Thrill killing brings up old memories

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – A man convicted of the 1977 shotgun murders in Hollandsburg died in his prison cell.

This is a case that is quite disturbing.

Roger Drollinger was determined to be the mastermind behind the shotgun slaying of four innocents.

Investigator and first responder frank Turchi remembers it vividly.

It was a randomly selected home invasion that turned into a gruesome massacre.

“I’ve got my flashlight on the bodies and I’m walking up to the feet. I’m looking to see what i can see. I remember things kept falling on my shirt, I’d brush them off. You’re not thinking about what it is. There was blood on my state police patch. Then I looked at the ceiling. And the ceiling was covered with brain material and body tissue. It was just dropping off the ceiling on me as i stood there,” said Turchi.

It’s what was called a “thrill killing” in court.

“This particular one has always haunted me,” said Turchi.

Roger Drollinger was accused of leading a gang of men that decided to kill “just for the fun of it”.

“The older trooper told me when he first saw it.  You’ll never see anything like this again. I guarantee it. This is the worst thing you’ll ever see,” said Turchi.

The killers invaded the mobile home in Hollandsburg.

They then shot and killed four people, between the ages of 14 and 22.

“On this day, they made a blood oath they were going to kill the people in this robbery, for the purpose of just seeing them die,” said Turchi.

The victims’ mother survived by playing dead after one man fired a shot through her wig.

She testified against all four of the murderers.

“She would sit with me and tell her story. Every night. Exactly what happened, what she felt, what she saw. And I think that’s part of what helped her keep her sanity over it. How anyone could live with the fact they laid beside their sons and watch them murdered would be indescribable,” said Turchi.

An old newspaper article quoted the judge serving the convicted killer his sentence as saying, Drollinger was a “prime example of why the state needs a death penalty”.

“The prosecutor wanted the death penalty. I think it was clearly a justifiable death penalty case. But at that time, it had been repealed in Indiana so we couldn’t get it,” said Turchi.

Then he sentenced the “just for kicks” killer to life in prison.

“So life in prison in my opinion wasn’t good enough but that’s what we got, what we had to live with,” said Turchi.

Authorities say they found Roger Drollinger dead in his cell at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

The so-called Hollandsburg murders happened on Valentine’s Day.

Drollinger’s accomplices continue to serve their life sentences.

In Drollinger’s death, authorities do not believe foul play was involved.

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