hohimer—who had previously turned state's evidence against Rugendorf—had privately admitted murdering Valerie. Rugendorf repeated the charge in a death-bed statement to a reporter. He was joined in his accusation by Hohimer's brother, Harold Wayne, who tried to claim the $50,000 reward once offered by the Percys.

Hohimer, now serving a 30-year prison sentence for his part in a $200,000 Denver, Colo, jewel robbery, implicated another burglar, Frederick Mal-chow, in the Percy slaying. He told reporters in 1973 that Malchow and two partners had showed up at his Chicago apartment after the murder and that he had disposed of Malchow's bloody clothing in the building's incinerator. Later Hohimer recanted. Malchow was killed in 1967 when he fell from a bridge after a prison break in Norristown, Pa. Fellow escapee and former cellmate Harold Evans was recaptured two years later and told police that Malchow had confessed the murder to him.

Cook County State's Attorney Bernard Carey has concluded that Hohimer and Malchow represent the "best solution" to the Percy mystery. Hohimer's memoirs, The Home Invaders—Confessions of a Cat Burglar, were published last year. He insisted he was innocent of Valerie Percy's murder.
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Charles H. Percy
Born: 27-Sep-1919
Birthplace: Pensacola, FL

Religion: Christian Science
Party Affiliation: Republican

Executive summary: US Senator from Illinois, 1967-85


Military service: US Navy (1943-45)


Father: Edward Percy; Mother: Elizabeth Hartings
Wife1: Jeanne Dickerson (m. 1941, d. 1947); Wife2: Loraine Guyer (m. 1950)

Daughter: Valerie (twin, b. 1944, d. 18-Sep-1966, murder); Daughter: Sharon Percy Rockefeller (twin, b. 1944); Son: Roger (b. 1946); Daughter: Gail (b. 1953); Son: Mark (b. 1955)


High School: New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL (1937)
University: University of Chicago (1941)


    US Senator, Illinois 1967-85

    Bell and Howell President and CEO, 1949-1963


    Member of the Council on Foreign Relations


    American Academy of Diplomacy
    Kennedy Center Trustee Emeritus
    Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity
    Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity

Daughter: Sharon Percy Rockefeller


Executive summary: CEO of WETA Public Broadcasting

Father: Charles H. Percy (US Senator from Illinois); Mother: Jeanne Dickerson
Sister: Valerie (her twin, d. 18-Sep-1966 murder)
Husband: Jay Rockefeller (US Senator, m. 1967, three sons, one daughter)


University: BA, Stanford University

    Administrator: Trustee, National Cathedral School, Washington, DC
    Administrator: Trustee, University of Chicago (past)
    Administrator: Trustee, Stanford University (past)
    Administrator: Trustee, George Washington University (past)
    Administrator: Trustee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

    WETA President & CEO (1989-)
    Member of the Board of Pepsi (1986-)
    Member of the Board of PBS
    Member of the Board of Sotheby's
    Member of the Board of WETA (1973-89, as Chairman 1985-89)

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Trustee
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    EMILY's List
    Federal City Council Trustee
    New Leadership for America PAC
    Museum of Modern Art Trustee
    Phillips Collection Trustee
    Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
    Smithsonian Institution Trustee, Smithsonian Associates
    US National Gallery of Art Trustee
    Rockefeller Family by marriage


Jay Rockefeller - Son-in-law of Charles Percy

AKA John Davison Rockefeller IV

Party Affiliation: Democratic

Father: John D. Rockefeller III; Mother: Blanchette F. Hooker; Rockefeller Family


High School: Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH (1954)
    University: International Christian University, Tokyo (three years of Japanese)
    University: BA Far Eastern Languages and History, Harvard University (1961)

Member of the Trilateral Commission


Member of the Council on Foreign Relations


Alfalfa Club President, 1997-99


Governor of West Virginia 1977-85


US Senator, West Virginia 1985-

Alliance for Health Reform Board of Directors
Close Up Foundation Board of Advisors
New Leadership for America PAC

Official Website: http://rockefeller.senate.gov/



Charles H. Percy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charles Harting "Chuck" Percy (born September 27, 1919) was chairman of the Bell & Howell Corporation from 1949 to 1964 and United States Senator from Illinois from 1967 to 1985. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Bell & Howell

Percy was born in Pensacola, Florida, the son of Edward H. Percy and Elizabeth (nee Harting) Percy. His father, a native of Alabama, was an automobile salesman and his mother, born in Illinois, was a musician. The family moved to Chicago when he was an infant. As a child, he was notable for his entrepreneurial energy, and often held several jobs at once while also attending school. In the mid-1930s, his pluck brought him to the attention of his Sunday school teacher, Joseph McNabb, the president of Bell & Howell, which was then a small camera company.

Percy completed high school at New Trier High School. After Percy graduated from the University of Chicago(where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi) in 1941, he went to work full time for Bell & Howell, and within a year he was made a director of the company. Percy served three years in the United States Navy during World War II, and returned to the company in 1945.

During the war, Percy married Jeanne Dickerson, who died in 1947. Percy, with three children to care for, remarried three years later, to Loraine Guyer.

After Joseph McNabb died in 1949, Percy was made the president of Bell & Howell. During Percy's presidency, company sales grew 32-fold, employment grew 12-fold, and the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange.


Illinois politics

In the late 1950s, Percy decided to enter politics. With the encouragement of then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Percy helped write Decisions for a Better America, which proposed a set of long-range goals for the Republican Party. Percy was then made the chair of the platform committee at the 1960 Republican National Convention. He was considered one of the more liberal Republicans.

Percy's first foray into electoral politics was a run for governor of Illinois in 1964, which Percy narrowly lost to Democratic incumbent Otto Kerner. During his gubernatorial campaign, Percy reluctantly endorsed Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, his future Senate colleague, who fared poorly in Illinois.


Member of U.S. Senate

In 1966, Percy's second attempt, a run for senator from Illinois, succeeded when he upset incumbent Democratic senator Paul Douglas (a former professor of Percy's at the University of Chicago) with 56% of the vote. During that campaign, Percy's daughter Valerie was murdered at the family home in mysterious circumstances, apparently by an intruder, and campaigning was suspended for two weeks. Valerie Percy's murder has never been solved, despite a long investigation. [1] The incident caused CBS to postpone, and eventually cancel, an airing of the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho.

In 1967 Senator Percy introduced a bill which would establish a program to stimulate production of low-cost housing. Percy's proposal was the first of its kind to provide home ownership to low-income families, and it received strong support from Republicans in both the House and the Senate. When the senator was asked why he selected housing as the object of his first major legislative proposal, he said the following, "Of all the problems I ran across during three years of campaigning, first for the governorship and then for the Senate, the most appalling in their consequences for the future seemed to be the problems of the declining areas of the city and countryside, the inadequacy of housing."

In 1978, as Percy was completing his second term, he appeared undefeatable.[2] Percy was considered so strong that the Democratic party was unable to entice any serious candidates to challenge Percy.[3] Emerging from the Democratic primary was the truly dark horse candidate, Alex Seith, who had never before sought elected office. The highlight of Seith's political experience was serving on the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals for twelve years, nine of those years as chairman. However, Percy's reputation as a Rockefeller Republican, contrasted with Seith's ostensible hard-line foreign policy positions, combined to make Percy suddenly vulnerable in the weeks before the election. Sensing his improbable loss, Percy went on television only days before the polling, and with tear-filled eyes pleaded with Illinoisians to give him another chance. He said, "I got your message and you're right . . . I'm sure that I've made my share of mistakes, but your priorities are mine."[4] He won re-election by a 54% to 46% margin.

Percy served in the Senate until 1984, when he was narrowly defeated for re-election by the liberal Congressman Paul Simon.

