Convicted Murderer Suspected In Another Slaying
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) _ A condemned killer suspected in the slayings of nearly two dozen young men is under investigation in the fatal stabbing of an Indiana man whose body was found in 1982, police said Friday.
The investigation, launched a couple of weeks ago, is a result of the release of a book detailing the life of Larry Eyler, convicted in 1986 for the murder of 15-year-old Danny Bridges of Chicago.
Bridges’ dismembered body was found in August 1984 in trash bags behind Eyler’s Chicago apartment. Eyler is on Death Row at the Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, 80 miles southwest of Chicago.
Eyler is suspected of killing 23 young men in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin from 1982 through 1984, said Detective Dan Colin of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. He was tried only in Bridges’ death.
According to court testimony, Eyler, a homosexual, was into bondage. Some of his sexual partners testified that he enjoyed tying them up. All of the victims in which Eyler is a suspect were stabbed and their pants were pulled down.
A judge in Lake County, where the body of 28-year-old Ralph E. Calise of Chicago was found in August 1983, ruled that police violated Eyler’s rights during a search which officials said yielded crucial evidence in the Calise case.
In September 1983, Indiana authorities investigating Eyler in a series of killings had confiscated some of his belongings, including his boots and a knife. He was detained for hours but never charged.
Police later said blood taken from Eyler’s boots matched Calise’s.
Because Lake County officials believed Indiana authorities had failed to make proper prints of the tires of Eyler’s truck, they conducted their own search.
But the Lake County judge, convinced that Indiana authorities had violated Eyler’s constitutional rights, suppressed the Indiana evidence. And because the Illinois search of Eyler was prompted by the one in Indiana, the judge ruled that that evidence, too, should be suppressed.
Without the evidence, authorities had no case and Eyler, 36, of Greencastle, Ind., was freed. Six months later, he was arrested in Bridges’ slaying.
Since then, the evidence from the Indiana search had remained in Lake County.
On Wednesday, as a result of the book, ″Freed to Kill, The True Story of Larry Eyler,″ prosecutor Larry Thomas of Vermillion County, Ind., took the suppressed evidence to use in his investigation of an unsolved murder.
Detective Colin said Thomas had reopened the murder case of 23-year-old Steve Agan of Terre Haute, Ind., and planned to convene a grand jury using the evidence that was suppressed in Illinois.
Agan’s body was found near Newport, Ind., in December 1982.
″My understanding is that the book gave them some insight they didn’t know back then,″ Colin said.
″We have a lot of unsolved murders out there,″ said Colin, one of the investigators in the Calise case. ″I’m always glad when someone is able to put together a murder case and solve their stuff.″
″It’s just too bad that a book had to come out to force Indiana authorities to reopen some of the 16 cases attributed to Larry Eyler,″ Kolarik said.