Jeffrey Dahmer

Summary

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer (Milwaukee, May 21, 1960 – Portage, November 28, 1994) was an American serial killer. Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with most of the murders occurring between the years 1989 and 1991. His crimes were particularly heinous, involving rape, necrophilia, and cannibalism.

Although diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and psychotic disorder, Dahmer was found legally sane at his trial. Convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he committed in the US state of Wisconsin, he was sentenced to fifteen life sentences on February 15, 1992. Later, in the U.S. state of Ohio, Dahmer was sentenced to a 16th life sentence, this time for the 1978 murder of Steven Mark Hicks.

On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, another inmate, with whom he was serving time at Columbia Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in the state of Wisconsin.

Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 21, 1960, to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. His family on his father’s side were of German and Welsh ancestry, while his mother was of Norwegian and Irish descent. When he was still a child, his parents moved with him to Bath, Ohio, where he attended Revere High School. There he played tennis and played the clarinet. Dahmer was initially described as an “energetic and happy” child, but his temperament changed when he underwent inguinal hernia surgery shortly before his four-year birthday. Parallel to this, his parents’ marriage deteriorated, with fighting and yelling becoming frequent over the years. Thus, as he grew older, he became a loner and did not receive much affection at home, with his father busy with his academic achievements and his mother suffering from various illnesses that made her addicted to medication. In 1970, at the age of 10, Dahmer asked his father Lionel what would happen if chicken bones, which they were eating for dinner, were dipped in bleach. Lionel, believing this was just a normal child’s curiosity, demonstrated how to use bleach and other chemicals and safely preserve animal bones. Dahmer would incorporate these techniques to preserve the bones of his victims in the future.

Many of Dahmer’s schoolmates described him as “strange” and “bizarre” because of his constant pranks, which were part of Dahmer’s attempt to fit in with his classmates, but to no avail. He used to fake epileptic fits and do other pranks that the students at his school found strange, but encouraged such behavior because they thought it was funny. At the age of 15, his few classmates realized that Dahmer was an alcoholic. Later, Dahmer confirmed that his murderous desires and fantasies began at this time, but not because of his alcoholism. Jeffrey drank so that he could forget the things he was thinking. Even in his teens, he dissected dead animals that he found on the road and even had a private cemetery in the back of his house.

When he reached puberty, Dahmer discovered himself to be homosexual, something he did not tell his parents. In his early teens, he had a brief relationship with a boy close to his own age, although they did not have sex. Later, Dahmer confessed that he began to fantasize about domination and of exercising complete control over a submissive partner. These fantasies gradually became intertwined with his dissection habits. When he was around 16, Dahmer conceived a fantasy where he would knock a man unconscious, particularly a runner he found attractive, and then make sexual use of his body. On one occasion, he hid in the bushes with a baseball bat with the intention of attacking this man on one of his morning runs; however, exactly that day, the man did not come out for his runs. Dahmer later said that this was the first time he contemplated killing someone.

In 1977, his grades dropped sharply. That same year, his parents separated. The following year he managed to graduate from high school at the same time as his father left home. A few months later, Dahmer was abandoned by his mother and left with no food, no money, and a broken refrigerator at the age of 18. After his parents’ divorce was finalized, his father moved to a nearby hotel, while his mother took up residence in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, along with his younger brother David.

Dahmer committed his first murder in 1978, three weeks after his high school graduation. By that time he was living alone. On June 18, while driving his car, he saw, on the corner of the road, young Steven Hicks (almost 19 years old), hitchhiking. Dahmer invited the boy to come to his house to drink alcohol and distract himself. Hicks, who was on his way to a music concert in Lockwood Corners, agreed, and the two stayed drinking and listening to music for a few hours. Then Steven Hicks got up and said he was leaving, but Dahmer didn’t want him to leave. When Hicks turned his back on him, Dahmer hit him twice with a 5 kg dumbbell. When the boy fell unconscious, he strangled him to death with the barbell. Dahmer then removed Hicks’ clothes and masturbated over his body. The next day, he took his body down to the basement and dissected it, burying his remains in the back yard. Weeks later, he exhumed the body and removed the flesh from the bones with a knife. Dahmer then dissolved the flesh in acid and flushed it down the toilet. He then took a sledgehammer and destroyed Hicks’ bones.

Six weeks after Hicks’ murder, Dahmer’s father and his new bride returned home to find him living alone, abandoned. At his father’s request, in the fall, he enrolled at Ohio State University, but stayed only one semester. By then, his alcohol abuse was out of control. His father visited him once and found his son drunk in his dormitory. With very poor grades and lack of interest, Dahmer dropped out of college after three months. In January 1979, at his father’s insistence, Dahmer joined the army. He did his basic training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and then was transferred to Baumholder, West Germany. He was described as a normal soldier with an ordinary service record. However, two soldiers later claimed that they were allegedly raped by Dahmer. One of the soldiers claimed that Dahmer drugged him and raped his body inside an armored personnel transport vehicle. During the first few months of his service, he was able to control his urges, but the alcohol problem returned and his performance in the army deteriorated to the point that in 1981 he received an honorable discharge and a plane ticket to go anywhere he wanted within the country. He then went to Miami Beach, stating that he could not go back to Ohio as he did not want to face the disappointment of his father for another failure. He got a few jobs, spending what little money he had on booze. A short time later Dahmer called his father and asked to return home.