While in the Senate, Percy was active in the areas of business and international affairs. He was in the moderate wing of the Republican Party, and explored the possibility of running for President in 1968 and 1976, but dropped out both times, supporting the unsuccessful attempt of Nelson Rockefeller to gain the Republican nomination in 1968, and the successful attempt of President Gerald Ford to obtain the Republican nomination in 1976. During the early 1970s he clashed with President Richard Nixon and criticized the U.S. conduct of the war in Vietnam.

Perhaps Percy's most important act, and his longest-lasting legacy, was his elimination of the corrupt, or at least corrupting, practice of nominating federal judges from the Chicago political machine. Instead, he implemented a system of consultation with and advice from several groups. One of his nominees, John Paul Stevens, went on to serve on the United States Supreme Court. See here a contemporary news article describing Percy's system, novel at the time.

Percy's daughter Sharon, Valerie's twin sister, is the wife of Democratic United States Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia.

Charles Percy has three other children — Roger (born 1947), Gail (born 1953), and Mark (born 1955). Sharon, Valerie, and Roger were born to Percy's first wife (Jeanne), and Gail and Mark were born to his second wife (Loraine).

Percy is a Christian Scientist.

Police Search in Vain for Clues in Mystery Killing


KENILWOHTH, III. (AP) Kenilworlh's police chief said today all indications were that the slayer of Valerie Percy had broken into her home for no reason but "to harm a member of the family."


"Whether Valerie, 21, a twin, was the intended victim," Chief Robert M. Daley said, he did not know. "She simply may have been the first person the killer found," he said.


The daughter of Charles H. Percy, 47, onetime boy wonder of business and now Republican nominee for U.S. senator, was beaten and stabbed to death in her bed early Sunday morning while the Percys and two other children slept nearby.


The sleeping children included Valerie's twin, Sharon, and another sister, Gail, 13. The Percys' two boys were away. "All indications apparently are that the intruder went in to harm a member of the family, but I don't know which one," Daley said. Asked whether the killing might have been carried out by a burglar who had been discovered, Daley said, "as of this moment we know of nothing that was taken."


He said no accumulation of valuables, such as jewelry, was in the rambling Percy mansion overlooking Lake Michigan in this fashionable North Shore suburb of Chicago.


Percy's wife, Loraine, discovered the killing after hearing moans and going to Valerie's room to investigate. Tlie Percys' bedroom door was closed. Asked how the mother could have heard sounds with the door closed, Daley said that in the quiet of the nighl she would have heard them.


The search for clues thus far has yielded some scissors, a knife and an old moccasin. Daley said he placed no significance

on these items. The investigation, he said, was being handled by a team of four men from the Cook County state's attorney's office three agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and detectives from the Chicago Police Homicide Division and Crime Laboratory.


The FBI's status in the hunt is that of a cooperating agency, agents said. As yet there is no indication of any violation ot a

federal law which would give the FBI jurisdiction. Daley said all friends and acquaintances of the Percys, social, political and business, were being questioned in the hope of running across some lead to the killer. All phone calls to the police were being checked exhaustively.


U.S. Sen. Paul Douglas, Democrat, abruptly interupted his campaign for re-election in November and offered the Percys his condolences.


Police spent Sunday searching the 17-room home and grounds but turned up nothing significant. Question of family members, servants and friends also was unproductive. But Chicago police crime laboratory technicians are studying fingerprints, bed clothing, floor-sweepings and other physical evidence collected from the Percy home.


Inside, police were busy piecingtogether this story: The intruder approached the Percy home, situated on the, shore of Lake Michigan, apparently shortly before 5 a.m. Footprints in the sand indicate he may have come by way of the beach.


Using a sharp instrument he cut an opening in the locked! screen door, opened it. then cut a slice out of a glass panel of the inside door, unlocked it and entered the house.


The Percy family slept and a Labrador retriever in an attached garage did not bark. The intruder crept up a staircase. At the top landing were three doors. He chose Valerie's -whether accidentally or by design is not known."


Percy and his second wife, Loraine, the victim's stepmother, were sleeping in a bedroom about 35 feet from Valerie's. Mrs. Percy told police she was awakened by a moan. She got out of bed and walked into the hall, unaware that Valerie was dying of a crushed skull and more than a dozen stab wounds in her head, throat, chest and stomach. She was unaware, too, that the killer was still in the girl's bedroom.


As Mrs. Percy entered Valerie's bedroom she was blinded by a flashlight beam. She ran from the room screaming and pushed a burglar alarm button, awakening her husband.


Percy telephoned police, then went to Valerie's room. The killer had fled, apparently by the same route he had entered the house. Mrs. Percy telephoned a neighbor, Dr. Robert P. Hohf. Valerie was dead when he arrived.


Mrs. Percy was unable to describe the killer or even say whether it was a man or woman. No one has reported seeing anyone come or go, although two neighbors said they heard car tires squeal about the time the murderer fled. A pair of scissors and a shoe was found in the neighborhood, but they were not immediately linked to the case.


The rest of the story is full of questions. Dr. Andrew Toman, coroner of Cook County, said marks on Valerie's body indicated she struggled with the killer. But no sound was heard other than the moan.


Toman also said the "attacker obviously came into the house to murder someone." But Police Chief Daley was unwilling to commit himself to this theory or to one that the crime had started out as a burglary. While Toman said the murder was planned, no one came up with a motive. Daley said there was no indication of anyone having "hard feelings toward Valerie."


Valerie, a June graduate of Cornell University, had been working in her father's campaign. Police said they would question persons she had contacted during the political work. Percy's campaign manager Scott Cohen, said Percy is still in the race for senator but that campaigning will be suspended.


Sen. Douglas, telegraphing his condolences, said he too was calling off his campaign. Douglas's message was one of a thousand or more telegrams and telephone calls offering sympathy.


Percy's political career includes an unsuccessful try for the governorship of Illinois in 1964. He was chairman of the 1960 GOP National Committee Platform. He resigned as chairman of Bell & Howell Co when he ran for governor. He had become president and chief executive officer of the firm in 1949 at the age of 23.


Valerie, her twin Sharon, and their brother, Roger,19, were children of Percy's first marriage to Jeanne Dickerson who died in 1947.

Two other children, Gail, 13, and Mark, 11, were born during his second marriage.


The slaying shocked residents of Kenilworth, a community of fewer than 3,000. Neighbors, classmates and friends spoke of Valerie in glowing terms. "She was loved and admired by evervone in the community," said a neighbor, Mrs. Nelson D. Stoker.





Valerie Percy Murder


By David Krajicek





The Murder


In the predawn hush of a September Sunday in 1966, someone broke into a mansion on Lake Michigan outside Chicago, crept upstairs to a bedroom, and stabbed and bludgeoned a bright, pretty young woman named Valerie Jeanne Percy to death.

Valerie Percy
Percy was struck on the head and stabbed more than a dozen times. Her nightgown had been pulled up, exposing her nude torso.

Nothing was missing from the house. Jewelry and a wallet on the woman's dresser lay undisturbed, and the killer seemed to have navigated through the 17-room Tudor villa directly to the victim's bedroom.

Dr. Edward Kelliher, a crime psychiatrist in Chicago, told reporters, "The facts so far revealed indicate that the murderer knew Valerie and that he went to her home for the purpose of murdering her." He said the vicious nature of the slaying showed "the murderer wanted to attack her personally."

Everyone expected a rapid resolution to the homicide, given Valerie Percy's pedigree. She was the daughter of Charles Percy, and murder is not supposed to foul the lives of families of such stature. Chuck Percy, as everyone knew him, was a self-made Mr. America. The wunderkind businessman had been a millionaire CEO before age 30, a protégé of a president by 35, a United States senator at 47. Many believed he was destined for the White House.

Senator Chuck Percy
Smart and famously hardworking, Percy had leading-man looks and a hail-fellow manner that could disarm even the most cynical curmudgeon.

