NAPERVILLE, Ill., March 8 -- The lawyer for a suspected serial killer who died in prison says he admitted to killing 21 men and boys, including four slayings in which he had an accomplice.
Larry Eyler died of complications from AIDS Sunday at the Pontiac Correction Center at age 41. He had been convicted of the 1984 dismemberment-murder of a 15-year-old male prostitute and had pleaded guilty to a Terre Haute, Ind., murder in 1982.
Kathleen Zellner, the attorney who represented Eyler in his legal battles, read a list of 15 victims to reporters during a dramatic news conference at the Naperville Holiday Inn. The other six victims were not identified.
She said Eyler had confessed to the killings in Illinois and Indiana in a 1991 letter to former Gov. James Thompson.
'Nothing excuses what Larry Eyler did and I'm not here to offer any excuses,' Zellner said. 'I found him to be a superficially charming, a very manipulative and extraordinarily difficult individual to deal with.
'And I think the only right thing he ever did with his life was giving me permission to come here today,' she said.
Zellner said Eyler denied to the end that he had killed Daniel Bridges in Chicago, the only murder for which he was convicted.
Zellner said Eyler blamed childhood abuse for his murderous impulses and would hunt for victims after fights with his lover. She said she believes Eyler's unnamed accomplice still lives in Indiana.
'I believe that there are individuals out there who have this information (on the unnamed victims). I want to send a message to one person in Indiana, and you know who you are,' she said.
Eyler had been on death row at the Pontiac Correctional Center since 1986 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990.
He tried to get his death sentence reversed by offering information on more than 20 murders but the offer was rejected by Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley.
An appeal of Eyler's conviction is pending before the Illinois Supreme Court. Zellner said she plans to file a motion this week to proceed with the case despite his death.