WAUKEGAN, Ill. -- A house painter charged in one of 19 homosexual slayings of young men in Illinois and northern Indiana has the mentality of convicted mass murderer John Wayne Gacy, authorities said Saturday.
Larry Eyler, 30, a house painter who maintains residences in Chicago and Terre Haute, Ind., was arrested and charged Friday in the August slaying of Ralph Calise, 28.
Eyler was being held under $1 million bond in the Lake County Jail. Authorities in Illinois and northern Indiana were seeking evidence to link Eyler to the other slayings, Babcox said.
Lake County Circuit Judge Alvin I. Singer held a bond hearing Saturday and refused to reduce the bond.
Lake County Sheriff Robert Babcox said Eyler fit the FBI description of a mass murderer.
'He has a macho image, a beer-drinking homosexual with a hate for himself for being a homosexual,' Babcox said. 'He puts on a fatigue uniform, boots and a square cap -- then he's a different person.'
Babcox told a news conference that the investigation involves at least 19 victims. The deaths of 13 of those victims were connected with homosexual activities, he said. Babcox compared the crimes to Gacy's criminal history.
'This type of sordid crime can be compared with the sadistic gratification that John Wayne Gacy must have enjoyed in his vicious crimes, which I believe are unsurpassed in the annals of recorded sexual murders and degradation.'
Gacy was convicted in March 1980 in the sex-slayings of 33 young men and boys and was sentenced to death. The case is believed to be the largest mass murder in U.S. history.
Babcox said Eyler did not know Gacy and it is believed Eyler worked alone.
After his arrest, authorities compared blood and hair samples from Eyler to those obtained from Calise's body. The samples matched, Babcox said.
The break in the case came when Craig Townsend was able to identify Eyler from a photo. Townsend was attacked in October 1982 when he met Eyler outside a bar and was offered beer and drugs.
Townsend got into Eyler's truck and they drove out of the city, Babcox said. Police later found Townsend in a field near Crown Point, Ind. He had been stabbed several times.
Townsend, who survived, was found bound and with his pants around his ankles. All of the victims were 'stabbed many many times, up to 19 times,' and dumped in fields, Babcox said. Most were found with their pants pulled down.
Police believe some of the victims may have been hitchhikers. All but two of the victims were from Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.
Eyler's attorney, Kenneth Ditkowsky, filed suit Oct. 11 charging Lake County, Ill., sheriff's police and Indiana State Police violated Eyler's civil rights by involving him in the investigation.
The suit seeks $250,000 in damages from 11 police officers in both states.
U.S. District Judge Paul Plunkett refused Friday to order the return of Eyler's pickup truck and other items confiscated by police. Plunkett scheduled a hearing Wednesday to determine if the seizure of the items Oct. 3 violated Eyler's civil rights.