He lived on a three-acre lakeside estate in Kenilworth, Ill., Chicago's safest and most exclusive suburb, with his lovely wife and five well-mannered children—twins Valerie and Sharon, 21; Roger, 19; Gail, 13, and Mark, 11.

Percy estate, overhead view

Kenilworth cops were accustomed to burglaries, not murders. The tiny, mile-square city had not registered a single slaying in the 75 years since it was founded by Chicago retail magnate Joseph Sears.

And although Valerie Percy was one of 11,040 homicide victims in the United States in 1966, the investigation of her killing was different from the rest.

No Ordinary Investigation

Richard Nixon attended Valerie's funeral, and J. Edgar Hoover took a personal interest in bringing the murderer to justice. A battalion of federal, state and city investigators were assigned to help the Kenilworth police solve the case.

Kenilworth Police sign

Detectives looked for spurned lovers, jealous boyfriends, or resentful romantic third wheels. They found none. Immediate family members were questioned and judged to be beyond suspicion. The family's two servants, Frederick Millington and Henry Witting, were scrutinized but cleared.

Detectives pored over clues from other break-ins in wealthy Chicago suburbs, and city cops leaned hard on Chicago mobsters and housebreaking crews for leads. The FBI looked into Charles Percy's political opponents and business relationships. Friends and acquaintances were interrogated as well.

Law enforcers chased thousands of tips. Ultimately, it was all to no avail. No charges were brought.

Thirty-eight years later, the homicide that True Detective magazine once dubbed "America's No. 1 Murder Mystery" is still unsolved.

Today, the crime is also largely forgotten, mentioned in the Chicago newspapers only on the obit page when a crime reporter or cop who worked on the case dies.

Recently, comeuppance for Valerie Percy's killer has been advocated by an active Internet discussion group led by a police lieutenant from Maryville, Tenn. Group members have collected a vast archive of material about the crime, including newspaper clips, biographies and witness lists.

One participant, Peggy Lakin, 51, a writer from Pennsylvania, told Crime Library she is motivated by a sense that justice has not been done.

"I do believe it's important for those who commit violent crimes to realize that there are people who will not let it go, and they will never truly be free," Lakin said.

Two other participants in the group are relatives of Fred Malchow, a dead career criminal from Buffalo who was long ago accused in the Percy murder but was never officially named by law enforcers as the perpetrator.

The man's relatives, including his brother and a son, spoke out about the case for the first time, telling Crime Library they would like to see justice for Valerie Percy—and for Fred Malchow.


A Brief Life

Valerie Percy and her twin, Sharon, graduated from Joseph Sears Grade School in Kenilworth in 1958. While still in elementary school, they decided to establish their own identities. They stopped dressing alike and took separate bedrooms.

New Trier High School

The twins attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, an adjacent Chicago suburb. Each spent her junior year studying abroad in Europe, but Valerie went to Paris and Sharon to Switzerland. They graduated high school together in 1962.

The sisters went separate ways for college. Sharon headed to Stamford University, on the West Coast, while Valerie enrolled at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cornell University campus

Both were good students, and the attractive young women had active social lives. There are no indications that either girl was rebellious. "Sweet" is the adjective that friends and family often used to describe Valerie.

Valerie returned home soon after college graduation in the late spring of 1966 to help in their father's campaign for a United States Senate seat. Sharon went to Central African Republic for the summer to teach English, then joined her family just before Labor Day.

Sharon Percy, Valerie's sister
By then, Sharon was in love with Jay Rockefeller, scion of the wealthy family of American industrialists and politicians. Valerie was unattached, although she had plenty of admirers.

Jay Rockefeller
On the last night of her life, Valerie dined at home with her stepmother and two young friends and campaign workers, James Mann and Tully Friedman. She was in her bedroom by 10 p.m.
Sharon had borrowed a raincoat from Valerie for a date that Saturday night. She got home at about 11:30 and popped in on her sister to return the coat. Valerie was watching TV in bed. The sisters said goodnight for the last time, and Sharon retired to her own room.




  Shattered Glass

Loraine Percy stirred in bed at the sound of glass breaking at about 4:50 a.m. on Sunday, September 18, 1966. Half-awake, she considered the noise and decided that one of the Percy children had accidentally knocked a water glass off a nightstand. Ten minutes later, she was awakened again, this time by a baleful moan.

She got up and followed the sound down the hallway that connected the master bedroom with a row of three children's rooms perhaps 25 paces away. She paused at Sharon's door but realized the sound was coming from Valerie's room.

She went there, opened the door and was startled to see a man standing over Valerie's bed and shining a flashlight on her body, which was painted with wet blood from the top of her head to below her navel.

The intruder shone his light in Mrs. Percy's face, which limited her ability to describe him in detail. (She would later say he was a white man on the short side, roughly 5'8" and 160 pounds. He had dark hair and wore a checkered shirt.)

Sketch of suspect
Loraine Percy turned and ran back toward her bedroom, pausing to push a button that activated a siren-style burglar alarm outside the house. The burglar apparently followed her out of the room. He retraced his path through the house: down a circular staircase, through a hallway into the music room, and then out a french door onto the patio.

Loraine's screams awoke her husband, and the couple rushed back to Valerie's side. They sensed a faint pulse. Percy rushed to a phone and called the police emergency number.

Next door, medical doctor Robert Hohf and his wife, Nydia, were awakened by the shrill burglar alarm. Mrs. Hohf ran to the backyard to look for intruders but saw nothing.

Moments later, the couple's phone rang; it was Chuck Percy, urgently asking for the doctor to come help Valerie. Hohf pulled trousers over his pajamas and hurried to Valerie's room.

It was no use. Hohf walked downstairs, where the family had gathered in the living room. (Son Roger was away at college, and son Mark was sleeping over at a friend's house.) The doctor informed the Percys that Valerie was gone.

Later, Hohf would marvel at the family's composure in the face of such horror.

"They were marvelously controlled," he said. "They accepted. Then they tried to organize themselves for doing the many things that must be done. They withheld their great grief. They did not, through that long day, impose their grief on others."

The Evidence

Valerie Percy

An autopsy showed that Valerie had been bludgeoned up to four times on the head with a ball peen hammer, a fireplace poker or a similar instrument with a conical or triangular head.  She was stabbed as many as 14 times in the neck, chest and abdomen.

Her hands, knees and left foot bore signs of defensive wounds. She had died fighting.

Evidence showed the killer got in by cutting a screen, then scoring a door pane with a glasscutter—the crash that awakened Loraine Percy.

Cops scoured the property and came up with a number of potential clues: a moccasin, a glove, a bayonet, a pocket watch, a scissors blade and a rusty knife, although none of the objects was ever determined without doubt to have been left by the killer.

Likewise, police found bare footprints of nebulous origin on the beach. Investigators told reporters that they found a good-quality fingerprint on the broken glass, palm and fingerprints on Valerie's door and a stairway railing, and hair and fibers of indeterminate origin in her room.

In adherence to Illinois law, a coroner's inquiry was mounted to establish the cause of death. The inquiry seemed like cruel overkill given the results of the autopsy.

The Percy family

The Percy family had flown to California and gone into seclusion for nearly two weeks after the slaying. Friends said the family read religious tracts and took long walks together to salve their grief.


"Freshness and Sweetness"

The family dutifully returned to tell the coroner's jury of six men what they knew.

Sharon Percy repeated the story of returning the raincoat.

Stifling sobs, Loraine Percy, the only eyewitness, whispered that she "froze" when she found the man standing over Valerie's mortally wounded body. She also repeated the details she had given police earlier, including the vague description.

Chuck Percy testified that he arrived home just after midnight, following a campaign appearance. He said he and his wife watched TV for perhaps an hour, then retired.

Richard Speck

He was awakened by his wife's "scream of terror." He said his first impulse was to think of Richard Speck, the drifter who just two months before had slain eight nurses in a Chicago townhouse. Percy thought that perhaps the killer was still in the house, and he was concerned about the well-being of his other children, which is why he called the police emergency number. He said he also called Chicago Police Superintendent Orlando Wilson.

