The entire sixth episode of "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is devoted to one of convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's 17 known victims: Anthony "Tony" Hughes.
Hughes became deaf in early childhood, according to the Gallaudet University Library Guide to Deaf Biographies, and was also mute. After graduating from Wisconsin School for the Deaf, Hughes moved to Milwaukee and was “active in the Milwaukee gay community,” per Gallaudet.
Hughes' sister, Barbara Hughes-Holt, described her brother as a "party person" who loved to dance to the Chicago Tribune, and also said, "Tony wasn't one that you could fool. He wasn't a naive person at all.’"
Hughes was killed in 1991 at the age of 31. Hughes' murder took place two days before Dahmer killed 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, who briefly escaped Dahmer's Milwaukee apartment, but was ushered back into Dahmer's apartment by police following a 911 call.
In the show, Hughes is played by Rodney Burford, previously seen in the Netflix docuseries "Deaf U." Dahmer, who was convicted of 15 murders and admitted to two more, is played by Evan Peters. Dahmer was killed in prison in 1994.
Here's what to know.
Hughes disappeared after meeting Dahmer at a night club in May 1991
Brian Masters, in his book "The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer," recounts the lead-up to how Hughes ended up in Dahmer's apartment on May 24, 1991.
According to Masters, Dahmer and Hughes met at the 219 Club in Milwaukee. Hughes asked three friends to give him a ride to Dahmer's apartment.
"He and Dahmer sat in the back seat writing notes to each other. Tony wanted to bring the whole company in for drinks at the apartment, but Dahmer indicated that he was inviting Tony by himself. Tony then relayed this information to his friends in sign language, and they understood the situation well enough. He did not seem at all afraid of Dahmer," Masters said.
He was murdered the same night
That night, Dahmer murdered Hughes. He was left to lie on Dahmer's bedroom floor for days. Building manager Sopa Princewill confronted Dahmer over the smell emanating from his apartment, according to Masters.
Hughes was then reported missing until July 1991, when bodies were found in Dahmer's apartment. Hughes' sister, waiting to hear whether her brother was among the bodies found, expressed her feelings to the Associated Press.
″It’s scary,″ Barbara Hughes-Holt said. ″Just fearing that on of those bodies could be my brother is real scary.″ She continued, "In the back of my mind, I always thought that it would have to be something awful that happened.″
Hughes' mother, Shirley Hughes, gave a powerful victim impact statement during Dahmer's trial
Shirley Hughes, along with other victims' family members, spoke during Dahmer's trial in 1992.
Her victim impact statement took the form of a poem written by her son's friend, and told from his perspective as he was dying and after his death.
“Why am I a victim in your cruel and rueful world?" the poem begins, imagining Hughes' inability to speak up. “Although I can’t communicate with a loud voice, listen to me anyway. Try to have mercy on my moans. Look at the tears rolling down my face, see that each one is a cry for help, and realize they are a sign showing you that I want to live."
Going on, the poem then switches to Hughes delivering a message to his mom from the afterlife: “Mom, I’m gone. My hope, my breath, my want to live have been taken away from me unwillingly and emotionally. I know that there’s a dagger piercing your heart day and night because of this, but yet I’m not far away. When you get cold, I wrap my arms around you to warm you. If you get sad, I softly grab your heart and cheer you up. If you smile I’ll smile right along with you and when you’re happy, I’ll know it."
Hughes ended her speech by making the sign in American Sign Language (ASL) for "I love you."
"Two fingers and one thumb means ‘I love you’ in sign language," she said, explaining to the jury that her son was deaf. "When you cry, take one tear drop and place it outside your window ledge and when I pass by, I’ll exchange it for one of mine. Two fingers and one thumb, mom."
Shirley Hughes has criticized the Netflix show
Hughes' mom, Shirley Hughes, has joined other family members of Dahmer's victims in speaking out against the Netflix hit. Speaking to the Guardian in October, Hughes said she didn't understand how the TV show came to be.
“I don’t see how they can do that,” Hughes said. “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”
Rita Isbell, sister of victim Erroll Lindsey, called the show "harsh and careless" in an essay for Insider. She said it might be different if it benefitted victims' families whatsoever. “It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” Isbell said.