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Christopher J. SCARVER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Racially related
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: June 1, 1990 / November 28, 1994
Date of birth: July 6, 1969
Victims profile: Steve Lohman, 27 / Jeffrey L. Dahmer and Jesse Anderson (fellow inmates)
Method of murder: Shooting / Beating with a bar from a weight machine
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Status: Sentenced to three life sentences without parole
 
 
 
 
 
 

Christopher Scarver (born 1969) is a convicted American murderer who while in prison killed Jeffrey L. Dahmer and Jesse Anderson while working with them for what he called "the work of God". Many believe this was racially related.

Scarver, the second son of five children born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, went to James Madison High School and dropped out in the 11th grade. When his mother kicked him out he started to drink beer and smoke marijuana.

Then, in 1990 according to the New York Times, he went to the training program office and saw Steve Lohman, a program worker. He ordered Steve Lohman to give him his money and when he only received 15 dollars, Scarver shot Lohman in the head. At the same time, he demanded money from a Mr. Feyen.

Next, according to authorities, Scarver said,"Do you think I'm kidding, I need more money." Scarver shot Lohman two more times before Feyen was able to run away with a check that he would have given to Scarver. Scarver was tried and convicted in 1992 and sent to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, where Dahmer was also incarcerated.

On November 28, 1994, Scarver was serving a sentence for two counts of first-degree murder at the age of 25, and was labelled a schizophrenic psychopath with messianic delusions.

Scarver was paired up with Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson for work detail which included the cleaning of a bathroom. During that time he beat both men with what is sometimes described as a broom handle and others a metal bar.

When he returned to his cell early a guard asked him why he was not still working. He explained "God told me to do it. You will hear about it on the 6 o'clock news. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead". During that time two guards found the bodies of Dahmer and Anderson. Dahmer was pronounced dead at 9:11 AM, Anderson died from his injuries two days later.

Although Scarver maintained that he was provoked by God it is widely believed that he killed both for racial reasons. Scarver, a black man, is thought to have killed the two because most of Dahmer's 17 victims were black and Anderson blamed the murder he committed against his wife on two black men in a fabricated story. Scarver received two more life sentences for these murders.

A report from "Robert," a purported former inmate at the prison where Dahmer was murdered contradicts portions of the official story, stating that Dahmer was dead before the ambulance arrived, and that the guards from that area were all in the bathroom while Dahmer was murdered, suggesting the murder was "an inside job" for which Scarver received $100 compensation.

Death metal band Macabre made an eponymous song about Scarver for their concept album Dahmer.

On an internet website, findadeath.com, a former inmate at the prison where Dahmer was murdered stated that guards had "mysteriously" vanished on the day Dahmer was murdered. He stated that guards "never" left the area where Dahmer worked in but on that day, they vanished for a long time.

 
 

Christopher J. Scarver (born July 6, 1969), is a convicted murderer who, while in prison, killed Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson. He described the deed as "the work of God".

Early life

Scarver was the second son of five children born in Milwaukee. He attended James Madison High School before dropping out in the eleventh grade. Eventually his mother forced him to leave the house because of his increasing alcoholism.

Scarver was hired as a trainee carpenter in a Youth Conservation Corps job program. He said that he had been promised by a supervisor that upon completion of this program he would be hired full time, but the supervisor was dismissed, and as a result, Scarver's full time position never materialized. Scarver blamed the site manager, John P. Feyen, for his troubles.

Murder conviction

On 1 June 1990, he went to the training program office, expecting to find only Feyen there, but saw Steve Lohman, a program worker. He ordered Lohman at gunpoint to give him his money. When he received only $15, Scarver shot Lohman in the head. At the same time, he demanded money from Feyen. According to authorities, Scarver said, "Do you think I'm kidding Mr. Hitler? I need more money". Scarver shot Lohman twice more before Feyen was able to run away after giving a check for $3,000 to Scarver.

Scarver was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and sent to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin in 1992. While imprisoned, he complained of experiencing messianic delusions, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Conduct in prison

On the morning of November 28, 1994, Scarver was assigned to a work detail with Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson that included cleaning the prison gymnasium bathroom. When guards left the three unsupervised, Scarver beat the other two men with a bar from a weight machine. When he returned to his cell early, a guard asked him why he was not still working. He explained "God told me to do it. You will hear about it on the 6 o'clock news. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead". During that time two guards found the bodies of Dahmer and Anderson. Dahmer was pronounced dead on his way to the hospital from extensive head injuries, and Anderson died two days later. Scarver received two more life sentences for these murders.