Orlando Wilson, Chicago police official

Percy said he was at a loss to explain a motive for Valerie's murder.

"She was the embodiment of freshness and sweetness," Percy said. "I don't know of any enemy that she had."

The six men deliberated for half an hour before reaching the obvious conclusion: the death was a homicide. They urged authorities to "continue their diligent search until the person is apprehended."

Police tracked leads down any number of blind alleys—crank calls threatening Percy, rumors about the syndicate, false confessions and sundry publicity hounds and sickos.

But the leads gradually began to dry up, and cops assigned to the Percy task force were pulled off for more pressing matters.

As the 18-month anniversary of the homicide approached and no solid suspect had turned up, Ill. Gov. Otto Kerner called a press conference to announce that jurisdiction for the investigation was being taken from Kenilworth police and given to the state police.

Governor Otto Kerner

At the same time, Sen. Percy announced that he was putting up a personal reward of $50,000. And Kenilworth Police Chief Edward Eggert, perhaps feeling pressure to explain why there had been no resolution of the murder, gave a numerical accounting of the failed probe.

"We have checked out 1,153 leads," he said. "In all, we have personally talked to about 8,000 persons in 48 states and five foreign countries—France, India, England, Africa and Canada. We have taken 439 finger- and palmprints and given voluntary polygraph tests to 41 subjects. As long as leads continue to come in, we're going to check them. We haven't solved the case yet, but we're sure going to keep trying."

Over time, though, the state police Percy Homicide Detail, as it was called, was assigned lower and lower priority as fresh crimes cropped up. The squad dwindled to four men, then two, then one. The last full-time investigator, Robert Lamb from the Illinois State Police, eventually was asked to spend most of his time on other cases.

Overcoming Grief

Two weeks after the murder, Chuck Percy announced that his family would get on with its life. He called a press conference together to say he would resume his Senate campaign.

"This is what I must do, and it is what my family wants me to do," he said. Six weeks later, he defeated incumbent Paul Douglas and moved his family to Washington. He sold the Kenilworth home, with its haunting memory.

Years later, he explained how he and his family had coped.

"We just didn't try to figure out why this happened," said Percy, a devoted Christian Scientist. "You just have to trust in the Lord and know you can adjust."

Percy went on to become a singular figure in the world of business and politics. He was a liberal-to-moderate Republican. During 20 years in Congress, he became a leader in international affairs as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Percy was born in 1919 in Pensacola, Fla., but raised and educated at public schools in Chicago and Winnetka.

Even as a boy, Percy had a knack for selling. At age 5, he got his first job as a magazine hawker. Two years later, he won a Chicago YMCA salesmanship award.

During high school in Winnetka, Percy earned more money than many of his classmates' parents by holding four jobs simultaneously. By the time he entered the University of Chicago, he had a net worth of $100,000, and his various business enterprises were grossing more than $150,000 a year.

Yet he yearned to follow in the footsteps of his father, an employee of Bell & Howell, the Chicago-based camera maker, so he took a summer job there, earning just $12 a week.

By the time he finished college, Bell & Howell had reserved a top-floor office for Percy. It was obvious he would be running the company one day—sooner rather than later. His graduation present was a directorship.


Fatal Operation

Percy married Jeanne Dickerson in 1941, and then put his career on hold to enlist in the Navy in 1943. His wife followed him to a posting in Alameda, CA, and in 1944 she gave birth in Oakland to twin daughters Sharon and Valerie. Percy was discharged as a lieutenant in 1945 and returned to Chicago, where Jeanne gave birth to their son, Roger, the following year.

Chuck Percy was raised in his mother's faith, First Church of Christ, Scientist, and he became an avid adherent.

Christian Scientists are known for eschewing medicine. Instead, they believe that healing comes from "God's infinite goodness, realized in prayer and action." The faith provides nurses to provide "spiritual reassurance and skillful, nonmedical physical care," including bathing, feeding and wound-dressing—but no "medical treatment."

After the births of her children, Jeanne Dickerson Percy developed an irritated bowel that was eventually diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. In 1947, Mrs. Percy, who was not a Christian Scientist, was urged by her doctor to undergo an operation to repair her damaged colon.

She apparently suffered a toxic reaction to drugs administered during the operation, and she died, leaving her husband with three toddlers.

Two years later, Percy met Loraine Guyer while on a ski vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho. They married in 1950. The couple would have two more children, Gail, born in 1953, and Mark, born in 1955.

Fresh out of the Navy, Percy was promoted to corporate secretary at Bell & Howell. And in 1947, the year that Jeanne died, he was named president and chief executive officer at age 29—in a gray-flannel era when experience, not youth, was prized.

Donald Bell and Albert Howell had founded the motion picture camera firm in 1907 in Chicago, then the nation's film capital. It had branched out into various optical and electronic equipment by the time Percy took charge, but within five years, he had transformed the 1,600-employee firm into a national corporate powerhouse with 10,000 employees and annual gross earnings of more than $160 million.

Employees and stockholders loved him, and many began to see political potential in the handsome Republican. His admirers came to include President Dwight Eisenhower, who became Percy's mentor and helped to guide him into politics.

Percy was appointed as Eisenhower's special ambassador to presidential inaugurations in Peru and Bolivia in 1956. With the president's encouragement, he served as chairman of the Republican Platform Committee in 1960.

He made his first run at office in 1964, challenging Democratic incumbent Otto Kerner for Illinois governor in 1964. He lost, but mounted a successful campaign for the Senate two years later -- the campaign during which his daughter was murdered.
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The Pulitzer Prize

After years of dormancy, the Percy murder investigation finally made news again in 1973, when the Chicago Sun-Times published a series of stories that named the reputed killer: a housebreaker named Frank Hohimer, 46.

Frank Hohimer

Hohimer was by then serving a 30-year federal prison term for a run of burglaries in Denver and Indianapolis. He was fingered as Percy's killer by his own brother, Harold, a used car salesman with a serious gambling problem, who told a Sun-Times reporter that Frank had confessed the crime to him.

The secondary sources cited in the stories were a prosecutor's nightmare. One was a Chicago crime syndicate figure who had died after giving an interview to the paper. Another was a jailbird who said that a cellmate had spilled the beans about the Percy case before he died during an escape attempt.  A third was a criminal's girlfriend who was bitter after being dumped.

Some observers suggested the $50,000 reward might have been a motivating factor for several of the squealers.

Frank Hohimer, who was writing a book about his crime exploits, agreed to an unusual jailhouse confrontation with his brother that was witnessed by at least one cop and two Sun-Times crime reporters, Arthur Petacque and Hugh Hough.

Hohimer denied killing the girl, and he offered an alternate suspect from the world of Chicago-based housebreakers: Fred Malchow, a career criminal from Buffalo who was, conveniently enough, dead.

The Sun-Times won a Pulitzer Prize for the reporting, but no criminal charge was brought against anyone named in the stories.

Frank Hohimer published his book, The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar, in 1975. It sold well and was the basis of a 1981 film, "Thief," starring James Caan.

Video cover: Thief

In 1991, Chicago Tribune reporters John O'Brien and Ed Baumann published a book, Getting Away With Murder, about unsolved Chicago-area homicides. Robert Lamb, the last full-time Perry investigator, told them, "To this day I am convinced that Freddie Malchow was the killer and that he acted alone."

And in a 1998 retrospective story about the historical accomplishments of the Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper wrote, "Police believed both Malchow and Hohimer were involved in the murder."

Yet the Kenilworth Police Department, which has grown rather testy about inquiries regarding Percy's murder, says the case is considered open and unsolved.

Some observers believe the Hohimer allegation stymied and sidetracked the Percy investigation. His fingering of Freddie Malchow could not be proved, so the probe was left dangling.

