A serial killer’s execution in Texas is renewing debate about whether he played a role in the massacre of a southern Illinois family more than a quarter century ago.
During the 1987 attack in the village of Ina, someone bludgeoned pregnant Ruby “Elaine” Dardeen and her 3-year-old son. When Dardeen gave birth during the assault, the newborn was also slain. Dardeen’s husband, Russell “Keith” Dardeen, was found dead the next day in a wheat field.
Tommy Lynn Sells later claimed he committed those killings. They were among as many as 70 he claimed he carried out in various states as a drifter and carnival worker. Texas executed Sells this month for a 1999 stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl.
No one has been charged in the Dardeens’ death.