In 2005, Scarver brought a civil rights suit against the officials of the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in which he argued that he had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, contrary to his constitutional rights. A district judge dismissed the suit against several of the defendants and ruled that the actions of the remaining officials could not be considered unlawful. Scarver appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, who upheld the decision of the district judge in 2006.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Suspect in Dahmer Killing Said, 'I'm the Chosen One'

By Don Terry - The New York Times

November 30, 1994

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 that 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 J. Scarver, killed a man in a robbery in 1990, the year before Mr. 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 Mr. Scarver in prison was robbery and vengeance against a job-training program that he thought had wronged him. The records show that Mr. Scarver shot a 27-year-old job-training worker four times in the head and then, at gunpoint, forced the program site manager to write him a check for $3,000. He fled with the check, $15 in cash and the manager's credit card.

A couple of hours later, Mr. Scarver was arrested as he sat on the stoop of his girlfriend's apartment building here. In his pockets, the police found the check, the credit card and the .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol that had been used in the slaying.

Mr. Scarver, a tall, husky, soft-spoken man, told the arresting officers that 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," Mr. 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 "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."

Mr. Scarver pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease. Psychiatrists disagreed on whether he was competent to stand trial.

In prison, the Columbia Correctional Institution, about 40 miles north of Madison, Mr. Scarver was known as a mentally ill inmate who took anti-psychotic medications, according to The Milwaukee Journal.

Wisconsin prison officials were saying little today about Mr. Scarver or about the investigation into Mr. Dahmer's slaying on Monday morning in a toilet area next to the prison's gymnasium.

Mr. 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 Mr. Dahmer was bludgeoned.

The three men, all convicted murderers, were on a cleaning detail and were apparently left unattended by guards for up to 20 minutes when Mr. Dahmer was killed and Mr. Anderson's head was caved in.

Other inmates may have been in the area, but investigators would not say how many or how close they were to the attack.

Both Mr. Dahmer and Mr. Anderson are white, and their crimes battered Milwaukee's race relations. Most of Mr. Dahmer's victims were black or Hispanic; Mr. Anderson, who killed his wife, said two black men had committed the crime.

Mr. Scarver is black, but prison officials say there is no evidence that the attacks on Mr. Dahmer and Mr. Anderson were racially motivated.

Court records state, however, that Mr. Scarver has previously said he was a victim of racism. In a 1990 interview with a court-appointed psychiatrist, William Crowley, Mr. Scarver said he expected to spend the rest of his life in prison. Asked if he thought that a just fate, Mr. Scarver said, "Nothing white people do to blacks is just."

Mr. Scarver, the second of five children, was born and reared in Milwaukee. He dropped out of James Madison High School in the 11th grade and enrolled in a one-year Conservation Corps job program as a carpenter trainee.

He told investigators and Dr. Crowley that after he had completed the program, a supervisor told him he would be hired full time. But the supervisor was dismissed and Mr. Scarver was not hired. Mr. Scarver said he blamed the site manager, John P. Feyen, for his troubles.

Mr. Scarver said that after he lost his "job" at the program, he began to drink three 40-ounce bottles of beer every day and smoked at least four marijuana cigarettes a day.

Dr. Crowley testified in court: "He began to brood about it. He felt that there were racial overtones involved."

Mr. Scarver said that his mother made him move out of her home and that his girlfriend was pregnant. He then began planning his revenge.

He walked into the training program office on June 1, 1990, expecting to find only Mr. Feyen. But another worker, Steven Lohman, was there, too. Mr. Scarver ordered Mr. Lohman to lay face down on the floor and demanded money from Mr. Feyen.

When Mr. Feyen showed him he only had $15 in his wallet, Mr. Scarver shot Mr. Lohman in the head.

"Now, do you think I'm kidding?" he said. "I need more money."

He shot Mr. Lohman twice more before forcing Mr. Feyen to write the check. Mr. Scarver shot Mr. Lohman again in the head before Mr. Feyen was able to break free and run into the street.

Mr. Scarver took one shot at Mr. Feyen and then ran away.

In interviews with Dr. Crowley, he said that he did not want to go to a mental hospital because the doctors would turn him into a "vegetable" and that the voices told him to go to prison instead.