The Malchow Saga

Frederick Malchow

Before he died, Malchow "steadfastly" denied involvement in the case in his Pennsylvania jailhouse interview with the FBI, according to the O'Brien-Baumann book.

But a cellmate reportedly tipped authorities that Malchow was wringing his hands over a pair of pants at his home that were stained with blood—by implication, Valerie Percy's blood.

According to an often-repeated detail, authorities tracked down the pants but were unable to confirm whether the blood was human or animal—which seems absurd, even for 1967 crime forensics.

In 1970, a cellmate from the Pennsylvania jail stepped forward to claim that Malchow had confessed to him.

The inmate, Jimmy Evans, 24, reportedly said, "Freddie didn't mean to stab her, but she kept rising up, and Freddie kept pushing her down on the bed. With one hand, he pushed her down, and with the other hand, in which he held a knife, he stabbed her."

Press reports said Evans passed a lie-detector test.

The sources of information and their motivations—the reward, freedom from jail, grudges—highlight the frustration of trying to discern fact from fiction in the Malchow saga.

And then there is the story of his demise, which is nearly as mysterious as the murder in which he was implicated.           

After the Percy homicide, the FBI had zeroed in any number of high-end housebreaking gangs as possible suspects. Hohimer, Malchow and others were interviewed in 1966 and '67 but apparently were not taken seriously as suspects, because their names did not surface until six years later in the Sun-Times.

The FBI questioned Malchow after he was arrested for a home invasion and rape in the late spring of 1967 in Norristown, Penn., outside Philadelphia.

Details are sketchy, but at some point after the interview, Malchow and Jimmy Evans broke away from police custody while wearing handcuffs. They managed to find a hacksaw to free their hands. They apparently holed up for a time in a hotel basement, and a shot was fired at them as they fled.

While on the run, Malchow was crossing a railroad trestle over the Schuylkill River when he jumped or was pushed. The water was shallow and the river bottom rocky, and he died in the fall. By some accounts, he died as police were closing in. But a local newspaper clip reported that his corpse was found two days after the fall.

According to Malchow's family, the body was quickly cremated and the remains shipped to a bogus address in Chicago. After relatives inquired, the ashes were located and shipped two weeks later to Buffalo, where they were interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

In interviews with Crime Library, members of Malchow's family questioned why he remains a suspect in the case.

His niece, Christine Avino of Buffalo, said she was perplexed that finger- and palmprint evidence has not been used to either implicate or clear her uncle and Frank Hohimer. Prints of each man were available for comparison, and law enforcers say they had a good fingerprint and several palm prints from the crime scene.

"I believe that my Uncle Fred Malchow did not commit the murder but was framed for the murder, and that my uncle was murdered and his body disposed of as quickly as possible," Avino wrote in an e-mail. "However, I would like to see the true person who committed the murder to be found, even if it was my Uncle Fred Malchow."


Buffalo Orphan

Orphanage where Malchow grew up

Fred Malchow was born in Buffalo in 1927, the first of three children of a poor couple. Sister Mae followed in 1928 and brother Daniel, also known as Eddie, followed   in 1929.

In about 1934, in the depths of the Great Depression, the Malchows turned over their three children to the German Roman Catholic Orphanage in Buffalo. The mother apparently was not interested in raising the children, members of the family say.

The boys lived at the orphanage for nearly a decade and were sent out on their own when Fred was 16 and Daniel 14.

Their father died not long after they were released from the orphanage, but their mother lived a long life, dying in the summer of 2004. Daniel Malchow, who attended her wake, said he was never close to his mother.

"It was a tough upbringing, and it probably made us tough," Daniel Malchow told the Crime Library by phone from Buffalo. "When we got out of the orphanage, we didn't have no trade or nothing. What are you going to do to support yourself?"

He said burglary came naturally to the Malchow brothers.

Daniel Malchow, now 75 years old, said, "We'd walk around a rich area, maybe try some doorknobs, and you'd find one open sooner or later. You'd go inside and take what you could. That's how it all started."

Fred Malchow served prison time in New York for rape as a young man, and he made a connection behind bars with another Buffalo housebreaker, Billy Jackson. The Malchow brothers, Jackson and a handful of others from western New York formed a loosely based home-invasion gang that soon went national, moving its base to Chicago, where it operated with the blessing of the Windy City's crime syndicate.

"These were professional criminals," Daniel Malchow said. "And they made a very good living—always driving new cars, staying in the richest hotels. They'd throw a shirt away and buy a new one rather than wash it."

He continued, "They were always on the move, gypsy burglars. They did the same thing that John Dillinger did. He roamed the country robbing banks. They roamed the country stealing jewels from the best houses."

They returned to Chicago after each heist to sell their goods at top dollar to a mob-connected fence.

"My brother was what you'd call a cat burglar. There are hundreds of cities in the United States, and every one of them has its nice areas," Malchow said. "That's where he'd go, the nice areas, and he had a knack for picking out the really good houses. He'd get inside, go upstairs and find the diamonds and jewels. And they all had 'em. These people can buy a $20,000 diamond like you and I can buy an ice cream cone."


Zsa-Zsa's Jewels

Fred Malchow married young and had three sons. Two still live in the Buffalo area, and the third died not long ago. He abandoned his family, although he would pop in now and then and try to win the favor of his sons with gifts of cash. (He later took up with a Chicago woman, Edna, and had a daughter they named Kathy.)

Fred Malchow's son David, 55, a Buffalo postal worker, said he recalls vividly one of those visits in about 1963.

"I must have been 13 or 14," David Malchow said in a phone interview. "My father stopped by, and he opened a bag he was carrying. I looked inside, and it looked like a jewelry store. It was full of diamonds and jewels of every shape and color. I knew it was all stolen, and he didn't hide it. In fact, he'd brag about it."

He once boasted that he was responsible for a jewelry burglary at the home of Zsa Zsa Gabor, a crime that made front-page headlines.

Zsa Zsa Gabor

In the Petacque/Hough stories in the Sun-Times, Frank Hohimer characterized Fred Malchow as a "psychopathic killer...He could kill six people and never be excited about it. He'd just sit down and eat a meal. Just that cold-hearted."

Crime Library asked Daniel and David Malchow whether this was an accurate portrayal of their kin.

"He was a very hardcore criminal," David Malchow said of his father. "He had no fear of anything. There's no doubt about it."

He added, however, that murder was not a part of his father's typical crime repertoire. And he notes that Fred Malchow's Chicago girlfriend, Edna, has told authorities that she was in Mississippi with Malchow on the day of the Percy murder. (Edna, too, has been lost as a witness: she died about two years ago.)

"I don't think basically he was a violent person," Daniel Malchow said of his brother. "But when you go into someone's home, that's a pretty risky thing there. Any burglar who goes into a person's home, they might have to turn violent if the person confronts them."

But was Fred Malchow capable of murder? After a long pause, Daniel Malchow chose his words carefully.

"I would say he was capable of it," he said. "He could kill anybody. He was a pretty daring person. I know I was in houses with him that he was burglarizing. He wanted to rape the woman in the bed, and I said no—'no rape. We're here to get to the diamonds.' I really hate to say it about my brother because he's dead and it's a terrible thing to admit. But he wanted to commit rapes, and I put a stop to it...It seems to me in that Percy killing, somebody got into that house for jewels, then went upstairs and saw this pretty young girl. They went for lust instead of the jewels."

Malchow emphasized that he was not indicting his brother. He said, "Whether my brother did it or not, we'll never know. I don't think there's any proof he did it."


The Murder Weapon

Shaker Heights on Ohio map

Daniel Malchow was serving a five-year prison sentence in Ohio at the time of the Percy murder. He had been arrested in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb, for possession of burglary tools. He said he and his brother often carried channel locks, industrial-sized pliers with a wide mouth used to grip and twist doorknobs until the locks broke.

