LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — The family of a man murdered by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was given a special presentation Wednesday by the man’s former school in Arkansas.
Tony Hughes was murdered in 1991. He and his family were living in Wisconsin at the time after moving from Sparkman, Arkansas.
When Hughes was a child, he attended the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock, and his mother Shirley said the time at the school made a big impact on her son.
“He learned a lot of things here,” she recalled. “He learned how to use sign language here and taught us all how to sign a little bit.”
The Arkansas School for the Deaf reached out to Hughes’ niece after KARK 4 News aired a story about the family’s reaction to a new Netflix series portraying him.
A school representative said there were photographs and documents from his time at the school and wanted to share them with the family.
“Just being able to look back on his life as a person, not a victim, is amazing,” Consuella Hunter, Hughes’ niece, said of the collection.
Shirley Hughes said no one from Netflix reached out to the family before the series became available. Now family said they are reliving the trauma from Tony Hughes’ murder.
“When can we just let him rest?” Hunter said. “We want to rest.”
Shirley Hughes said the series has made people in the community look at her differently.
“You get stares,” she explaied. “You get talked about, laughed about, joked about.”
The gesture from the School for the Deaf showed the good in people.
“I didn’t even think about this,” Shirley Hughes said. “I really, really appreciate what they’re doing.”
Some of Tony Hughes’ old classmates now work at the school.
“He was always friendly and smiling,” one man said. “We lived in the middle school dorm.”
Shirley Hughes said looking through the memories is a reminder of the person her son was.
“He’s a human being,” Shirley Hughes said. “There’s a good side. Everything’s not negative.”