This book is one that I have been looking forward to for quitpaul-front-cover.jpge some time. At long last it seems ready to hit the shelves of bookstores later this week. Fact, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction. This story certainly lays testament to that thought.

“On the morning of June 2, 1981, two people were found shot to death in the living room of an apartment at the rear of the P.M. Pub, located at 238 West Rand Road in Lakemoor, Illinois. The victims were the tavern’s owner, 37-year-old Ronald Scharff and barmaid Patricia Freeman, who had worked her first shift at the bar the previous evening. Lakemoor is situated about 45 miles northwest of Chicago and was a community of around 800 at the time. These were the first reported homicides there since its incorporation in 1952.

I for one was completely unaware of the case. When a double murder remains unsolved for 30 years, it hardly makes front page news. My good friend author and crime writer Denny Griffin changed that. His biography of mobster Frank Cullotta created reasons for son Paul Scharff to work hard getting the case reopened, and hopefully solved. The suspected killer was dead, but there was closure to be found, or so I thought.

I have not read the book yet, but hopefully I will get my hands on a copy in the next few days. Paul and I do talk, and there are items as a result of a FOIA that came in after the book had gone to press. These files I have seen, and they disturb me. While far from complete, these FBI files are disturbing. In 1982 they had essentially solved the case, and had shared their findings with the local police investigating the double homicide. This stretches my imagination. The information came from a very high value mob target that they had just rolled. I seriously doubt that this information was shared in a meaningful way. It is fair to say that the entire file (slim as it is) begs more questions than answers.

FOIA requests need to be carefully crafted in how they are written. I am sure that Paul will have more success on his new one.

Stay tuned, this is a cold case that has just become hotter than molten lava.

Simon Barrett

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