Malchow, who describes himself as a retired housepainter, wondered whether the authorities had overlooked channel locks as a possible murder weapon in the Percy case.

"That's a funny thing about that," he said. "The FBI came and talked to me (in 1973, long after his brother was dead), and they told me somebody used a pointed hammer on that girl. Who would go around with a pointed hammer? Why wouldn't somebody use a wrench?"

He noted that the jaws of many models of channel locks create a V shape when closed. David Malchow said that, more than anything, he and his family would like to see the Percy murder resolved once and for all.

He said, "I want you to understand that I have no respect for what my father did with his life. If he were alive today I would have nothing to do with him, but to this day I still do not believe that he killed Val Percy. He was a pro at what he did and killing was not a part of it."

He added, "I do kind of wish this would come to an end. I'm sorry this Valerie Percy was killed, and I'm sorry our family is connected to the case. I have to say that we are not my father's children. What he did in life was a waste. He was so smart. He could have done anything he wanted to do."

Malchow and his cousin, Avino, say they participate in an Internet "Crime and Justice" discussion group about the murder, in hopes that interest and publicity about the case can bring about new evidence that would provide closure to their family as well as the Percys.


Prominent Lives

The Percy family has been largely mute about the loss of their loved one over the years. Chuck Percy has commented occasionally when asked, but he declined to actively participate in a number of book projects concerning Valerie's death.

Several members of Valerie's family have gone on to lead prominent lives.

Her stepmother, Loraine, is a dame of society circles in Washington, D.C. Brother Roger is CEO of RDP Associates, a large Seattle-based business consulting firm. And Valerie's twin, Sharon, has had a remarkable career.

Marriage of Sharon Percy to John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV

She married Jay Rockefeller, namesake great-grandson of oil baron John D. Rockefeller, in the spring of 1967, the year he won election to the West Virginia Legislature.

Sharon Percy Rockefeller played the role of political wife as her husband served as governor of West Virginia for a decade before moving to the U.S. Senate in 1984. The couple raised four children—three sons and a daughter they named Valerie in memory of her slain twin.

Since 1989, Sharon Percy Rockefeller has been president and CEO of WETA, the public television and radio stations in Washington. She has served as a director of PepsiCo, PBS, Sotheby's, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, the National Cathedral and Stanford, Chicago, and George Washington universities. Her WETA biography says she is active in education, fine arts, government and women's issues.

Chuck Percy, meanwhile, had a run at the White House.

In 1968, his name was mentioned prominently as a possible running mate of Richard Nixon. That ended when Percy decided to support Nelson Rockefeller, uncle of his son-in-law, for the Republican presidential nomination that year.

Percy later became a Nixon enemy by criticizing America's continued involvement in Vietnam.

In the mid-1970s, Percy put together an exploratory committee for a run at the White House in 1976, but he pulled out when Gerald Ford, who filled Nixon's 2nd term after Nixon's resignation, decided to run for election.

Percy lost his Illinois Senate seat to Paul Simon in 1984, but he has continued to be an important behind-the-scenes player in Washington as president of Charles Percy and Associates Inc. and as a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations.

Percy has traveled to Asia frequently. His firm has specialized in locating technology parks in developing nations, including India. Now 85, he is said to be fit and active.


The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar, Frank Hohimer, Chicago Review Press, 1975

Getting Away With Murder: 57 Unsolved Murders With Reward Information, Ed Baumann and John O'Brien, Bonus Books, 1991

Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago,  Richard Lindbergh,Cumberland House, 1999

News Stories

"Daughter Slain in Candidate's N. Shore Estate; Find Finger and Palm Prints in Bedroom," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 19,1966

"Earlier Prowler Hunted in Percy Slaying," by Sandy Smith, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 30.1966

"America's No. 1 Murder Mystery: Who Killed Senator Percy's Beautiful Daughter?" True Detective, August 1958

"Two Name Slayer of Valerie Percy," by Art Petacque and Hugh Hough,
Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 25, 1973

"The Senator's Daughter," by Ed Baumann and John O'Brien, Chicago Tribune, April 21, 1991

"Present Perfect: Charles Percy is Having Too Good a Time Now to Regret the Past," by Glen Elsasser, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 7, 1994

"Whatever Happened to Charles Percy," by Jeff Lyon, Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1995

"The Mourning After: Wealth and Fame Are No Protection from the Death of a Child," by Peter Castro, People Magazine, March 31, 1997

"The Sun-Times Did More Than Just Report," by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 9, 1998


Valerie Percy discussion group

Christian Science Web site

Friday, Sep. 18, 1964
Through a Lens Brightly


"There've been a great many boys begin as low down as you. Dick, that have grown up respectable and honored. But they had to work pretty hard for it."

"I'm willin' to work hard." said Dick.

"And you must not only work hard, but work in the right way."

"What's the right way?"

"You began in the right way when you determined never to steal, or do anything mean or dishonorable, however strongly tempted to do so. That will make people have confidence in you when they come to know you. But, in order to succeed well, you must manage to get as good an education as you can. Until you do. you cannot get a position in an office or countingroom, even to run errands."

"That's so," said Dick, soberly. "I never thought how awful ignorant I was till now."

"That can be remedied with perseverance," said Frank. "A year will do a great deal for you."

"I'll go to work and see what I can do," said Dick energetically.

—Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, by Horatio Alger Jr.

In the days of his youth. Chuck Percy befriended a kindly gentleman by the name of Mr. Silverstein, the proprietor of the corner delicatessen. Chuck, a curious and observant boy, noticed that Mr. Silverstein rarely closed his place of business.

"Mr. Silverstein, sir, don't you ever close your place of business and go out and have some fun?" inquired the lad solicitously, as was his warm and friendly fashion.

"Young man," responded the kindly gentleman soberly, "I own this business. It is all mine. This is my fun."

Mr. Silverstein and his delicatessen have since passed into oblivion. But Charles Harting Percy did not. He applied himself, worked hard and persevered, and by dint of luck and pluck became a wealthy, successful businessman who is now the Republican candidate for Governor in his home state of Illinois, and—who knows?—may become something even bigger before he turns 50. To this day, Percy recalls his conversation with Mr. Silverstein. "I've never forgotten this," he says, "because he was right. It's fun working when you're working for yourself. Having your own equity, working your own business, having a feeling that what you're doing is building something for yourself—these things are important. I found that out."

Golly! Chuck Percy really looks and acts the part of the Algeresque hero. He is 45 years old this month, but he has the mien of a boyish 30. He has frank brown eyes, a frank, open face, a trim, exercise-toned body (5 ft. 8 in., 165 lbs.). He is hardworking, fun-loving, self-disciplined and perfectly organized. He reads deep-think books, takes religion, politics and self-improvement seriously. He is a Christian Scientist. He neither smokes nor drinks. He prefaces his sentences with "Golly!" and "Gosh!" and "Gol darn it!" and when he once said "Damn!" his friends thought the walls were about to come tumbling down. When one of his innumerable plans or projects goes sour, he simply shrugs and says: "Well, we've got a lemon. Now let's see if we can make lemonade."

In a day and age when traditional virtues are often the subject of scorn, Percy is suspect to many. A political adviser recently told him that it was to his disadvantage to be considered "too good to be true." Percy just laughed. "Well," he said, "that's my imperfection." Recalling his remarkable business career, some critics think of him as an opportunistic Boy Scout who likes to help little old ladies across the street and into the bank. "This little pip-squeak," says a man who knows him, "is just too damned ambitious. It'll get him in the end."

Strong Cadres. Percy's wife Loraine understandably takes another view. "Chuck," she says, "just likes to think he's making a better world." Indeed he does. That is precisely why he is running for Governor. He has a deep, dogged idealism and a relentless energy that have brought refreshing excitement to Illinois politics. As a result, Percy has become a front-line soldier on the Midwestern battleground that may be crucial in Election Year 1964.

