Accused mass killer Jeffrey Dahmer was charged Thursday in Milwaukee with three more murders, including the strangulation death of a Hillsborough woman's teen-age son, authorities said. For Debbie Vega, the grieving mother who now lives in Gibsonton, the latest disclosures will end almost four years of wondering about the fate of her son, James "Jamie" Doxtator, 14.
Vega last saw Jamie on Jan. 16, 1988, when he left home to escape an abusive stepfather, said Assistant District Attorney Carol Lynn White of Milwaukee. Dahmer told detectives he met the boy two days later, waiting at a bus stop outside a bar called the 219 Club. He lured Jamie with an offer of cash, White said.
The boy met a horrible end at the nearby West Allis, Wis., home of Dahmer's grandmother, according to Milwaukee court records.
Dahmer drugged Jamie with sleeping pills, strangled him and dismembered the body, White said. He had sex with him before killing him, Milwaukee court records show. Then he smashed the mutilated remains with a sledgehammer. He did such a thorough job that police told the boy's mother the remains never will be found.
Debbie Vega reported her son's disappearance to police but heard nothing until earlier this month. She said she left Milwaukee out of fear of her ex-husband.
"For our own safety, we left," she said. "The only times we've been back was to search the streets of Milwaukee (for Jamie)."
Dahmer never knew Jamie's name, and he was only "75 percent sure" he recalled the boy's face. But in interviews last week with West Allis detectives, he did recall two crucial marks on Jamie's body: roundscars like cigarette burns above each nipple.
That was enough to persuade prosecutors to charge Dahmer with first-degree murder in that case. Dahmer also was charged Thursday with the killings of Richard Guerrero, 25, and Edward Smith, 28, bringing to 15 the number of murder charges against him.
White said a conviction on each charge carries a life sentence _ there is no death penalty in Wisconsin _ and an additional 150-year sentence if he is found guilty as a habitual criminal.
On Thursday, as families of some of the victims wept behind him, Dahmer briefly appeared in a crowded courtroom before Milwaukee County Judge Audrey Brooks.
"Yes, that's my signature," he told the judge upon viewing a document in which he waived his rights to a hearing. The hearing was called to establish probable cause to charge the former chocolate-factory worker in the deaths of the 15 young men.
He will be arraigned Sept. 10 in Milwaukee, at which time he will enter a plea. His attorney hinted Thursday that he may plead insanity. Lawyer Gerald Boyle told reporters he has hired a doctor to determine whether Dahmer was in a sound mental state when he committed the murders.
"When I enter a plea at the arraignment, you will have the answers," he said.
Outside the courthouse Thursday, relatives and friends of 14-year-old Laotian immigrant Konerak Sinthasomphone staged a demonstration demanding a federal investigation into the Milwaukee Police Department. Konerak was the youth returned to Dahmer's apartment after police found him naked and bleeding last May. The incident was dismissed as a spat between lovers. Dahmer later said he killed the boy.
_ Staff writer Kevin Washington, Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.