CHICAGO -- An Indiana State trooper says he hopes Larry Eyler will admit to several homosexual-related slayings in his state now that he has been convicted of murdering a teenaged male prostitute in Illinois.
A Cook County Circuit Court jury deliberated about three hours Wednesday night before finding Eyler, 33, guilty in the torture-slaying and dismemberment of 15-year-old Daniel Bridges.
Eyler showed little emotion as the verdicts were read, but the victim's family breathed a collective sigh of relief and scattered applause was heard in the courtroom.
'I'm so happy. I've never been so happy,' said Bridges' sobbing mother, Austine. 'I hope he gets the death penalty.'
Eyler, a suspect in 19 slayings in four states, is eligible for the death penalty because Bridges' murder was committed during the forcible felonies of kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping. Sentencing was set for July 24.
'One of the most dangerous people who has ever set foot in this building is now behind bars for good,' said Assistant State's Attorney Mark Rakoczy. 'It's quite a relief.'
The trial jury was shown explicit photos of Bridges' dissected body, heard detailed accounts of the torture Bridges suffered before his death and heard testimony from Eyler's former homosexual lovers about his sexual quirks.
Detective Sgt. Ted Knorr, of the Indiana State Police, said he hopes the conviction spurs Eyler to shed some light on killings he is suspected of in Indiana.
Knorr said Indiana police have connected Eyler to the deaths of four young men in 1983. Two of the victims were never identified.
An Indianapolis woman, Mary Himmel, broke into tears of joy when the verdicts were announced.
Himmel said she believes her brother, Daniel McNeive, was killed by Eyler after he accepted a ride with him near Terre Haute, Ind., in 1983.
Prosecutors claimed Eyler tortured and killed Bridges, then used a hacksaw to cut his body into eight pieces and stuff the parts in silver garbage bags.
The prosecutors presented witnesses who testified Eyler had a penchant for binding the hands and feet of his homosexual lovers. Other witnesses testified they saw Eyler throw silver garbage bags into a dumpster. Eight pieces of Bridges' body were found in individual silver garbage bags.