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Editorial: No rest for Chicago’s Tylenol killer

TheresStanley Janus died taking pills from Tylenol bottle after Stanley Janus' brother had died from cynaide poisoning. | Sun-Times Library

Theresa and Stanley Janus died taking pills from a Tylenol bottle after Stanley Janus' brother had died from the cynaide poisoning. | Sun-Times Library

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Updated: October 27, 2012 6:17AM

We’ve seen this before and we like it.

A killer should never be allowed to live in peace. He should always be forced to look over his shoulder, knowing that somebody is on his trail.

Judgment Day may yet come.

We saw it in the town of Sycamore, where just this month the killer of a 7-year-old girl in 1957 finally was held accountable, dragged into court after almost five decades and found guilty by a judge.

We saw it in suburban Palatine, where the two killers of seven people at a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in 1993 finally, 14 and 16 years later, were apprehended, put on trial and found guilty on all counts.

And our hope, as Chicagoans who can never forget the cold horror of seven random murders from cyanide poisoning in the fall of 1982, is that the same will happen someday to the Tylenol killer or killers. He or she or they finally will be tracked down and punished, made to pay for lacing Tylenol capsules with cyanide and slipping them back on to store shelves.

It’s good news, then, that an FBI-led task force is on the case again, re-interviewing old witnesses and subjecting old evidence to new forensic technologies. Prosecutors may commission a grand jury to compel new witness statements.

The Tylenol killer took the lives of seven innocent people. Those seven murders, in turn, instilled fear in people across the nation. What kind of world do we live in, they asked, where monsters transform the most basic foods and drugs in a store into tools of random murder?

Who knows where this latest investigative push will lead. But there is some small satisfaction, for now, in hearing the yelps of the bloodhounds.

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