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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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".
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.
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
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.
Suspect in Dahmer Killing
Said, 'I'm the Chosen One'
By Don Terry - The New York
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."
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Christopher J. Scarver, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Jon Litscher, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
8, 2005, ArguedóJanuary 18, 2006, Decided
Circuit Judge. The plaintiff in this
prisoner's civil rights suit,
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) .)
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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),
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
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
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,
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
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
illumination of the cells disturbs
psychotics. And without audiotapes or a
radio or any other source of sound
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
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
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
There is no evidence,
however, that defendants knew when they
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
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
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
Florence and had learned a little about
him from the warden there; but while the
warden did not mention any misconduct by
did comment, enigmatically, that "Mr.
has, has a dark side."
officials might have been expected
eventually, at some point during
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
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.,
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.
Psychiatry 1450 (1983), and references
in Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146,
1231 (N.D. Cal. 1995).
Some of the
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,
lawyer has not contested the defendants'
denial that they knew that the
conditions of confinement at the
Supermax prison would aggravate
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
It was when
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
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
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.
ingenuity of murderous inmates,
especially in states such as Wisconsin
that do not have capital punishment, so
that inmates who like
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).
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
Those aspects of his
confinement did not protect other
inmates or guards from
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.
illumination of his cell may have had a
security rationale as well; it reduced
the likelihood that
would use the cloak of darkness to
attempt suicide or make a weapon of some
sort. In any event, as we noted earlier,
failed to cite evidence to overcome the
defendants' denials that they knew these
conditions were making his mental