Mr. Scarver was in jail awaiting trial when Mr. Dahmer was arrested and the horrors inside his apartment were disclosed. Mr. Dahmer went to trial first, and his spirit hung in the courtroom during Mr. Scarver's trial later that year, 1992.

At one point, the prosecution and the defense in Mr. Scarver's trial argued whether a prosecution psychiatrist who had testified at Mr. Dahmer's trial would be allowed to cite that testimony in establishing his expertise.

Steven Kohn, Mr. Scarver's lawyer, said that mentioning Mr. Dahmer would prejudice his client. "I think it's fair to say," Mr. Kohn said, "emotions in the community are high."

The judge asked if the psychiatrist was going to compare Mr. Scarver and Mr. Dahmer. And Assistant District Attorney Douglas J. Simpson of Milwaukee County replied: "Absolutely not. The cases have nothing to do with each other."

 
 

Christopher J. Scarver, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Jon Litscher, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit

No. 05-2999

December 8, 2005, ArguedóJanuary 18, 2006, Decided

POSNER, Circuit Judge. The plaintiff in this prisoner's civil rights suit, Christopher Scarver, contends that officials of the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility--nicknamed "Supermax"--violated his constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. ("Supermax" actually is a generic term for "facilities or units designated for inmates who have been disruptive or violent while incarcerated and whose behavior can be controlled only by separation, restricted movement, and limited direct access to staff and other inmates, thereby excluding routine disciplinary segregation, protective custody, or other routine purposes." Leena Kurki & Norval Morris, "The Purposes, Practices, and Problems of Supermax Prisons," 28 Crime & Justice 385, 388 (2001) .)

The district judge, after dismissing several of the defendants, held that a jury could reasonably find that the remaining ones had violated Scarver's constitutional right by subjecting him to conditions of confinement that had significantly aggravated his mental illness. But she granted summary judgment for these defendants anyway on the ground of qualified immunity: settled law did not, she ruled, establish the unlawfulness of their behavior. We address the merits, and will not have to consider immunity.

Scarver is schizophrenic and delusional, and, unlike most schizophrenics, extremely dangerous. He has murdered three people, two of them in prison in 1994. One was the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer--the cannibal murderer of 17 young men. Scarver, who hears voices constantly, claimed that God had ordered him to commit the murders. At the time, he was in Wisconsin's Columbia Correctional Institution, where he twice attempted suicide, once by setting fire to himself.

The year after the two murders, he was transferred (after a brief sojourn in the U.S. Medical 974 Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, for a psychiatric evaluation) to the federal prison at Florence, Colorado, the most secure prison in the federal system. The Wisconsin prison authorities didn't think they had a secure enough prison to protect inmates and staff from him.

Scarver spent five years in the federal prison at Florence, and was surprisingly well behaved. He was given audio-tapes to help quiet the voices in his head, worked, and was permitted daily contact with other inmates in the prison's recreation yard, all without incident.

At the end of this for him happy interlude he was returned to Wisconsin at the request of one of the defendant officials and interned in the then-new Supermax facility in Boscobel, Wisconsin.

The defendants believed that this facility was secure enough to hold him. But after three years there, and after the district court had determined in a preliminary-injunction hearing that "conditions at Supermax are so severe and restrictive that they exacerbate the symptoms that mentally ill inmates exhibit" and that "many of the severe conditions serve no legitimate penological interest; they can only be considered punishment for punishment's sake," Jones 'El v. Berge, 164 F. Supp. 2d 1096, 1116-17 (W.D. Wis. 2001) (see 374 F.3d 541 (7th Cir. 2004), for a subsequent stage of the case), Scarver was sent back to Colorado, though this time to a state prison, where he is being allowed to mingle with other inmates just as he was at the federal prison in Florence.

The staff at the state prison does not regard him as a management problem. However, he had been there for only a brief time before the record of this case closed. His complaint is about his treatment at Supermax.

The facility has several degrees of restrictiveness, called "levels." Inmates spend their first 30 days on Level One, where they are locked in windowless single-person cells for all but four hours of the week; the four hours are for recreation in a small windowless room not much larger than the cells. The cells are illuminated 24 hours a day so that the guards can watch the inmates, although they glance in only intermittently.

