Dan Woloson signed letter envelope set

Dan Woloson signed letter envelope set


A paroled burglar who for more than two decades managed to avoid arrest in the killing of a Southern Illinois University student taking a shortcut across campus was sentenced  to 40 years in prison for her murder.

Daniel Woloson, 46, was given the maximum allowable under sentencing guidelines in place in 1981 when he strangled Susan Schumake, 21, of Chicago Heights.

Jurors deliberated less than three hours in March before convicting Woloson of first-degree murder. No one had been charged until Woloson was arrested in 2004 while living in Michigan, after DNA technology made him the prime suspect.

Authorities said Woloson was a convicted burglar out on parole at the time of the slaying, worked at a Carbondale apartment complex and was not an SIU student.

At the time of Schumake's murder, police focused their attention on John Paul Phillips, a man later convicted of murder and suspected of killing several young women in the area. Though Phillips never was charged with her murder, friends, family and many law enforcement officers were certain he was Schumake's killer as well.

When DNA tests in 2001 failed to link Phillips to the crime, investigators, notably Carbondale police Sgt. Paul Echols, turned their attention to another stack of potential suspects that included Woloson.

On Wednesday, Wepsiec heralded Echols for doggedly pursuing Schumake's killer over the years.

"But for the diligence and determination of Sgt. Paul Echols, this case would never have seen the light of day," the prosecutor said. "He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for bringing Mr. Woloson to justice."

A message left Wednesday with Patricia Gross, Woloson's public defender, was not immediately returned.

Illinois Department of Corrections records indicate Woloson was on parole for a 1979 burglary conviction in Sangamon County at the time of Schumake's murder. A parole violation was the last time Woloson was in state custody. He completed his parole in April 1983 and had not been arrested again in Illinois.

The letter and envelope are both handwritten. The letter is signed, Dan.

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