Episode 263:

Let Me Challenge You

The Brown’s Chicken Massacre


Peggy Jo Tallas


Episode 263: Let Me Challenge You

On this week’s quilt episode, Karen and Georgia cover the Brown’s Chicken Massacre and Peggy Jo Tallas.

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The Brown’s Chicken Massacre

The Brown’s Chicken Massacre Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by R. Mac Wheeler on Unsplash

Other Images:

Brown's Chicken & Pasta in Palatine (via Daily Herald File Photo, 1993)

Victim’s of the Brown’s Chicken Massacre (via Daily Herald File Photo, 1993)


"The Brown's Chicken Massacre was a mass murder that occurred on January 8, 1993 in Palatine, Illinois, at a Brown's Chicken fast-food restaurant, when two robbers killed seven employees.

The case remained unsolved for nearly nine years, until one of the assailants was implicated by his girlfriend in 2002. Police used DNA samples from the murder scene to match one of the suspects, Juan Luna. Luna was put on trial in 2007, found guilty of seven counts of murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment. James Degorski, the other assailant, was found guilty in 2009 on all seven counts of murder, and also sentenced to life imprisonment.

On January 8, 1993, seven people were killed at the Brown's Chicken & Pasta at 168 West Northwest Highway in Palatine. The victims included the owners, Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt, and five employees: Guadalupe Maldonado, Michael C. Castro and Rico L. Solis (the latter two Palatine High School students who were working there part-time), Thomas Mennes, and Marcus Nellsen. The assailants stole between $1,800 and $1,900 from the restaurant. This is equivalent to $3,200 to $3,400 in 2019. Two of the Ehlenfeldts' daughters were scheduled to be at the restaurant that night, but happened not to be present at the time of the killing; a third daughter, Jennifer, was later elected to the Wisconsin State Senate.

Michael Castro's parents called the police a couple hours after closing time. Later, Guadalupe Maldonado's wife called police, concerned that her husband had not returned home from work and that his car was still in the apparently closed Brown's Chicken parking lot. When officers arrived at the building, they spotted the rear employees' door open. Inside, they found the seven bodies, some face-down, some face-up, in a cooler and in a walk-in refrigerator. When Palatine police found the bodies, it was more than 5½ hours after the 9 p.m. closing...."

— Source:

Brown's Chicken & Pasta in Palatine via Daily Herald File Photo, 1993

  1. Victim’s of the Brown’s Chicken Massacre via Daily Herald File Photo, 1993

Peggy Jo Tallas

Peggy Jo Tallas Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

Other Images: 

Peggy Jo Tallas (via Texas Monthly)

Peggy Jo during a robbery (via Texas Monthly)

Other Various photos (via Texas Monthly)


"[In Fort Worth, Texas] a  60-year-old woman dressed in black, armed with a toy gun and driving a motor home robbed a bank in east Texas on Thursday, then led police on a low-speed chase before she was shot and killed when she allegedly pointed her fake revolver at officers.

The woman was identified by Tyler police as Peggy Jo Tallas, an ex-convict who became known as "Cowboy Bob" in 1992 after she pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Mesquite, Texas, of $13,000 while dressed in a cowboy hat, sunglasses, a fake beard and mustache, and other Western attire.

Tallas was indicted in three other bank robberies that year, and state crime records indicate that she was convicted in 1977 of auto theft in Tarrant County.

On Thursday, four Tyler police officers shot at Tallas after she pointed what appeared to be a real gun at them, said officer Don Martin, spokesman for the Tyler Police Department. It was only afterward that police realized the gun was fake, Martin said.

"It looked real. There was nothing to indicate it was a toy," Martin said.

Police said Tallas robbed the Guaranty Bank shortly after 11 a.m. local time. Clutching a bank bag containing a dye pack that had exploded, she ran across a busy seven-lane road and jumped into her getaway vehicle – a Frontier motor home.

Witnesses yelled at the woman as she dodged traffic on foot trailing smoke caused by the dye pack, a security device meant to mark stolen money after a robbery.

A man and a woman who saw the holdup followed the RV in their car, using their cell phone to give police its location, Martin said.

Hearing the emergency radio broadcast for help, off-duty Tyler police Sgts. John Brown and Gary Rice joined the chase. According to Brown, it ended after less than three miles with speeds never becoming "excessive."

The motor home stopped at a T intersection, then the "female suspect got up from the driver's seat, went back into the coach and pulled down the shades on the driver's side so you couldn't see inside," Martin said.

Witnesses said police cars "poured onto the street." Officers crouched behind their vehicles, guns drawn, yelling for the woman to exit the motor home.

After five to 10 minutes, Brown said, Tallas stepped out of the motor home, pointed what appeared to be a real gun and "the officers shot her."

She collapsed dead on the street as police lobbed tear gas into her RV, believing others might be inside, according to Brown. After the tear gas cleared, he said, officers entered and found no one else..."

— Source: Find A Grave


Georgia's Episode Sources

Brown's Chicken Massacre Wikipedia

Fucking Hoorays!


We donated 10K on behalf of Texas murderinos to the Texas Relief Fundraiser.


We donated 10K on behalf of Texas murderinos to the Texas Relief Fundraiser.