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Delavan's greatest tragedy

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By Mike Heine /The Week

(Published June 12, 2007, 3:00 p.m.)

Delavan historian Gordon W. Yadon knows his city, and he knows Saturday night's shootings were the biggest tragedy in the city's 171-year history.

"The only thing that comes close to this was the Sept. 11, 1860 train wreck. There were six killed and 30 injured," Yadon said.

The wreck occurred after the passenger train returned from an excursion at the Walworth County Fair. On it's way to Clinton, it stopped in Delavan to take on water when a freight train collided with the rearmost passenger cars, Yadon said.

Other murders that Yadon pulled from his newspaper archives included:

• Jan. 21, 1957-Dorothy Zenou, 29, was murdered by her Algerian husband, Hanri Zenu, 34. He stabbed her to death in his South Sixth Street home and was sentenced to life in prison. He was later paroled and deported to Algeria.

• July 23, 1966-Franklin D. Minor, 29, was shot by Frank Hopson of Round Lake, Ill., in Minor's home at 407 S. Main St.

• April 25, 1975-Darlene Lane Schramski, 27, was attacked by Juan Ramon, 25, in the foyer of the Delavan Municipal Building. He bludgeoned her and she died of a skull fracture.

• July 5, 1976-Larry Larsh, 24, of Sharon, was shot by Wayne Frakes, 47, in the parking lot of the Shore Lounge Tavern on North Shore Drive near Delavan Lake.

Other murders from The Janesville Gazette archives included:

• Sept. 21, 1995-Juan J. Ruiz, 38, of Delavan, raped and killed Elizabeth M. Gerbosi, 65, in her home at 519 High St. Ruiz was found guilty of first-degree reckless homicide.

• January 2004-Craig A. Swope, 53, killed his mother and step-father, Carolee and Duane Recob, inside their rural Delavan home, likely by suffocation. Their bodies were not found until about two months later at 5694 Highway 11. Swope was sentenced to life in prison.

• Feb. 11, 2005-A domestic argument turned into a murder-suicide at the home of Travis P. Kuehni and Peggy D. Kuehni. Travis, 32, shot and killed Peggy, 36, before turning the shotgun on himself.


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