If Barry Goldwater is to stand even the slightest chance in November, he must carry the Midwest, once, but not any longer, an unassailable bastion of Republicanism. Goldwater has strong cadres of Midwesternstrength, but most indicators show him trailing President Johnson in general popularity; moreover, Hubert Humphrey, a founder of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, figures to be a definite Midwestern asset to the national Democratic ticket (a proposition subject to some conjecture by those who recall that John Kennedy beat him in the 1960 Wisconsin primary).

In any event, Goldwater plainly needs help in the form of strong showings by Midwestern state candidates, such as Ohio's Representative Robert Taft Jr., now running for the Senate against Incumbent Democrat Steve Young; Indiana's Lieutenant Governor Richard Ristine, currently favored to win the statehouse back from the Democrats; Wisconsin's Gubernatorial Candidate Warren Knowles, a definite threat against Incumbent Democrat John Reynolds; and even Michigan's Republican Governor George Romney, who despite his announced distaste for the Goldwater candidacy could, in the event of a sweeping personal victory for reelection, bring along a decisive number of straight-ticket voters.

Of all these Midwestern states, Illinois is the most populous (10,437,000), the richest, the most diverse and the most influential. It is also the Midwestern state in which the Republican candidate for Governor is waging the most energetic campaign of all against what would seem to be—on paper—fairly long odds.

Urban Salesman. Percy got his energetic nature from his Chicago-born mother Elizabeth, who is 71, and who only recently gave up her bicycle.* She has not, however, forsaken the violin, which she has been playing arduously for more than 50 years. She still practices several hours a day, and while Chuck is campaigning, she likes to go with him to entertain the crowds with a rendition of Perpetual Motion or Maria Wiegenlied.

A chamber-music player of some talent, Elizabeth was touring the U.S. with a string quartet when she met Edward Percy in Pensacola, Fla. They got married, settled down there for a few years, and in 1920, six months after Chuck was born, moved to Rogers Park in Chicago. There Father Percy did well as a bank cashier, and Chuck soon learned the value of a buck. At age five, he began earning his first regular income by selling magazines, and not long afterward got his first accolade: a plaque honoring him for selling "more Country Gentlemans to city people than any other urban salesman in the United States."

On Relief. Then, in the best Alger tradition, adversity sprinkled spikes along the road to success. The Depression hit, and in 1931 Edward Percy lost his job when his employers' bank failed. "Living through those years," says Chuck, "was the best thing that ever happened to me. What had been fun before became a strong necessity." The Christian Scientist Percy family staved off despair with resolution borne by faith. Though Edward Percy found jobs here and there, the family had to go on relief. The welfare truck used to deliver food to the family through the alleyway behind the Percy house. "In fact," says Chuck, "it was the occasion when the truck dropped off an extra 100 lbs. of flour and sugar that put our family into the bakery business. I sold homemade cookies door-to-door and got up at 3:30 a.m. to deliver newspapers."

In the mid-'30s, luck rewarded pluck. Chuck's Christian Science Sunday-school teacher was Joseph McNabb, a benignly despotic sort of fellow who was president of a small movie-camera company, Bell & Howell. Through Chuck, McNabb came to know and like the Percy family, gave Edward a job (from which he retired, as office manager, at 73; he died at 75 in 1959). Chuck himself got a summer job at Bell & Howell, and it was there, under Joe McNabb's tutelage, that Chuck found his star.

McNabb's protege did himself proud not only in those summer jobs at Bell & Howell but also at the University of Chicago. An excellent swimmer, he became captain of the water-polo team; he was president of his fraternity and of the interfraternity council.

While majoring in economics, Percy devoted himself to the practical application of that inexact science. Of course he waited on tables. But he also took over and expanded a cooperative purchasing operation for all the fraternities, ran it into a highly profitable enterprise. He assumed management of the libraries in all the men's residence halls. He recruited students for an association of small colleges, got 5˘ for the name of every high-school student that he submitted and $10 for each of these who actually entered. Business got so good that Chuck subcontracted the job to some of his fellow university students, paid them 3˘ a name and $5 per college entry.

So hectic was Percy's extracurricular pace that his grades suffered (he graduated with a C average), and University Chancellor Robert Hutchins was once moved to admonish him: "You're exactly the kind of student I'm trying to keep out of the university." But in later years Hutchins recalled Percy as the "richest boy who ever worked his way through college." He had a point: in his senior year at the university, Chuck grossed $150,000 from his business enterprises, netted $10,000.

Hymns & Games. When Percy graduated in 1941, a fulltime job was waiting for him at Bell & Howell. Joe McNabb put him in charge of the company's newborn defense-contracts department. Two years later Chuck joined the Navy, where his business experience led to a post in procurement operations.

During his three-year Navy career, Percy married Jeanne Dickerson, daughter of a Chicago plumbing contractor. They had three children—twin girls and a boy. Percy meanwhile had returned to Bell & Howell, become McNabb's right-hand man and been named to the board of directors—at 23. In 1947 Jeanne, who was not a Christian Scientist, underwent an operation for ulcerative colitis that was deemed successful. Still, her doctors recommended a second operation. This one brought on complications. Jeanne was given penicillin, to which she suffered adverse reactions. Other drugs were tried, but to no avail. After his wife died, Chuck agreed to an autopsy. According to Percy, the physicians concluded that she had died not of her original ailment, but of a reaction to the drugs.

For a long time thereafter, Percy lost himself in his work, took the children with him whenever he traveled out of town on business. In 1950, after an 18-month courtship, he married Loraine Diane Guyer, whom he had met on the ski slopes of Sun Valley. Percy has two children by his second marriage, and his family life strongly reflects his penchant for organization. The Percys live in a sprawling lakefront home in Kenilworth, north of Chicago. There is swimming in the family pool, which is enclosed in a special wing of the house. There are hymn singing ("We like to start the morning with a song"), Bible study, prayers, discussion periods, cycling, speed-reading projects, games and storytelling. Chuck's specialty: spinning little fantasies about "Weenie Mouse" and "Meenie Mouse" for his son Mark.

A Setback. Percy's postwar rise at Bell & Howell astonished the Illinois business community. He so impressed Joe McNabb that when the old man died, he left a kind of corporate will designating Percy his successor. As a result, Chuck was elevated to the presidency at 29, and along with that, picked up options on 25,000 shares of stock at $5 less than market value; the stock is now worth $550,000. Against an avalanche of foreign cameras in the U.S. market, Percy diversified the company, put it into electronics and business machines, saw its annual sales volume grow from $13 million to $160 million.

Even as a captain of industry, Chuck Percy's horizons have always been wider and brighter than his company's best lens could encompass. He was always fascinated by politics. In 1955 he took charge of the United Republican Fund of Illinois, developed a pattern of party fund raising on a broad base; in 1957 he became vice chairman of the Republican National Finance Committee. In 1959 he headed Dwight Eisenhower's 42-man committee charged with the responsibility of drawing up a blueprint of party goals. In 1960 he became chairman of the G.O.P. National Convention's Platform Committee—which turned out to be a humiliating experience. Committee conservatives, enraged by what they considered to be Dick Nixon's platform "surrender" to Nelson Rockefeller, rebelled. Percy simply was not seasoned enough to put down the revolt, and toward the end he was relieved of the chairmanship by Wisconsin's Congressman Mel Laird.

Toward the Slum. That setback only whetted Percy's taste for politics. By 1962 he had moved up to chairman of the Bell & Howell executive board, and the prospering company demanded less of his time. "I was approached by a number of people who asked me if I would go into public life," he recalls. "It wasn't quite a draft, but it was something like that. I was really encouraged by a lot of people. On the governorship, if I'd waited for a draft, I'd have waited forever."

A Percy friend, William "Pat" Patterson, chief executive officer of United Air Lines and a Bell & Howell board director, urged him against running for Governor, suggested that he wait until 1966 and run for the U.S. Senate against Paul Douglas. "Springfield is no place for you, Chuck," Patterson said. "It's a slum. It's a place where there's nowhere to go but down."