The cells are not air-conditioned, and so, being windowless, they become extremely hot during the summer--the heat index sometimes rises above 100 degrees, and often above 90. The inmates are not allowed to have mechanical or electronic possessions, such as a television set, a clock, or even a watch--just one religious text, one box of legal documents, and 25 personal letters.

The inmate who behaves himself during his initial 30-day stay at Level One is transferred to Level Two, where he has slightly better conditions and more privileges; and from there he can move by successive promotions based on good behavior to Level Five and then out of Supermax altogether, to a less restrictive prison, though given Scarver's history it is doubtful whether he could have progressed that far no matter how well he had behaved.

And in any event mentally ill prisoners have great difficulty behaving and therefore getting promoted, or if promoted (rarely beyond Level Two) staying at their new level, since misbehavior leads to demotion; so they end up spending most of their time at Level One.

The heat of the cells during the summer interacted with Scarver's antipsychotic drugs to cause him extreme discomfort; antipsychotic medication puts a person at risk of heat stroke, dangerously low blood pressure, and a rare and often fatal heat-related disease called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).

The constant illumination of the cells disturbs psychotics. And without audiotapes or a radio or any other source of sound Scarver could not 975 still the voices in his head. He attempted suicide twice, once by taking an overdose of his antipsychotic pills and the other time by swallowing a large number of Tylenol tablets. On several occasions he banged his head against the cell wall for protracted periods, telling a prison psychologist that he wanted to break his head open so that the voices could escape.

He also cut his head with a razor in an effort to cut out whoever or whatever was talking and moving around inside his head. On another occasion he cut his wrists. His symptoms would worsen when he stopped taking his antipsychotic medication, which he would do when the heat of his cell interacted with the medication to cause him serious distress.

It is a fair inference that conditions at Supermax aggravated the symptoms of Scarver's mental illness and by doing so inflicted severe physical and especially mental suffering. He was closely watched and so the defendants were well aware of his problems.

Their reactions were at times bizarre, as when they denied him a promotion to a higher level because "the incident of you banging your head on the wall and other bizarre behavior is not appropriate. We highly recommend that you cooperate w/ clinical services so that advancement can be considered in the future." He was banging his head because he is crazy, not because he was unwilling to cooperate.

There is no evidence, however, that defendants knew when they brought Scarver back from Florence because they now had a secure enough facility to house him safely that he would be at risk of severe distress. Probably they should have known, but that would make them guilty merely of negligence and not of deliberate indifference (the mental state required to establish an Eighth Amendment violation), which would require proof that they were conscious of the risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837-38, (1994); Case v. Ahitow, 301 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2002).

Of course they soon realized that Scarver was in serious distress because of his mental illness. But there is no indication that they attributed this to the heat of the cell, the constant illumination of the cell, or the denial of audiotapes or similar equipment--no evidence in short that they realized the harm that the conditions of his confinement were inflicting on him. They were not indifferent to his welfare.

They gave him constant psychiatric attention, plied him with antipsychotic medication, and through close surveillance thwarted his two suicide attempts. They did not know what more to do. There is no indication that they had detailed knowledge of the program at Florence for homicidal maniacs (nor has Scarver's lawyer favored us with a description of it) and they state without contradiction that Florence had not forwarded any of its records of Scarver's conduct there to the Wisconsin authorities, who may not have known that he had behaved better at Florence than he was behaving at Supermax.

The warden of Supermax had, it is true, interviewed Scarver at Florence and had learned a little about him from the warden there; but while the warden did not mention any misconduct by Scarver he did comment, enigmatically, that "Mr. Scarver has, has a dark side."

The Supermax officials might have been expected eventually, at some point during Scarver's three years there, to realize that the heat, the constant illumination, and the lack of sound were adverse conditions that the medication couldn't completely offset (especially given the interaction of the medication with the heat) and that created a substantial risk of causing Scarver serious physical and mental suffering.

There is an extensive literature on the effect of such conditions, particularly of isolation, on mentally disturbed prisoners. E.g., Jennifer 976 R. Wynn & Alisa Szatrowski, "The Modern American Penal System: Hidden Prisons: Twenty-Three-Hour Lockdown Units in New York State Correctional Facilities," 24 Pace L. Rev. 497, 512-14 (2004); Craig Haney, "Mental Health Issues in Long-Term Solitary and 'Supermax' Confinement," 49 Crime & Delinquency 124 (2003); Stuart Grassian, "Psychopathological Effects of Solitary Confinement," 140 Am. J. Psychiatry 1450 (1983), and references in Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146, 1231 (N.D. Cal. 1995).

