Sonny Pierce, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Kiara Windom, 18, of Harvey, Kimika Coleman, 18, of Chicago, and Mariah Edwards, 17, of Blue Island. A judge denied Pierce bond Wednesday.
State prosecutors believe Pierce sexually assaulted Windom and Edwards before strangling them and dumping their bodies in alleys in August of 2009. Officials say Pierce met Windom and Edwards on telephone chat lines.
Police say Edwards lived in Pierce's neighborhood. She has been missing since early last July. Investigators have yet to find her body but they say they found video of Pierce having sex with her on his computer.
"This 17-year-old girl appears to be lifeless, and we believe, in fact, that she was already deceased when the video was taken," said State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "These young teenagers were brutalized, and their lives were cut short in yet another example of the heinous crime of violence against women."
For the victims' families, the charges bring answers but also anger.
"I'm relieved, but then I'm not relieved because they don't have the death penalty," said Hallena Johnson, Windom's mother.
Ever since her daughter's death, Johnson has suffered from depression.
"My niece was a loving and very caring person, you know, she always wanted to be a nurse. She loved to take care of people," said Kevin Johnson, Windom's uncle.
Investigators say they have cell phone records and DNA evidence linking Pierce to the murders of Windom and Coleman.
"I was happy about it. I mean, it had been eating me up for a long time," said William Coleman, victim's brother.
"How could somebody like, take out an innocent life like that, you know, like how can he sleep with himself, not that he did it one time, he did it again and again," said Andrea Coleman, victim's sister.
Pierce has been in jail since August of 2010 on charges of raping a 15-year-old girl.
Alvarez said she is concerned there could be other victims. She is asking anyone who may have information about Pierce to call investigators.