Police: Well-Known Illinois Professor Kills Two Sons, Self in Murder-Suicide

A nationally renowned political science professor best known for his writings on presidential pardons has allegedly shot and killed his two young sons before turning the gun on himself in a suspected double murder suicide.
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Winnebago County, IL

Police in Winnebago County, Illinois, reported finding the bodies of three people in the home of well-known political science professor and TV commentator P.S. Ruckman, Jr.

It appears that Ruckman killed his two young sons and then turned the gun on himself, police say.

Officers went to the home after Ruckman’s ex-wife called for a welfare check because she had not heard anything from Ruckman or her sons for several days, according to the Daily Mail.

The couple divorced last August and had been sharing custody of their two boys, both of whom are reportedly in high school.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief Mike Schultz reported that Ruckman’s ex-wife met officers at the home and they entered with a key she provided. They then found the three residents dead from gunshot wounds in different bedrooms of the house.

The 58-year-old Ruckman is a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, and is also an instructor at Northern Illinois University in nearby DeKalb. He is the editor of a political blog named PardonPower.com, a website detailing the history of presidential pardons. He is the author of the book The Pardon Power in the 21st Century. He is also the author of two others, both of which are forthcoming: Pardon Me, Mr. President: Adventures in Crime, Politics, and Mercy and Guilty No More with co-author George Lardner.

Ruckman was also a frequent guest on cable news programs including MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and the Russia Today cable news network. Ruckman also made various Public Broadcasting appearances. In addition, he was quoted in newspapers such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as well as Politico and even the PBS show History Detectives.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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