September 29, 1984 mugshot
|Born||December 21, 1952|
Crawfordsville, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||March 6, 1994 (aged 41)|
Pontiac, Illinois, U.S.
|Cause of death||complications from AIDS|
|Other names||The Highway Killer|
The Interstate Killer
The Highway Murderer
Span of crimes
|March 22, 1982–May 7, 1984|
|August 21, 1984|
Larry Eyler (December 21, 1952 – March 6, 1994) was an American serial killer convicted and sentenced to death in Illinois for the 1984 murder and dismemberment of 15-year-old Daniel Bridges.
Active in the Midwest, before his death he confessed to 20 further homicides of young men and boys he had committed between 1982 and 1984 in five separate states. While awaiting execution, Eyler died in 1994 of AIDS-related complications. His defense attorney, Kathleen Zellner, posthumously released his list of victims.
Eyler, a house painter, was described by some members of the gay community in Indianapolis, Indiana as a good-looking person with a "hot temper", who "projected violence during sex acts". After being charged with the 1982 murder of Steven Agan, 23, in that city, Eyler confessed to authorities in a plea bargain.
Eyler was believed to be involved in the Newton County John Does murders during the next two years. Two of Eyler's victims, who were discovered in 1983 in the Indiana counties of Newton and Jasper, are unidentified as of 2016.
Conviction in the Daniel Bridges case
Daniel Bridges was a 15-year-old boy whose dismembered body was discovered on August 21, 1984, in a garbage dumpster in the Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's far North Side. One of 12 children in his family, Bridges lived in the same neighborhood as Larry Eyler, and knew Eyler. While on his way to meet relatives nearby, Bridges accepted a ride from Eyler, but according to the relatives, he never arrived. It was later alleged that Eyler had bound Bridges to a chair and proceeded to beat, rape, and kill him before dismembering his body.
At the time of Eyler's death from AIDS, he was awaiting his execution. He was represented by attorney Kathleen Zellner, who had made an appeal disputing the conviction in the Bridges' murder. This was pending in the Illinois Supreme Court. The appeal maintained that one of Eyler's trial lawyers, David Shippers, had a conflict of interest as he had received $16,875 from a prosecution witness, Robert David Little. Little and Eyler had long been associated. Eyler had claimed that Little was the one who had killed Bridges. After Eyler's death, Zellner confirmed that she would proceed with filing the appeal to clarify various legal issues.
Other potential victims
The book Freed to Kill (1990) explored Eyler's potential connection to multiple murders and missing young men in Indiana and Illinois, resulting in investigations being reopened in several jurisdictions.
After Eyler's death, his defense attorney Kathleen Zellner revealed the names of 17 males who Eyler had confessed to murdering and four who he said were murdered by an unidentified accomplice. That person was later revealed to be Robert David Little, an older college professor and longtime associate.
According to Zellner, Eyler had made the list of victims around three years before his death in an effort to obtain a plea bargain. The prosecutors did not agree to the plea bargain. Later, Eyler allowed his lawyer to release the list.
- The Telegraph March 9, 1994
- "Case File: 999UMIN". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- Myers, Linnet (July 2, 1986). "Grisly Find Made Sister `Hysterical`". Chicago Tribune.
- Myers, Linnet (July 2, 1986). "Grisly Find Made Sister `Hysterical`". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- Eyler guilty in teen boy's murder, Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Chicago, Ill, Author: Linnet Myers, Date: July 10, 1986, retrieved May 30, 2010
- Sarah Talalay, "EYLER DIES IN PRISON; HAD AIDS; LAWYER TO TALK ON CONFESSIONS", Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext), March 7, 1994, retrieved May 30, 2010
- John O'Brien, "Call helped link Eyler to slayings", Chicago Tribune(pre-1997 Fulltext), December 16, 1990, retrieved May 30, 2010
- "A MUGSHOT OF DR. ROBERT DAVID LITTLE". November 29, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- John O'Brien, "THE EYLER LEGACY: 21 DEATHS MURDERER ADMITTED GRISLY 2-STATE SPREE", Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext), March 9, 1994, retrieved on May 30, 2010
- Freed to Kill (1990), by editor Gera-Lind Kolarik with Wayne Klatt, is a book that linked Eyler to multiple murders (ultimately 21) in Indiana and Illinois following his brief detention by police in 1982. This influenced the re-opening of cases.