Some of the literature postdates Scarver's detention in the Supermax and thus is irrelevant to what the defendants knew when he was there, but much of it is earlier. Although we know from the Jones 'El opinion that the defendants had a copy of Grassian's article, Scarver's lawyer has not contested the defendants' denial that they knew that the conditions of confinement at the Supermax prison would aggravate Scarver's mental disease and has not argued that the literature was so widely disseminated in correctional circles that it is a fair inference that despite their denials they did know that.

What is more, the treatment of a mentally ill prisoner who happens also to have murdered two other inmates is much more complicated than the treatment of a harmless lunatic. Cf. Anderson v. County of Kern, 45 F.3d 1310, 1314-15 (9th Cir. 1995). Measures reasonably taken to protect inmates and staff from him may unavoidably aggravate his psychosis; in such a situation, the measures would not violate the Constitution.

It was when Scarver was permitted to mingle with other inmates at the Columbia Correctional Institution that he killed two of them. Maybe there is some well-known protocol for dealing with the Scarvers of this world, though probably there is not (we have found none, and his lawyer has pointed us to none); fortunately they are few in number. Scarver has presented no evidence concerning the techniques that the two prisons in Colorado use to allow a dangerous prisoner to mingle with other inmates without endangering them or staff.

Dahmer, who doubtless would have been executed in any state that retains the death penalty, was a unique target. The other inmate whom Scarver murdered was not; the motive there may have been that the inmate had tried to pin his crime on a black man (Scarver is black). Race may also have played a role in Scarver's decision to murder Dahmer, many of whose victims were black. Other white inmates--at least those whom Scarver perceives to have wronged blacks--might also be at risk of being attacked and perhaps killed by him.

The murderous ingenuity of murderous inmates, especially in states such as Wisconsin that do not have capital punishment, so that inmates who like Scarver are already serving life terms are undeterrable, cannot be overestimated. See, e.g., Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 301-02, (1995); Westefer v. Snyder, 422 F.3d 570, 575 (7th Cir. 2005); United States v. Tokash, 282 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2002); Bruscino v. Carlson, 854 F.2d 162, 164 (7th Cir. 1988); United States v. Fountain, 768 F.2d 790 (7th Cir. 1985); United States v. Silverstein, 732 F.2d 1338, 1341-42 (7th Cir. 1984); Allen v. Woodford, 366 F.3d 823, 831-33 (9th Cir. 2004); Shrader v. White, 761 F.2d 975, 982 (4th Cir. 1985).

Prison authorities must be given considerable latitude in the design of measures for controlling homicidal maniacs without exacerbating their manias beyond what is necessary for security. It is a delicate balance. "Federal judges must always be circumspect in imposing their ideas about civilized and effective prison administration on state prison officials.

The Constitution does not speak with precision to the issue of prison conditions (that is an understatement); federal judges know little about the management of prisons; managerial judgments generally are the province of other branches of government than the judicial; and it is unseemly for federal courts to tell a state . . . how to run its prison system." Duran v. Elrod, 760 F.2d 756, 759 (7th Cir. 1985); see also Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547, (1979).

It may be necessary to separate measures taken to protect inmates and staff from a homicidal inmate from conditions that inflict serious suffering without any security rationale. (We say "may be" because the two types of condition may not be separable in practice.) Had the defendants realized the risk of serious harm to Scarver that was created by extreme heat (interacting with his antipsychotic medication) and the denial of audiotapes, their decision to disregard that risk probably could not have been justified by his dangerousness.

Those aspects of his confinement did not protect other inmates or guards from Scarver or Scarver from himself, although the heat--conceivably even the prohibition of audiotapes--may have been an indirect result of trying to prevent prisoners from fashioning weapons from fixtures, perhaps including air-conditioning vents and control, or from other materials, in the cell.

The constant illumination of his cell may have had a security rationale as well; it reduced the likelihood that Scarver would use the cloak of darkness to attempt suicide or make a weapon of some sort. In any event, as we noted earlier, Scarver has failed to cite evidence to overcome the defendants' denials that they knew these conditions were making his mental illness worse.

AFFIRMED.

 
 


Christopher Scarver
 

 

 
 
 
 
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