Larry W. Eyler was caught in 1983, accused of being the "homosexual highway killer," responsible for 22 murders in three states. Unbelievably, he was indicted for just one killing and spent three months in jail before an Illinois judge determined that the overwhelming evidence against him was tainted. He was released. Six months later Eyler was caught again. This time he was accused of a brutal, unimaginable murder of a 15-year-old street hustler. Crime journalist Gera-Lind Kolarik was the first person to recognize the killer's hunting pattern, which crossed state lines -- she alerted the Illinois Lake County sheriff, thus initiating a crucial turn in the investigation. In Freed to Kill, Kolarik with journalist Wayne Klatt intelligently examines the story of Eyler and his victims and investigates the institutions and officials that allowed Eyler a chance to hunt again.
Starting in 1982, Eyler, a homosexual, reputedly tortured and killed some 25 men, most of them street hustlers, principally in Indiana and Illinois. He was picked up by the Indiana state police, detained for 12 hours and released. In due course he was charged with murder in Waukegan, Ill., but a judge dismissed the case, determining that the evidence was inadmissable under rules governing the proper mode of gathering evidence--the Exclusionary Rule. Eyler next killed a 15-year-old male hustler in Chicago, which led to his conviction in 1988. His death sentence has yet to be carried out. Kolarik, a one-time assignment editor for a Chicago TV station, played a pivotal role in the Eyler case, as she saw a link between the Indiana and Illinois murders. And in this tense, judicious brief, written with the broadcast editor of Chicago's City News Bureau, she recaps the gruesome case and the legal complexities which allowed an apprehended serial killer to be set free to take yet another life. Photos not seen by PW .