In January 2006, about a month after his last sentencing, Maust committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell. Jail workers found a suicide note in his cell in which he confessed to five killings, and apologized to the victim's families. Maust was 51 years old.
David Edward Maust was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania in 1954. His parents were George and Eva Maust. The surname Maust is of Amish origins. His father divorced and left his mother when Maust was 7. Maust's father was orphaned at the age of 12, and was raised in foster homes. According to records his mother was mentally ill and diagnosed as psychotic.
Maust was confined in a mental institution at the age of nine at the request of his mother. His mother claimed he set fire to his younger brother's bed, and later tried to drown him. However, his mother was described by a social worker as "disturbed," "psychotic," "functioning marginally," "needy," and "narcissistic." She had spent a month in a mental hospital in Pennsylvania. A later report on Maust said that the institution where he was confined was filled with children who were there more often than not because family members were mentally ill and couldn't, or wouldn't, take care of them. At the institution it was felt that Maust's mother simply “dumped” him there.
Regarding his mother's stated reasons for bringing him there, “staff there did not observe the lying, stealing and out-of-control behavior.” His mother was asked to be specific about trouble Maust caused during home visits, but she failed to do so. She ended up saying "she just doesn't want him at home."
In fact, Maust did have an early history of violence, having choked (but not killed) two friends for no reason. His brother remembered Maust beat a squirrel to death with a baseball bat “for fun”.
The brother recalled that Maust had been molested at an early age. At the hospital Maust was well-behaved, but despondent over his mother's failure to visit him with any regularity. After Maust left the hospital, he came to live at a children's home where, at age 13, he was subjected to unwanted sexual advances by another boy.
As a young adult, he worked in construction for his uncle in Wrightsville, Georgia, and was a skilled worker, but was eventually fired after crashing a company truck.
Maust tried to return home to his mother, but she did not want him to return and in fact threatened him with a knife. His mother took him to an Army recruiter and in 1971, at age eighteen, he enlisted in the Army. He completed Basic Training at Fort Lewis and AIT at Fort Ord, and in 1972 was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He served as a cook, and was by all accounts an able serviceman. He was also a keen bowler, averaging scores as high as 297, and won numerous awards and money prizes in his Army bowling league.
In 1974 while stationed in Germany he killed a 13-year-old boy, James McClister, the child of American expatriates, and was court-martialed and convicted of manslaughter and larceny (he claimed that the boy's death was the result of an accident on a moped which he had stolen.) He was sentenced to four years of prison at Fort Leavenworth. Maust requested not to be paroled, but was released in 1977 despite his wishes.
In 1979 in his apartment in Chicago Maust stabbed a friend in his apartment while he was sleeping. He was tried for attempted murder.
In 1981 Maust decided to find and kill the 13-year-old who had molested him at the children's home. He was unable to find the boy, encountered 15-year-old Donald Jones and decided to kill him instead. Jones was eventually drowned in an Elgin quarry. In Texas, this same year Maust stabbed a 14-year-old boy, was arrested, and sentenced to 5 years for “causing bodily injury to a child.”
In 1982, while in jail in Texas, Maust was extradited to Illinois for the Jones murder. A Cook County sheriff's police officer wrote on a cover sheet of the extradition papers sent to Texas: "Bad Guy. Gacey Type." Originally found unfit to stand trial, he was held in mental health facilities. Ultimately, after those hospitalizations and roughly ten years in jail awaiting trial, Maust pleaded guilty in 1994 and was sentenced 35 years. However, he received credit for the 12 years he was held and time off for good behavior; thus he served 17 years altogether and was released in 1999. A fact sheet sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Cook County state's attorney's office after this conviction said, "This inmate is most likely the most dangerous inmate you will house." The prosecutor urged that Maust be kept incarcerated, but under the law, Maust was eligible for this early release. Maust wrote a five-page letter to the Illinois Department of Corrections requesting to not be released from prison. "He did not meet the criteria to be placed in any other kind of facility," said Dee Dee Short, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
In 2001 Maust hit an acquaintance 6 times in the back of the head with a metal pipe in another attempted murder, but he was not prosecuted because the acquaintance, although he reported the incident to police, did not want to pursue prosecution.
On 12 December 2003 Maust was arrested for the strangling death of James Raganyi, 16. Raganyi's body was found encased in concrete in Maust's basement in Hammond, Indiana. He was later charged with the deaths of Michael Dennis, 13, and Nick James, 19, similarly wrapped in plastic and encased in concrete. In November 2005 he pleaded guilty for the three murders and was sentenced to three life terms.
The Maust case helped lead Indiana public officials to pursue a state amendment requiring for a violent offender registry for convicted murderers. If available, the registry might have reduced the chance of Maust continuance of murder upon release .
"Indiana Code Section 11-8-8-7 provides that sex or violent offenders must register with local law enforcement authority. Indiana Code Section 11-8-8-5(18) defines a “sex or violent offender” to include a person convicted of murder."
The Indiana Code Section 11-8-8 was enacted in July 2006, as of this date there are four types of offenders:
There are two registry terms of enrollment; 10 years and life.