He spent weeks with his father and stepmother, doing housework while looking for a job. His drinking problem did not abate and he was even arrested for appearing drunk in public. His father tried to seek help for his son, but without success. So he asked Dahmer to move to West Allis in eastern Wisconsin to live with his grandmother. The two had a good relationship and his father hoped that her influence on him could be positive. Initially, Dahmer lived well with his grandmother, doing chores for her, accompanying her to church, seeking employment, and generally living well under the rules she imposed. In early 1982, he got a job and seemed to be recovering. However, after ten months he was laid off and spent the next two years unemployed, living off the money his grandmother gave him. On August 7, he was arrested for indecent exposure, showing himself to 25 women and children in a public place. He was ordered to pay a fine.

In January 1985 he started working at the Ambrosia chocolate factory in Milwaukee from 7 pm at night until 7 am in the morning. Dahmer then started frequenting saunas and gay bars. During this period, his fantasies of sexual domination returned. In the sexual encounters he had, Dahmer complained that his partners moved around too much. He stated that at that time he began to see others as objects, not people. Dahmer would meet with the men, put sleeping pills in their drinks, and then rape them. After at least a dozen such incidents, Dahmer was banned from the gay sauna he frequented. Some time later, Dahmer saw the news in the newspaper about the burial of an 18-year-old man. He then proceeded to entertain the idea of digging up a body and abusing it. He tried this once but the digging tired him out and the ground was too hard. In August 1986, Dahmer was arrested after masturbating in front of a 12-year-old boy near the Kinnickinnic River. Charged with disorderly conduct, he was sentenced to a year on probation and also had to see a psychologist.

1987 a 1989

On November 20, 1987, Dahmer – who at the time was still living with his grandmother in West Allis – met Steven Tuomi, a 25-year-old from Ontonagon, Michigan, at a bar and persuaded him to return with him to the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee, where he had rented a room for the night. According to Dahmer, he had no intention of killing him, but simply drugged and raped him. The next morning, upon waking, Dahmer found Tuomi below him in bed, dead with his chest crushed and his body covered with bruises. Dahmer’s fists were bruised as well. He later claimed to have no recollection of killing Tuomi but does not deny having done so while he was unconscious. Dahmer then bought a large suitcase and used it to transport Tuomi’s body back to his grandmother’s house. A week later, he dismembered the body, removing the legs, arms, and head from the torso, and then removed the flesh from the bones by placing the pieces of flesh in small plastic bags and the bones inside a sheet and then smashed them with a sledgehammer. The whole process took two hours, and then he threw his remains in the trash. For the next two weeks, Dahmer kept Tuomi’s head wrapped in a blanket. Later, he boiled the victim’s head in soilex (an alkaline industrial detergent) and bleach to try to preserve the skull, which he used as a stimulus to masturbate. Some time later, the skull eventually lost consistency, and Dahmer destroyed and discarded it.

After Tuomi’s murder, Dahmer began to actively seek out new victims, especially in or near gay bars, taking them to his grandmother’s house. Once there, he would drug his victims before or shortly after initiating a sexual act with them. After knocking the victim unconscious with sleeping pills, he would kill them by strangulation. Two months after Tuomi’s death, Dahmer lured to his grandmother’s house the prostitute James Doxtator, a 14-year-old American Indian. To convince him to go with him, Dahmer offered $50 and stated that he would only take nude pictures of him. The two began to have sex and Dahmer drugged Doxtator and strangled him on the basement floor. Jeffrey left the boy’s body there for almost a week before dismembering him, the same way he had done with Tuomi. He threw Doxtator’s remains in the trash, but kept the skull for a while before vaporizing it.

On March 24, 1988, Dahmer met Richard Guerrero, a 22-year-old bisexual man, outside a gay bar. He offered him $50 just to keep him company for the night; he then drugged Guerrero and strangled him with a leather strap. Dahmer then performed oral sex on his body and, 24 hours later, dismembered him, maintaining his modus operandi of removing the flesh from the bones, throwing the remains in the trash, and retaining the skull for a while before pulverizing it. A month later, on April 23, Dahmer brought another man to his home and again drugged him in the basement. However both he and the victim heard his grandmother shouting “Is that you, Jeff?” Although Dahmer answered in a way that implied he was alone, his grandmother knew that he often brought men into the house. Realizing this, Dahmer decided to wait for the victim to become unconscious and then took him to a hospital, sparing him.

In September 1988, Dahmer’s grandmother asked him to move out, claiming that she could no longer stand to see him bringing men into her house late at night. In addition, the smell emanating from the basement was becoming very strong. Jeffrey then found a one-bedroom apartment on North 25th Street. On September 26, the day after completing his move, Dahmer was arrested for drugging and molesting a 13-year-old boy, whom he had brought into his apartment to take naked pictures of him. In January 1989, he was convicted of second-degree sexual assault and soliciting a child for immoral purposes. The sentence for assault was suspended in May. During a two-week period, Dahmer moved back in with his grandmother. Two months after his conviction and two months before his sentence for sexual assault, Dahmer murdered his fifth victim. Anthony Sears was a 24-year-old from a multi-racial background whom Dahmer met outside a gay bar on March 25, 1989. According to Jeffrey Dahmer, he approached Anthony with no intention of committing a crime. Dahmer took him to his grandmother’s basement and they had oral sex, until Dahmer drugged Anthony and strangled him. The next day, he placed his body in his grandmother’s bathtub, where he decapitated the body and then skinned it. He then removed the flesh from his body and pulverized the bones, with the remains being thrown away in the trash. According to Dahmer, Anthony was “extremely attractive” and was the first victim he decided to keep body parts, preserving his head and genitals in acetone. When he moved into an apartment, he took Anthony’s remains with him.

On May 23, 1989, Dahmer was sentenced to five years on probation, allowing him, for one year, to continue working and returning to prison at night. He was also forced to register as a sex offender with the police. However, after 10 months he was released from continuing to spend nights in jail and began his five-year probation. In May 1990, Dahmer moved into the Oxford apartment, room 213, on North 25th Street in Milwaukee. The area was notorious for having high crime rates, but it was close to where he worked at the chocolate factory and the rent payment was only $300. He took the mummified head and penis of Anthony Sears with him.

A week after moving into apartment 213, Dahmer killed his sixth victim, Raymond Smith, a 32-year-old prostitute. The modus operandi was the same, with Dahmer drugging the victim’s drink and strangling him. With a Polaroid camera, Dahmer took several pictures of Raymond’s body in suggestive positions in the apartment bathroom. He cooked the legs, arms and pelvis in a steel kettle with Soilex, which allowed him to rinse the bones in the sink. The rest of Raymond’s skeleton was dissolved in acid in a large container, except for the skull. Dahmer painted Raymond’s skull and kept it next to Anthony’s. On May 27, he took another victim to his apartment, but accidentally took the drink with drugs and ended up unconscious. When he awoke, the victim was gone, having previously stolen clothes, $300, and a watch. Dahmer never reported the crime to the police but cited the theft to his parole officer.

In June 1990, Dahmer lured 27-year-old Edward Smith to his apartment. He drugged him and then strangled him. Instead of dissolving Edward’s remains in acid, he preserved his skeleton in the freezer for several months in the hope that it would not retain moisture. This did not work, and Dahmer ended up acidifying Edward’s remains. Accidentally, Dahmer ended up destroying his victim’s skull, something that made him feel sick. Three months later, he lured Ernest Miller, a 22-year-old man and Chicago native, to his apartment with an offer of $50 to spend the night with him. Dahmer attempted to perform oral sex on him, with Ernest stopping him by stating that “that would cost extra.” Dahmer pulled away and offered him a drink, which was already drugged. Since he didn’t have that many sleeping pills, the victim was not totally unconscious and Dahmer had to kill him by cutting his carotid vein with a knife. Ernest died within minutes. Taking his body into the bathroom, he took Polaroid photos of the corpse in sexually suggestive positions before dismembering him. During the process, Dahmer kissed and talked to the victim’s skull. Dahmer then wrapped the heart, biceps, and portions of flesh from Ernest’s leg in plastic bags and placed them in the refrigerator for later consumption. The rest of the victim’s flesh and organs he dissected using Soilex, separating the bones from the flesh. To preserve the skeleton, Dahmer placed the bones in a light bleach solution for 24 hours before leaving it to dry for a week; his head was first placed in a refrigerator before he removed the meat from the skull, and then painted and coated it with enamel.

Three weeks after Ernest’s murder, Jeffrey Dahmer claimed his eighth victim. David Thomas, 22, met Dahmer at a local mall, and Dahmer persuaded him to go to his apartment for a few drinks. Later, when questioned by the police, Dahmer stated that he did not find David attractive but was afraid to let him go because he might get angry because he had been drugged. So after knocking him unconscious with a high dose of sleeping pills, Dahmer strangled him and dismembered his body. Although he took pictures of the dismembered corpse, he did not keep any of its body parts for himself. After this victim, Dahmer went almost five months without killing although he sometimes tried to lure men to his apartment. Throughout 1990, Dahmer stated to his parole officer that he was suffering from anxiety and depression; he frequently made references to his sexuality and his problems coming to terms with it, his lonely lifestyle, and financial difficulties. At times he claimed to have suicidal thoughts.

In February 1991, Dahmer observed 17-year-old Curtis Straughter at a bus stop. He took him to his apartment with the promise of financial remuneration if he would pose nude for him, as well as sexual inducements. As in the other eight murders, Dahmer drugged Curtis’ drink and strangled him. After dismembering his body, he kept Curtis’ skull, hands, and genitals for himself, taking several photos of the process with his Polaroid. Two months later, in April, Dahmer met with Errol Lindsey, his tenth victim, a 19-year-old boy. Even though Errol was straight, Dahmer managed to lure him to his apartment, where he drugged him. While his victim was drugged, Dahmer cut a hole in his head and injected hydrochloric acid into his brain. In a later deposition, Jeffrey stated that he did this because he wanted to create a “zombie” mental state in his victim, to make him completely submissive and controllable (the sexual fantasy he most sought to satisfy). Errol awoke from his daze complaining of a headache and wondering what time it was. Seeing that his experiment had failed, Dahmer then drugged him again and strangled him. Like most of Dahmer’s victims, Errol Lindsey had his body dismembered and was then decapitated, with Dahmer keeping the skull for himself. His body was skinned and his skin was placed in a solution of cold water and salt for several weeks, hoping to permanently retain it. Reluctantly, he discarded Errol’s skin when he noticed that it had become very worn and brittle.

Throughout the first half of 1991, the residents of the Oxford apartment where Dahmer lived constantly complained about the strong odor emanating from his room (room 213), as well as occasional noises of falling objects and a chainsaw. The building’s superintendent, Soup Princewill, contacted Dahmer several times regarding these complaints, with Dahmer stating that the smell came from his freezer constantly breaking and spoiling his food. Later he said that his fish had died and the odor came from this, but he always said that he would fix it.

On March 26, 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer met 14-year-old Laotian teenager Konerak Sinthasomphone on an avenue. By coincidence, Sinthasomphone was the younger brother of the young man Dahmer had molested three years ago. He proposed to the boy that he come to his apartment to take some pictures with his Polaroid, but he resisted the idea, giving in only after some insistence from Jeffrey. After two photos, Dahmer offered him a drugged drink, which knocked him unconscious. Dahmer then performed oral sex on him. He then pierced Sinthasomphone’s head and injected hydrochloric acid into his frontal lobe. He then took the boy to his room, where the body of 31-year-old Tony Hughes, whom Dahmer had killed only three days earlier, was also located. Later, in a deposition, Dahmer believed that Sinthasomphone regained his consciousness and saw Tony’s body, but did not react immediately due to the dazed state he was in because of the acid in his brain. Sinthasomphone became unconscious again and so Dahmer took the opportunity to go to the bar for a drink and buy some more booze. On the morning of March 27, Dahmer returned to his house and found Sinthasomphone awake and talking in Laotian to three women. Dahmer approached them and explained that the boy (whom he called John Hmung) was his friend and took him by the arm to guide him to his apartment. The women were not convinced and stated that they had already called the police. Two police officers, John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish, arrived and questioned Dahmer. He informed the officers that Sinthasomphone was of legal age, that the two had argued and he was drunk. The three women continued to disbelieve Dahmer’s story, pointing out that the boy seemed to resist the idea of returning to Dahmer’s apartment. One of them pointed out to the policemen that Sinthasomphone had some wounds, such as on his head, and that he was bleeding from the anus. One of the policemen, however, told her to shut up and released Dahmer, understanding that he and the boy were having a “domestic dispute.” One of the officers placed a towel over Sinthasomphone and escorted him to the apartment, where he took a quick look around the place. Despite the odor coming from the place (due to Tony Hughes’ decomposing body), they didn’t notice anything unusual. Dahmer even showed a half-naked photo of Sinthasomphone, where he looked peaceful, and this seemed to convince the policeman that indeed the two were lovers. If the policemen had looked around the apartment better, they would have seen the human body parts and Dahmer’s macabre polaroids. They could also have done a quick check with Central about Dahmer and would have found that he was a registered sex offender and had already been convicted of molesting a child, something that would have justified a search of his home. With Sinthasomphone back in the apartment, Dahmer again injected hydrochloric acid into his brain, but this time it was fatal. Dahmer then contacted his work and asked for a day off, to devote to dismembering Sinthasomphone and Hughes, retaining the skull of both as a souvenir, dissolving the flesh of their bodies in acid.

On June 30, Dahmer traveled to Chicago and met 20-year-old Matt Turner at a bus station. He convinced him to travel to Milwaukee with him to take some professional photos. Dahmer then proceeded to drug, strangle and dismember Matt in his apartment, preserving his skull and placing his internal organs in plastic bags and storing them in the freezer. Turner was never reported missing by any family members or acquaintances. A week later, he met 23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger at a bar and lured him to his apartment, wanting to spend the weekend with him. Jeremiah was drugged, like the others, but this time Dahmer punctured his skull and injected boiling water into his brain, which put him into a coma. The young man passed away two days later. On July 15, Dahmer managed to lure Oliver Lacy to his apartment, where the two tried to have sex before Dahmer drugged him. This time, Jeffrey wanted to prolong Oliver’s life as much as possible. After an unsuccessful attempt to knock him out with chloroform, Dahmer again asked his job for a day off. His boss accepted but suspended him the next day. Dahmer then decided to kill Oliver (his sixteenth victim) via strangulation. He then had sex with the corpse before dismembering it, putting its head and heart in the refrigerator and the skeleton in the freezer. Four days later, Dahmer was informed that he had been fired from his job. After receiving the news, he took to the streets and lured 25-year-old Joseph Bradehoft to his apartment. Joseph was strangled and his body thrown onto Dahmer’s bed, with a sheet over it, where it lay for two days. When Dahmer finally removed the sheets, Joseph’s body was already decomposing and his head was full of worms. He decapitated the body, cleaned the head (placing it in the refrigerator), and then threw Joseph’s torso into acid, along with the remains of two of his victims he had killed over the previous month. Joseph Bradehoft was the seventeenth and last person murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer.

Capture and confession

On July 22, 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer approached three men and offered them $100 for one of them to accompany him to his apartment for a nude photo shoot, have a few drinks, and keep him company. One of the men, 32-year-old Tracy Edwards, accepted the offer. Upon entering Dahmer’s apartment, Edwards noticed the horrible smell permeating the place and also saw several boxes of hydrochloric acid on the floor, with Dahmer justifying this by stating that he was “cleaning bricks.” After the two chatted for a while, Dahmer asked Edwards to turn his head to look at his aquarium with tropical fish and when he distracted his gaze, Dahmer put a handcuff on his wrist. The boy then asked what was going on and Dahmer tried, unsuccessfully, to cuff both of his wrists together and then asked him to accompany him to the bedroom to take the nude photos. Once in the room, Edwards noticed the polaroid photos of naked men taped to the walls and a television set where The Exorcist III was playing on a videotape. He also noticed a 215-gallon blue drum, which was the source of the stench in the apartment. Brandishing a knife at him, Dahmer stated that he intended to take pictures of him still. To try to calm Dahmer down and show cooperation, Edwards unbuttoned his shirt, stating that he would do what was being asked if Dahmer would remove his handcuff and put away the knife. Dahmer, however, turned his attention to the television. Dahmer kept rocking back and forth as he spoke something low before turning his attention back to Edwards. He placed his ear against Edwards’ chest to listen to his heartbeat, stating that he was going to eat him.

Edwards kept claiming that he was Dahmer’s friend, trying to calm him down, saying that he would not try to escape. Edwards had decided that he would either jump out the window or he would run out the door at the first opportunity. Edwards asked to use the bathroom and then asked if he could sit, with a beer, in the living room, where there was air conditioning. Dahmer consented, and the two of them went into the living room when Edwards left the bathroom. A few moments later, he asked a distracted Dahmer again to use the bathroom and when he got up, he realized that Dahmer was not holding his handcuffs. Taking advantage of this, Edwards hit Dahmer hard in the face, knocking him out, and then ran full speed toward the door.

At 11:30 on the evening of July 22, Edwards bumped into two police officers, Robert Rauth and Rolf Mueller, on the corner of North 25th Street. The policemen noticed Edwards, a black man in handcuffs, in a neighborhood with above average crime rates, and approached him cautiously. Edwards claimed that he had been stopped by a “crazy man” who had placed handcuffs on him and then asked the officers to remove them. When they failed to do so, Edwards agreed to accompany the policemen back to the apartment where he had spent the last five hours. When the two officers arrived at apartment 213, Dahmer, appearing calm, invited the officers inside and acknowledged that he had placed the handcuffs on the boy, although he did not justify the action. Edwards then informed the officers that Dahmer had pointed a knife at him and that this had happened in the bedroom. The officer then asked where the handcuff keys were, with Dahmer responding that they were near his bed. Officer Mueller made a point of personally going to get the keys and when Dahmer said that he could do it himself, Officer Rauth harshly told him to stay where he was.

In the bedroom, Mueller noticed that there was indeed a knife near the bed. He also saw an open drawer and realized that there were several Polaroid photos inside and when he looked closely at them, he saw that they were photos of dismembered bodies. Looking at his surroundings, he also noticed that these photos were taken in that very room. Mueller quickly left the room, with the photos in his hand, stating “this is for real” and then shouted “handcuff him”. Realizing what was happening, Dahmer resisted when Rauth tried to stop him, but the two officers had little difficulty in arresting him, handcuffing him from behind, and then called for backup. With Dahmer in custody, Officer Mueller conducted a short search of the apartment and upon opening the refrigerator, noticed the bags of human flesh and a severed head of an African-American on the bottom shelf. As this was happening, Dahmer, forced to the floor by Officer Rauth, turned his head toward him and said “for what I did, I should be dead.”

Still in the middle of the night, experts from the Milwaukee Bureau of Criminal Investigation began conducting a thorough search of the apartment, discovering a total of four severed heads in Dahmer’s kitchen, while a total of seven skulls, some painted and some bleached, were in his bedroom and inside his clothes closet. In addition, investigators discovered blood drips dripping onto a tray at the bottom of Dahmer’s refrigerator, as well as two human hearts and a portion of an arm muscle, all inside plastic bags on top of drawers. In his freezer, there was a complete human torso in addition to a bag full of human organs and flesh. Elsewhere in the apartment, two whole skeletons were found, two severed and preserved penises, a mummified scalp, and a 215-liter blue drum that contained three dismembered torsos being dissolved in acid. The officers also found a total of 74 polaroid photos showing dismembered and mutilated bodies of Dahmer’s victims. The chief medical examiner at the scene stated that the work of the officers and investigators at Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment looked more like dismantling someone’s museum than an actual crime scene.

On July 23, 1991, the day after his arrest, Dahmer began to be interrogated by Detective Patrick Kennedy about the murders he committed and the evidence found in his apartment. For the next two weeks, Dahmer was interrogated by Kennedy and also by Detective Patrick Murphy, totaling more than 60 hours of interviews. In these interrogations, Dahmer waived his right to have an attorney present. He stated, “I created this horror and it makes sense that I would do anything to end it.” Immediately, Dahmer confessed to the deaths of sixteen people between 1987 and 1991 in Wisconsin, plus one death, Steven Hicks, in 1978 in Ohio, for a total of seventeen murders. Most of the victims were incapacitated with drugs, especially sleeping pills, and then strangled. At least two died from liquids he injected into their brains, such as acid. Since Dahmer claimed that he does not remember how he killed Steven Tuomi (as he was very intoxicated), it is impossible to know if he was on drugs at the time he was killed. Dahmer posed almost all the victims’ bodies in sexually suggestive positions, typically with their chests pushed out, before dismembering them.

Dahmer also readily confessed to engaging in necrophilia, including with the viscera of his victims. He would first remove the internal organs and then suspend the torso in the bathtub and let the blood out, draining it before cutting out the organs he didn’t want to retain and trimming the flesh from the body. The bones he wanted to get rid of were sprayed or acidified with Soilex solutions, and bleach to help preserve the skeletons and skulls he intended to keep. In addition, Dahmer confessed to consuming the hearts, livers, biceps, and thigh parts of several victims killed in the previous year.

Speaking about why the number of victims had increased considerably in the two months prior to his arrest, Dahmer justified it by stating that he had been “charged” by his compulsion to kill: “It was a relentless, unending desire to be with someone at any cost. Someone beautiful, very beautiful. It just filled my thoughts all day long.” Dahmer also stated that he wanted to build an altar in his house with the skulls of his victims. He stated that he would use that place to “meditate”.

Indictments and trial

On July 25, 1991, Dahmer was officially indicted on four counts of first-degree murder. On August 22, eleven more charges of murder committed in Wisconsin were added. On September 14, Ohio investigators, having discovered hundreds of bone fragments in the woods near Dahmer’s childhood home when he confessed to his first crime, identified two molars and a vertebra that X-ray helped identify as Steven Hicks’. Three days later, Dahmer was formally charged with Hicks’ murder in Ohio.

Dahmer was not charged with the attempted murder of Tracy Edwards, or was he charged with the murder of Tuomi. The justification for the latter was that the Milwaukee County prosecutor was only bringing charges where intent could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, since in Tuomi’s case, Dahmer had no memory of what happened and there was no physical evidence that the crime existed. At the preliminary hearing, which took place on January 13, 1992, Dahmer pleaded guilty, but legally insane, to all fifteen counts of murder.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial officially began on January 30, 1992, with enormous media attention. Judge Laurence Gram presided over the trial in Milwaukee. Two weeks earlier, Dahmer had pleaded guilty to all fifteen charges. The main issue for the lawyers was trying to prove his sanity or insanity, to see if he had any kind of disorder, either mental or personality disorder. The prosecution claimed that whatever psychological problems Dahmer had did not prevent him from contemplating the criminality of his conduct or deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses. The defense, on the other hand, claimed that he suffered from mental illness and had obsessions and impulses that he was unable to control. To prove this, the defense contacted several psychiatrists to evaluate Dahmer. Doctors Fred Berlin, Carl Wahlstrom, and Judith Becker supported the insanity justification, pointing to necrophilia and paraphilia as evidence. Wahlstrom, in particular, showed evidence that he suffered from borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, alcoholism, and psychosis.

The prosecution rejected all notions that Dahmer was legally insane. Psychiatrists Phillip Resnick and Park Dietz pointed out that the necrophilia was not evidence of mental problems and even found that he might not essentially be a necrophiliac, since he preferred live sex partners, as evidenced by his efforts to create a submissive “zombie” of his victims. Doctor Fred Fosdel, on the other hand, found that Jeffrey did indeed suffer from a paraphilia, but that he was not necessarily sadistic. Doctor Dietz pointed out to the court that there was ample evidence that Dahmer had prepared each murder in advance and therefore his crimes were not impulsive. He also pointed to the fact that Dahmer preferred to commit his crimes while intoxicated, noting that a person who has an impulse to kill would not drink beforehand. Dietzs stated, “he had to drink alcohol to overcome his inhibition, to commit the crime he would rather not do.” Dietz further noted that Dahmer identified with villains in the movies he watched, such as Exorcist III and Return of the Jedi, where characters wielded enormous power over others. Dietz diagnosed Dahmer with substance abuse disorder, paraphilia, and schizotypal personality disorder.

The court then appointed two mental health professionals to evaluate Dahmer independently, without instructions from the prosecution or defense, being forensic psychiatrist George Palermo and clinical psychologist Samuel Friedman. Palermo stated that the murders were the result of “repressed aggression within him,” adding, “he killed those men because he wanted to kill the source of his homosexual attraction to them. By killing them, he killed what he hated in himself.” Palermo diagnosed Dahmer as a sexual sadist with antisocial personality disorder, but “legally sane.” Friedman agreed and claimed that he was not “psychotic,” saying, after talking with Dahmer himself, that he was “kind, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor, conventionally handsome and charming. He was, and still is, a bright young man.” He diagnosed Dahmer with an unspecified personality disorder, exhibiting borderline traits, obsessive-compulsive personality, and sadistic traits.

Dahmer’s trial lasted two weeks. In the end, defense attorney Gerald Boyle, in his closing argument, again insisted on his client’s insanity, pointing to the diagnosis of almost every health professional who evaluated him and pointed out all of his psychological disorders. Boyle claimed that Dahmer’s compulsive murders were the result of “an illness he discovered, not chose.” He also portrayed Dahmer as a desperately lonely and deeply sick individual “so out of control that he could not conform his conduct.” Prosecutor Michael McCann, meanwhile, speaking for the prosecution, described him as a sane man, in complete control of his actions, who simply went out of his way to avoid detection. McCann argued that the murders were committed out of hostility, anger, resentment, frustration, or hatred, and that the fifteen victims for whose murder he was tried “died only to provide Dahmer with a moment of sexual pleasure.” McCann further argued that by pleading guilty but insane on all charges, Dahmer was trying to escape responsibility for his crimes.

On February 15, 1992, the court declared Dahmer legally sane, with two of the twelve jurors showing dissent regarding the position that he was not suffering from mental illness at the time of his crimes. Because the death penalty had been abolished in Wisconsin since 1853, Judge Gram did not consider it a possible punishment for Dahmer, but he ultimately received fifteen convictions for first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison for each charge. Three months after the trial in Milwaukee, Jeffrey was extradited to Ohio to answer for his first murder, of Steven Hicks. The court convened for 45 minutes. Dahmer pleaded guilty and received his sixteenth life sentence on May 1.

Dahmer’s father, Lionel, and his stepmother, Shari, asked the court for a ten-minute private meeting with their son before he left for the Columbia Correctional Institution to serve his sentence. The judge granted the request, and father and son met again and exchanged hugs and well wishes.

Imprisonment

After his sentencing, Dahmer was sent to the Columbia Correctional Institute, a maximum security penitentiary in Portage, Wisconsin. He was immediately placed in solitary confinement for almost a year because of concerns for his safety if he had contact with other inmates. In 1993, he was transferred (with his consent) to a less secure wing of the prison, where he was assigned to a two-hour work class each day responsible for washing the shared bathrooms.

In prison, Dahmer turned to religion. During his confession in 1991, he asked Detective Murphy for a Bible. Dahmer, who already came from a Christian home, turned to Christianity and became a “born-again Christian. At his father’s request, he began reading creationist literature from the Institute for Creation Research. In May 1994, Dahmer was baptized in prison by Roy Ratcliff, a minister of the Church of Christ. Until November of that year, Ratcliff visited Dahmer at least once a week where they talked about the prospect of death, with him asking if he was “sinning against God by staying alive.” In an interview with Dateline NBC’s Stone Phillips, Dahmer stated, “If a person doesn’t think there is a responsible God, then what’s the point of trying to modify their behavior to keep it within acceptable limits? That’s the way I think, anyway.”

In July 1994, while returning from a meeting with Minister Ratcliff in the prison chapel, Dahmer was attacked by inmate Osvaldo Durruthy, who attempted to slit his throat, suffering only superficial injuries. According to Dahmer’s family, he went to prison ready to die, saying that he accepted whatever punishment would come against him. After his conviction, in addition to constant contact with his father, Dahmer became closer to his mother, Joyce, after almost a decade apart. In their weekly calls, Joyce showed concern for her son’s physical health, with Dahmer responding, “It doesn’t matter, Mom. I don’t care if something happens to me.”

On the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer left his cell to perform his assigned work, along with two other inmates: Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. The three were left unattended for twenty minutes while they worked on cleaning the showers in the prison gym. At 8:10 a.m., Dahmer’s body was found on the bathroom floor, with extensive injuries to his head and face. The assailant was Scarver, who was serving time for a murder he committed in 1990, who hit Dahmer with a 51 cm metal bar. He then turned on Anderson and hit him as well. Dahmer, however, did not die immediately and he was taken to the prison hospital, but was pronounced dead an hour later. The doctor found that his head had also been slammed against the wall several times. Anderson died from his injuries two days later. After hitting both of them, Scarver returned to his cell and informed a guard, “God told me to do it. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead.” Scarver claimed that he had not planned the attack in advance, however, he later confirmed that he hid the metal bar beforehand to use it in the attack. In 2015, Scarver in an interview stated that “Dahmer did not regret his crimes,” and he knew that Jeffrey was unpopular with the other inmates, and even provoked them, requiring a guard’s escort whenever he left his cell. He stated that he was disgusted by Dahmer’s crimes and decided to take action. Scarver suggested that prison officials left Dahmer alone with him, hoping that something would happen, but this was never confirmed.

Upon learning of Dahmer’s death, his mother Joyce angrily replied to the press, “Now everyone is happy? Now that he has been beaten to death, is that good enough for everyone?” The response from the families of the victims murdered by him, upon learning what happened, was mixed, but many expressed relief at his death. The prosecutor in charge of Dahmer’s trial stated that Scarver was not a “hero” and that his death was still a homicide. In May 1995, Christopher Scarver received two more life sentences for the murders of Anderson and Dahmer.

Dahmer stated in his will that he did not want any kind of funeral service and that his wish was to be cremated. Scientists and academics, however, wanted to study his brain to try to better understand the physiognomy of a serial killer. His mother agreed with this, but his father was against it. A judge then ruled that Dahmer’s will should stand, after his parents finally agreed to cremation. In September 1995, his body was cremated and his ashes were divided among his parents.

Jeffrey Dahmer is considered one of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the United States. The cruelty and sadism of his murders, together with the fact that he practiced necrophilia and cannibalism, shocked the public. Dahmer chose victims who lived on the fringes of society, whose disappearance would not attract much attention from the authorities. In fact, some of the murdered victims were not even reported missing until some time later. With the exception of one straight victim and one bisexual victim, all of Dahmer’s targets were gay men like himself. LGBT rights activists said that one of the reasons authorities didn’t care to catch Dahmer or put him as a priority was that his victims were gay. There was also a racial component. Of his seventeen victims, only two were white (the first two), with one being Native American, one was multi-racial, four others were of different races, and nine of them were African American. In interviews after his arrest, Dahmer denied that there was any racial aspect to his attacks. “I simply picked the person I found most attractive, regardless of race,” Jeffrey spoke on a CBS program in 1993.

The few possessions that Dahmer had passed on to the families of the victims. However, instead of selling them, the families agreed to destroy everything. The apartment where Dahmer committed his crimes was demolished in 1992. Vigils were held to honor the victims in 1992 and in 1994.

Dahmer’s family was also affected. His father Lionel wrote a book, A Father’s Story (1994), where at various times he blamed her negligence in raising him and stated that it was noticeable over the years the changes in his son’s personality. Lionel gave a good portion of the profits from the sale of the book to the victims’ families. Lionel also said that he and his new wife would not change their last name and said that they loved Jeffrey despite his terrible crimes. Most of the victims’ families showed support for Lionel and gave a positive response to his book, but two families sued him for using their murdered relative’s name without their consent. Another family, that of Steven Hicks, sued the Dahmers as well but for manslaughter, demanding reparations, arguing that their parental negligence resulted in Hicks’ death. The case was dismissed shortly thereafter by a court.

Joyce Flint, Jeffrey’s mother, passed away in 2000. Before her death, she had attempted suicide at least once. David, Dahmer’s younger brother, changed his last name and now lives anonymously.

Known Victims

In all, Jeffrey Dahmer confessed to murdering seventeen victims, but was convicted of the deaths of sixteen of them (the exception was Tuomi).

Sources

  1. Jeffrey Dahmer
  2. Jeffrey Dahmer
  3. «Jeffrey Dahmer – Murders, Victims & Death». Biography.com. Consultado em 30 de julho de 2020
  4. a b «Jeffrey Dahmer crime scene photos [WARNING: Graphic]». Crimeonline.com. Consultado em 30 de julho de 2020
  5. La familia se había trasladado a una propiedad alquilada en Barberton, Ohio, antes de mudarse al municipio de Bath.[21]​
  6. Se ha sugerido, en un artículo de 2002 de Silva, Ferrari y Leong publicado en el Journal of Forensic Sciences, que Dahmer podría haber tenido síndrome de Asperger.[34]​
  7. Desde entonces, dos soldados han afirmado haber sido violados por Dahmer mientras estaban en el ejército. En 2010, uno de ellos declaró que Dahmer le había violado repetidamente durante un periodo de diecisiete meses mientras ambos estaban destinados en Baumholder, mientras que otro soldado cree que Dahmer le drogó y violó dentro de un vehículo blindado de transporte de personal en 1979.[76]​[77]​ Sin embargo, en numerosas entrevistas posteriores a su detención en 1991, Dahmer declaró tanto a la policía como a los psiquiatras que no agredió sexualmente ni mantuvo relaciones homosexuales voluntarias mientras estuvo destinado en Alemania Occidental.[78]​
  8. Dahmer también confesó haber cometido el mismo delito en «cuatro o cinco» ocasiones anteriores.
  9. En una ocasión, el padre de Dahmer observó esta caja en la casa de la abuela de Dahmer. Cuando le pidió a su hijo que la abriera, éste se puso a la defensiva y se enfadó, mientras afirmaba que ésta contenía revistas pornográficas y declarando: «¿No puedo tener un solo metro cuadrado de privacidad?» Entonces prometió abrir la caja al día siguiente, y le mostró a su padre, quien acepto su petición, que contenía pornografía.[130]​
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u (EN) Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal, in BBC News (archiviato dall’url originale il 16 febbraio 2007).
  11. ^ a b c Dahmer, 1994, p. 211.
  12. ^ a b c d (EN) Sidney Uhrquart, Guilty!, in TIME, 18 maggio 1992. URL consultato il 9 aprile 2014 (archiviato dall’url originale il 29 novembre 2010).
  13. (en) My Friend Dahmer – gehele boek
  14. (en) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-02-11/news/9201130508_1_dr-frederick-fosdal-jeffrey-dahmer-defense-attorney-gerald-boyle
  15. Zie (en) https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/my-friend-cannibal-killer-school-12635483 voor onder meer een lijst van slachtoffers met wat bondige extra informatie.
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