MILWAUKEE -- The suspect in the beating death of Jeffrey L. Dahmer is a 25-year-old convicted murderer who went to prison two years ago proclaiming he was the son of God and that a family of voices told him "who I could trust and who was my enemy."
The suspect, Christopher Scarver, killed a man in a robbery in 1990, the year before Dahmer was arrested on charges that led to 15 consecutive life terms, a sentence that ended Monday in a pool of blood, next to a toilet.
According to court records, the motive in the killing that put Scarver in prison was robbery and vengeance against a job training program that he thought had wronged him. The records show that Scarver shot a 27-year-old job training worker four times in the head and then forced the program site manager to write him a check for $3,000. Then he fled with the check, $15 in cash and the manager's credit card.
He was arrested hours later, sitting on the front stoop of his girlfriend's apartment building in this blue-collar city. In his pockets, the police found a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol used in the slaying, the check and the credit card.
Scarver, a tall, husky, soft-spoken man, told police he had planned to turn himself in because he knew he had done wrong, a police officer testified at his 1992 trial.
"I don't know what came over me," Scarver told a court-appointed psychiatrist several months after the shooting. "I was never in any trouble with the law, never in a fight with anyone."
But he also offered a possible explanation. The voices, he said, had told him he was the son of God, and they "told me to do what I'm here for today."
He said the voices -- a family, including a woman, a man, a little girl and a boy -- had told him "everything was going to be all right and it was meant to happen like this."
They told him, he said, that "I'm the chosen one."
Scarver pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease. Psychiatrists split over whether he was competent to stand trial.
In prison, the Columbia Correctional Institution, about 40 miles north of Madison, Scarver was known as a mentally ill inmate, who took anti-psychotic medications, according to the Milwaukee Journal.
But Wisconsin prison officials were saying little yesterday about Scarver or about the investigation into Dahmer's slaying Monday morning in a toilet area next to the prison's gymnasium.
Scarver is also the prime suspect in the beating of another inmate, Jesse Anderson, who was critically injured in an attack that occurred about the same time Dahmer was bludgeoned.
The three convicted murderers were on a cleanup detail and were apparently left unattended by guards for up to 20 minutes.
There may have been other inmates in the area, but investigators would not say how many or how close they were to the attack.
Both Dahmer and Anderson are white, and their crimes battered the city's often fragile race relations. Most of Dahmer's victims were black and Hispanic, and Anderson, who killed his wife, blamed two black men for the crime.
Scarver is black, but prison officials said there is no evidence that the attacks on Dahmer and Anderson were racially motivated.
In the past, however, according to court records, Scarver expressed a belief that he had been a victim of racism. In a 1990 interview with a court-appointed psychiatrist, William Crowley, Scarver said he expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.