To Chuck Percy, that was a challenge—and he has never failed to respond to a challenge. Says Percy: "I think I probably decided right then I'd run for Governor. If state government was held in that kind of ill repute by responsible leaders of our society, it was something that badly needed attention and leadership." Thus, in July 1963, Percy announced his candidacy for Governor, chucked his family into a "Chuckwagon" and began campaigning.

Percy's Purge. He had a long way to go. Barry Goldwater was the clear presidential choice of Illinois Republicans, and Barry's backers were suspicious of progressive-minded Chuck Percy. Leading in the campaign was amiable, conservative Secretary of State Charles Carpentier. But last January Carpentier suffered a heart attack; in April he died at age 67. Into the race swept State Treasurer William Scott, 37, a strong Goldwater supporter, who accused Percy of everything, from being in cahoots with Chicago mobsters to being soft on Communism. To blunt the charge that he was anti-Goldwater. Percy, for his part, publicly pledged that at the G.O.P. National Convention he would vote with the majority of the Illinois delegation—for Barry. On primary day last April, Percy swamped Scott.

He immediately set about proving that though he might be a do-gooder, he could play rough-and-tumble politics with the best—and against the worst—of them. The balance of power in Illinois' closely divided state house of representatives has long been held by a handful of Republicans from Chicago's West Side who actually owe their political allegiance to the city's Democratic Mayor Richard Daley. Among other things, the members of the so-called "West Side Bloc," both Republican and Democratic, were notorious for voting against anti-crime legislation.

Gubernatorial Nominee Percy wanted to rid his party of its West Side Blocmen. He saw his chance in an astonishing political situation. Owing to self-defeating political maneuvers, Illinois did not redraw its house districts as required by the state constitution. Thus candidates for all 177 house seats this year must run in a statewide, at-large election. Both Democrats and Republicans have nominated only 118 candidates for those seats, so that neither party will be able to elect more than a two-thirds majority.

Since Illinois' paper ballots will be about the size of a bed sheet, the situation strongly favors straight-ticket voting, and it is conceivable that the winning party will send to Springfield its entire slate of candidates. Percy wanted the Republican slate to be a clean one —which meant, at the very least, purging the West Side Blocmen. And at a state G.O.P. convention in June, he all but read the undesirables out of the party. Rarely have such howls been heard. "You may be dynamic, Mr. Percy," cried one purgee, "but you'd better learn how to aim the dynamite!" Warned another: "You who execute me today will never wash the blood off your hands!" But the purge proceeded successfully.

Fumbles. That freed Percy to turn his fulltime attention and limitless energies to his campaign against Democratic Governor Otto Kerner, 56, a handsome, likable man who was hand-picked by Chicago's Boss Daley. As Governor since 1960, Kerner has a good record on civil rights, can point to advances in the field of mental health, savings in Illinois' huge public-aid expenditures. But he has fumbled badly in efforts to reform Illinois' archaic tax structure, and not even his fellow Democrats would accuse him of being a dynamic leader. Said onetime Chicago Boss Jake Arvey recently in an unguarded moment: "Otto Kerner is an awful nice fellow, but I do wish he had some of Chuck Percy's brains."

Most of all, Kerner is vulnerable to the charge of being a Daley stooge, and that is the theme Percy has played endlessly in the campaign. So far, Percy has traveled more than 200,000 miles through the state, visited every one of the 102 counties at least once, and more than half of them several times. He has appeared at no fewer than 70 local fairs, attended more than 2,000 rallies, dinners and other functions. When Barry Goldwater turned up in Illinois last week, Percy was there to introduce him to a local audience, but took his leave as soon as he decently could.

The Federal Balance. The reason is fairly obvious to those who have observed Percy over the years: he and Goldwater are miles apart on many issues. Percy, for example, reflects the tone and content of the 1960 Republican platform, which is more moderate than the Goldwater platform. Though Percy opposes an open-occupancy law in Illinois, his position on civil rights is far more liberal than Goldwater's.

Just before the Senate voted on the 1964 Civil Rights Act last June, Percy announced that "if I were in the Senate, I would vote for the bill." The 1959 committee on goals for Republicans that Percy chaired for Eisenhower took a view that was in general more moderate than Goldwater's; it endorsed low tariffs, cultural exchange and trade with Communist countries.

In his gubernatorial campaign, though, Percy has been sticking strictly to state and local issues. He has nailed Kerner for shortsightedness in planning state aid to schools (which runs about 20% of school costs v. a national aver age of 40%), for failure to cope with Chicago's notorious crime record, and for overall governmental inefficiency, with special emphasis on Illinois' outmoded tax programs. One recurrent Percy theme concerns the need for stronger state government. "For many years now," he says, "we have been hearing complaints about the erosion of states' rights and states' power, and the accompanying growth of national power. State government is everywhere in bad repute, in Illinois as well as in other states of the Union. The federal balance is in jeopardy because of the inability and the unwillingness of the states to assume their proper duty. I, for one, am ready to suggest that we stop begging for states' rights and begin fulfilling states' responsibility."

Typically, Percy runs a high-geared organization. It is directed by a young (35) Burlington Railroad attorney named Tom Hauser, consists of eight departments, each headed by its own chief. One department provides position papers and speech drafts. Another takes care of organizing "Businessmen for Percy" and "Doctors for Percy." Another handles liaison among state candidates, and still another, public relations. There is even a department called "The Office of Take-Over," which is working out details on jobs and legislative programs against the day that Percy moves into the Statehouse.

A Few Obstacles. Will the Office of Take-Over ever see its plans bear fruit? In what appears to be a generally Democratic year, only an optimist would rate Percy's chances at better than even. Governor Kerner has accused Percy of letting his ambition overrule his conscience in his support of Goldwater. Chicago's 976,000 Negroes are solidly anti-Goldwater and seem certain to vote a straight Democratic ticket despite Percy's progressive stand on civil rights. Another Percy headache arises from Illinois' voter-assistance law, which permits officials to help voters make out their ballots. Says Percy Aide Hauser: "In 1,500 Chicago precincts, you've got to watch like a hawk, since only in a few are there any real Republican judges. Usually the Republican judges are Democrats listed as Republicans." Adds Percy: "Voter assistance is automatically worth between 60,000 and 100,000 votes to the Democrats."

Then, too, some voters are concerned lest Percy's Christian Science attitudes affect his public policies, particularly in the field of health and welfare. Percy's reply: "In matters of personal health, I don't see doctors and I don't take drugs. But on the occasions it's required—for insurance, for school and so forth—the children are seen by a pediatrician. All of us, of course, see a dentist or an eye doctor. If Loraine breaks an ankle or falls from a horse, she has the ankle set by a doctor or has a doctor determine if she has broken a rib. There's nothing that would prevent me from making any decision relating to public health that would not be in the best interests of the public, giving Illinois the best possible medical and mental-health programs."

If, against all the obstacles, Chuck Percy should win in November, he will automatically take his place in the front rank of the national Republican Party. If, at the same time, Barry Goldwater loses, Percy would immediately become the subject of presidential speculation for 1968. That, of course, is a long way off, but the possibility has not escaped some sharp political eyes. In 1962 Chuck testified on reciprocal trade before a House committee in Washington. While he was in town, he stopped off at the White House to chat with President John Kennedy. Kennedy was considerably impressed by Percy. Later, in an informal conversation with Illinois' Republican Senator Everett Dirksen, the President asked, "What does Percy want?"

"You ought to know," replied Ev.

"I don't know," insisted Kennedy.

Said Dirksen: "He wants to sit in that very seat that you're sitting in."

Horatio Alger could do no better by any of his heroes.

* Actually, she only lent it out to her granddaughter after exacting the promise that it would be returned.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately