Jeffrey Dahmer: a chilling, depraved guy who would murder men and boys
- Dahmer was born May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- The first of two sons of Joyce Annette (née Flint), a teletype machine instructor, and Lionel Herbert Dahmer, a Marquette University chemistry student.
- Dahmer had been an “energetic and happy child” but became notably subdued after double hernia surgery shortly before his fourth birthday
- Dahmer thought he had been castrated or they had done something to his brain
- Dog called Frisky – gifted when his brother was born (6 years age difference)
- From an early age, Dahmer manifested an interest in dead animals. He initially collected large insects, such as dragonflies and butterflies, in jars. Later he collected animal carcasses from the roadside
- In one instance, Dahmer decapitated the carcass of a dog before nailing the body to a tree and impaling the skull on a stake beside a wooden cross in woods near his house.
- In 1968, the family moved to Bath Township, Ohio. Two years later, during a chicken dinner, Dahmer asked Lionel what would happen if chicken bones were placed in bleach? Lionel, pleased by Dahmer’s curiosity, demonstrated how to safely bleach and preserve animal bones
- From his freshman year at Revere High School, Dahmer was seen as an outcast. At 14 he began drinking beer and hard alcohol in school; he told a classmate it was his “medicine”.
- When he reached puberty, Dahmer discovered he was gay
- He had a brief relationship with another teenage boy, although they never had intercourse
- Dahmer began fantasizing about dominating and controlling a completely submissive male partner.
- These fantasies gradually became intertwined with dissection
Jeffrey Dahmer’s First Lucky Escape
- When he was about 16, Dahmer conceived a fantasy of rendering unconscious a particular male jogger he found attractive, and then making sexual use of his body. On one occasion Dahmer concealed himself in bushes with a baseball bat to lay in wait for this man; however, he did not pass by on that particular day. Dahmer later said this was his first attempt to attack someone.
- Dahmer became something of a class clown who often staged pranks, which became known as “Doing a Dahmer”; these included bleating and simulating epileptic seizures or cerebral palsy
- When Lionel discovered Joyce had engaged in a brief affair in September 1977, they both decided to divorce, telling their sons they wished to do so amicably. Lionel moved out of the house in early 1978
- That spring, Joyce and David moved out of the family home to live with relatives. Dahmer had just turned 18 and remained in the family home
The Milwaukee Canibal’s First Murder
“The first killing was not planned. I had had fantasies about picking up a hitchhiker and taking him back to the house and having complete control and dominance over him.”Jeffrey Dahmer
Steve Hicks, 18
- Dahmer committed his first murder in 1978, three weeks after his graduation. At the time he was living alone in the family home in Bath. Following their decision to divorce, Lionel temporarily lived in a nearby motel and Joyce had relocated to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, with his younger brother David.
- On June 18, Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Mark Hicks, who was almost 19. Dahmer lured the youth to his house on the pretext of the two young men drinking alcohol together. Hicks, who had been hitchhiking to a rock concert in Lockwood Corners, agreed to accompany Dahmer to his house. According to Dahmer, after several hours drinking and listening to music, Hicks “wanted to leave and I didn’t want him to.”
- In response, Dahmer bludgeoned Hicks with a 10 lb. dumbbell. He later stated he struck Hicks twice from behind with the dumbbell as Hicks sat upon a chair. When Hicks fell unconscious, Dahmer strangled him to death with the bar of the dumbbell, then stripped the clothes from Hicks’ body before masturbating as he stood above the corpse. The following day, Dahmer dissected Hicks’ body in his basement; he later buried the remains in a shallow grave in his backyard before, several weeks later, unearthing the remains and paring the flesh from the bones.
- Dahmer was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving while taking the body to a dump. But he talked his way out of trouble even after police officers pointed a light at the plastic bags.
- He then dissolved the flesh in acid before flushing the solution down the toilet; he crushed the bones with a sledgehammer and scattered them in the woodland behind the family home.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s Life Until His Next Murder
College & Army
- Six weeks after the murder of Hicks, Dahmer’s father and his fiancée returned to his home, where they discovered Jeffrey living alone at the house. That August, Dahmer enrolled at Ohio State University (OSU), hoping to major in businessIn January 1979, on his father’s urging, Dahmer enlisted in the United States Army, where he trained as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. On July 13, 1979, he was stationed in Baumholder, West Germany
- Two soldiers attest to having been raped by Dahmer while in the Army. One stated in 2010 that Dahmer had repeatedly raped him over a 17-month period while they were both stationed at Baumholder, while another soldier believes Dahmer drugged and raped him inside an armored personnel carrier in 1979
- On March 24, 1981, Dahmer was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for debriefing and provided with a plane ticket to travel anywhere in the country – he opted to travel to Miami Beach. In Florida, Dahmer found employment at a delicatessen and rented a room in a nearby motel. Dahmer spent most of his salary on alcohol, and was soon evicted from the motel for non-payment. He initially spent his evenings on the beach as he continued to work at the sandwich shop until phoning his father and asking to return to Ohio in September of the same year
Return to Ohio & 1st arrest
- After his return to Ohio, Dahmer initially resided with his father and stepmother and insisted on being delegated numerous chores to occupy his time while he looked for work. He continued to drink heavily, and two weeks after his return Dahmer was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, for which he was fined $60 and given a suspended 10-day jail sentence
- In December 1981, he and Dahmer’s stepmother sent him to live with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin. Dahmer’s grandmother was the only family member to whom he displayed any affection
- Initially, Dahmer’s living arrangements with his grandmother were harmonious: he accompanied her to church; willingly undertook chores; actively sought work; and abided by most of her house rules (although he did continue to drink and smoke). This new influence in his life initially brought results and, in early 1982, Dahmer found employment as a phlebotomist at the Milwaukee Blood Plasma Center. He held this job for a total of 10 months before being laid off. Dahmer remained unemployed for over two years, during which he lived upon whatever money his grandmother gave him
- Shortly before losing his job, Dahmer was arrested for indecent exposure. On August 7, 1982, at Wisconsin State Fair Park, he was observed to expose himself to a crowd of 25 women and children. For this incident, he was convicted and fined $50 plus court costs
The Chocolate Factory, Bathhouses and further arrests
- In January 1985, Dahmer was hired as a mixer at the Milwaukee Ambrosia Chocolate Factory, where he worked from 11 p.m to 7 a.m. six nights per week, with Saturday evenings off
- Shortly after Dahmer found this employment, an incident occurred in which he was propositioned by another man while sitting reading in the West Allis Public Library. The stranger threw Dahmer a note offering to perform fellatio upon him. Although Dahmer did not respond to this proposition, the incident stirred in his mind the fantasies of control and dominance he had developed as a teenager, and he began to familiarize himself with Milwaukee’s gay bars, gay bathhouses and bookstores. He is also known to have stolen a male mannequin from a store, which he briefly used for sexual stimulation, until his grandmother discovered the item stowed in a closet and demanded that he discard it
- By late 1985, Dahmer had begun to regularly frequent the bathhouses, which he later described as being “relaxing places”, but during his sexual encounters, he became frustrated at his partners’ moving during the sexual act
- In June 1986, he administered sleeping pills to his partners, giving them liquor laced with the sedatives, then raping their unconscious bodies. After approximately 12 such instances, the bathhouses’ administration revoked Dahmer’s membership, and he began to use hotel rooms to continue this practice
- Shortly after his membership of the bathhouses was revoked, Dahmer read a report in a newspaper regarding the upcoming funeral of an 18-year-old male. He conceived the idea of stealing the freshly interred corpse and taking it home. According to Dahmer, he attempted to dig up the coffin from the ground, but found the soil too hard and abandoned the plan
- In August 1986, Dahmer was arrested for masturbating in front of two 12-year-old boys as he stood close to the Kinnickinnic River. He initially admitted the offense and was again charged with indecent exposure, but quickly changed his story and claimed he had merely been urinating, unaware that there were witnesses.
- The charge was changed to disorderly conduct and, on March 10, 1987, Dahmer was sentenced to one year of probation, with additional instructions he was to undergo counseling
Becoming the Milwaukee Cannibal
“The killing was a means to an end. That was the least satisfactory part. I didn’t enjoy doing that. That’s why I tried to create living zombies with uric acid in the drill [to the head], but it never worked. No, the killing was not the objective. I just wanted to have the person under my complete control, not having to consider their wishes, being able to keep them there as long as I wanted.”Jeffrey Dahmer
The Ambassador Hotel & Steven Tuomi, 25
- It wasn’t until September 1987 that Dahmer took his second victim, Steven Tuomi. They checked into a hotel room and drank, and Dahmer eventually awoke to find Tuomi dead, with no memory of the previous night’s activities. He bought a large suitcase to transport Tuomi’s body to his grandmother’s basement, where he dismembered and masturbated on the corpse before disposing of the remains.
Police incident no.2
- The police never followed up on a teen-ager’s report that Mr. Dahmer had hit him in the head with a mallet
Two months later: 3rd: James Doxtator, 14
- Dahmer encountered a 14-year-old Native American male prostitute named James Doxtator; Dahmer lured the youth to his home with an offer of $50 to pose for nude pictures. At Dahmer’s West Allis residence, the pair engaged in sexual activity before Dahmer drugged Doxtator and strangled him on the floor of the cellar. Dahmer left the body in the cellar for one week before dismembering it in much the same manner as he had with Tuomi. He placed all of Doxtator’s remains (excluding the skull) in the trash. He boiled the skull and initially retained it before pulverizing it.
March 24, 1988: 4th: Richard Guerrero, 22
“To this day I don’t know what started it [the killings]. The person to blame is sitting right across from you. It’s the only person. Not parents, not society, not pornography. I mean, those are just excuses.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- March 24, 1988, Dahmer met a 22-year-old bisexual man named Richard Guerrero outside a gay bar called The Phoenix. Dahmer lured Guerrero to his grandmother’s residence, although the incentive on this occasion was $50 to simply spend the remainder of the night with him; he then drugged Guerrero with sleeping pills and strangled him with a leather strap, with Dahmer then performing oral sex upon the corpse. Guerrero’s body was dismembered within 24 hours of his murder, with the remains again disposed of in the trash and the skull again retained before being pulverized several months later.
Second Lucky Escape
- On April 23, Dahmer lured another young man to his house; however, after giving the victim a drugged coffee, both he and the victim heard Dahmer’s grandmother called, “Is that you, Jeff?” Although Dahmer replied in a manner that led his grandmother to believe he was alone, she did observe that Dahmer was not alone. Because of this, Dahmer opted not to kill this particular victim, instead of waiting until he had become unconscious before taking him to the County General Hospital.
- In September 1988, Dahmer’s grandmother asked him to move out because of his habit of bringing young men to her house late at night and the foul smells emanating from both the basement and the garage. Dahmer found a one-bedroom apartment on North 25th Street and moved into his new residence on September 25…
Convicted of second-degree sexual assault
- The day after moving into his new house, Dahmer was arrested for drugging and sexually fondling a 13-year-old boy whom he had lured to his home on the pretext of posing nude for photographs. In January 1989, Dahmer was convicted of second-degree sexual assault and of enticing a child for immoral purposes. Sentencing for the assault was suspended until May 1989…
5th: Anthony Sears, 24
- Two months after his conviction and two months prior to his sentencing for the sexual assault, Dahmer murdered his fifth victim. He was a mixed-race 24-year-old aspiring model named Anthony Sears, whom Dahmer met at a gay bar on March 25, 1989. According to Dahmer, on this particular occasion, he was not looking to commit a crime; however, shortly before closing time that evening, Sears “just started talking to me”. Dahmer lured Sears to his grandmother’s home, where the pair engaged in oral sex before Dahmer drugged and strangled Sears.
- The following morning, Dahmer placed the corpse in his grandmother’s bathtub, where he decapitated the body before attempting to flay the corpse. He then stripped the flesh from the body and pulverized the bones, which were again disposed of in the trash. According to Dahmer, he found Sears “exceptionally attractive”, and Sears was the first victim from whom he permanently retained any body parts: he preserved Sears’ head and genitalia in acetone and stored them in his work locker. When he moved to a new address the following year, he took the remains there.
5-year probation and 1-year sentence
- At his trial for child molestation in May 1989, Dahmer was the model of contrition, arguing eloquently, in his own defense, about how he had seen the error of his ways, and that his arrest marked a turning point in his life. His defense counsel argued that he needed treatment, not incarceration, and the judge agreed, handing down a one-year prison sentence on “day release” — allowing Dahmer to work at his job during the day and return to the prison at night — as well as a five-year probationary sentence.
- Years later, in an interview with CNN, Lionel Dahmer stated that he wrote a letter to the court that issued the sentence, requesting psychological help before his son’s parole. However, Dahmer was granted an early release by the judge, after serving only 10 months of his sentence
924 North 25th Street Apartment 213
- On May 14, 1990, Dahmer moved out of his grandmother’s house and into 924 North 25th Street, Apartment 213, taking Sears’ mummified head and genitals with him
“I was branching out, that’s when the cannibalism started, eating of the heart and the arm muscle,” Dahmer told Inside Edition in 1993. “It was a way of making me feel that they were a part of me. At first it was just curiosity, and then it became compulsive.”Jeffrey Dahmer
6th: Raymond Smith, 32 (more police incompetence)
- Within one week of his moving into his new apartment, Dahmer had killed his sixth victim, Raymond Smith. Smith was a 32-year-old male prostitute whom Dahmer lured to Apartment 213 with the promise of $50 for sex. Inside the apartment, he gave Smith a drink laced with seven sleeping pills and manually strangled him.
- Dahmer was also linked with a missing person’s report and a complaint about foul odors coming from his Milwaukee apartment. But both times investigating officers went to the wrong address
- The following day, Dahmer purchased a Polaroid camera with which he took several pictures of Smith’s body in suggestive positions before dismembering him in the bathroom. He boiled the legs, arms, and pelvis in a steel kettle with Soilex, which allowed him to then rinse the bones in his sink. Dahmer dissolved the remainder of Smith’s skeleton—excluding the skull—in a container filled with acid. He later spray-painted Smith’s skull, which he placed alongside the skull of Sears upon a black towel inside a metal filing-cabinet
- Approximately one week after the murder of Smith, on or about May 27, Dahmer lured another young man to his apartment. On this occasion, however, Dahmer himself accidentally consumed the drink laden with sedatives intended for consumption by his guest. When he awoke the following day, he discovered his intended victim had stolen several items of his clothing, $300, and a watch. Dahmer never reported this incident to the police, although, on May 29, he divulged to his probation officer that he had been robbed
7th: Edward Smith, 27
“It’s a process, it doesn’t happen overnight when you depersonalize another person and view them as just an object. An object for pleasure and not a living breathing human being. It seems to make it easier to do things you shouldn’t do.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- In June 1990, Dahmer lured a 27-year-old acquaintance named Edward Smith to his apartment. He drugged and strangled Smith. On this occasion, rather than immediately acidifying the skeleton or repeating previous processes of bleaching (which had rendered previous victims’ skulls brittle), Dahmer placed Smith’s skeleton in his freezer for several months in the hope it would not retain moisture. Freezing the skeleton did not remove moisture, and the skeleton of this victim would be acidified several months later. Dahmer accidentally destroyed the skull when he placed it in the oven to dry—a process that caused the skull to explode. Dahmer himself was to later inform police he had felt “rotten” about Smith’s murder as he had been unable to retain any parts of his body
8th: Ernest Miller, 22
- Less than three months after the murder of Smith, Dahmer encountered a 22-year-old Chicago native named Ernest Miller on the corner of North 27th Street. Miller agreed to accompany Dahmer to his apartment for $50 and further agreed to allow him to listen to his heart and stomach. When Dahmer attempted to perform oral sex upon Miller, he was informed, “That’ll cost you extra,” whereupon Dahmer gave his intended victim a drink laced with two sleeping pills.
- On this occasion, Dahmer had only two sleeping pills to give his victim. Therefore, he killed Miller by slashing his carotid artery with the same knife he used to dissect his victims’ bodies. Miller bled to death within minutes. Dahmer then posed the nude body for various suggestive Polaroid photographs before placing the body in his bathtub for dismemberment. Dahmer repeatedly kissed and talked to the severed head while he dismembered the remainder of the body.
- Dahmer wrapped Miller’s heart, biceps, and portions of flesh from the legs in plastic bags and placed them in the fridge for later consumption. He boiled the remaining flesh and organs into a “jelly-like substance” using Soilex, which again enabled him to rinse the flesh off the skeleton, which he intended to retain. To preserve the skeleton, Dahmer placed the bones in a light bleach solution for 24 hours before allowing them to dry upon a cloth for one week; the severed head was initially placed in the refrigerator before also being stripped of flesh, then painted and coated with enamel.
9th: David Thomas, 22
- Three weeks after the murder of Miller, on September 24, Dahmer encountered a 22-year-old man named David Thomas at the Grand Avenue Mall and persuaded him to return to his apartment for a few drinks, with additional money on offer if he would pose for photographs. In his statement to police after his arrest, Dahmer stated that, after giving Thomas a drink laden with sedatives, he did not feel attracted to him, but was afraid to allow him to awake in case he would be angry over having been drugged. Therefore, he strangled him and dismembered the body—intentionally retaining no body parts whatsoever. He photographed the dismemberment process and retained these photographs, which later aided in Thomas’s subsequent identification
5-month break from Killing
“I would cook it, and look at the pictures and masturbate.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- Following the murder of Thomas, Dahmer did not kill anyone for almost five months, although on a minimum of five occasions between October 1990 and February 1991, he unsuccessfully attempted to lure men to his apartment. He is also known to have regularly complained of feelings of both anxiety and depression to his probation officer throughout 1990; with frequent references to his sexuality, his solitary lifestyle, and financial difficulties. On several occasions, Dahmer is also known to have referred to harboring suicidal thoughts
10th: Curtis Straughter, 17
- In February 1991, Dahmer observed a 17-year-old named Curtis Straughter standing at a bus stop near Marquette University. According to Dahmer, he lured Straughter into his apartment with an offer of money for posing for nude photos, with the added incentive of sexual intercourse. Dahmer drugged and strangled Straughter with a leather strap, then dismembered him, with Dahmer retaining the youth’s skull, hands, and genitals and photographing each stage of the dismemberment process
11th: Errol Lindsey, 19
“I separated the joints, the arm joints, the leg joints, and had to do two boilings. I think I used four boxes of Soilex for each one, put in the upper portion of the body and boiled that for about two hours and then the lower portion for another two hours. The Solex removes all the flesh, turns it into a jelly like-like substance and it just rinses off. Then I laid the clean bones in a light bleach solution, left them there for a day and spread them out on either newspaper or cloth and let them dry for about a week in the bedroom.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- Less than two months later, on April 7, Dahmer encountered a 19-year-old named Errol Lindsey walking to get a key cut. Lindsey was heterosexual. Dahmer lured Lindsey to his apartment, where he drugged him, drilled a hole in his skull and poured hydrochloric acid into it. According to Dahmer, Lindsey awoke after this experiment (which Dahmer had conceived in the hope of inducing a permanent, unresistant, submissive state), saying: “I have a headache. What time is it?” In response to this, Dahmer again drugged Lindsey, then strangled him. He decapitated Lindsey and retained his skull; he then flayed Lindsey’s body, placing the skin in a solution of cold water and salt for several weeks in the hope of permanently retaining it. Reluctantly, he disposed of Lindsey’s skin when he noted it had become too frayed and brittle
12th: Tony Hughes, 31, 13th: Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14
- On the afternoon of May 26, 1991, Dahmer encountered a 14-year-old named Konerak Sinthasomphone on Wisconsin Avenue. By coincidence, Sinthasomphone was the younger brother of the boy whom Dahmer had molested in 1988. He approached the youth with an offer of money to accompany him to his apartment to pose for Polaroid pictures. According to Dahmer, Sinthasomphone was initially reluctant to the proposal, before changing his mind and accompanying Dahmer to his apartment, where the youth posed for two pictures in his underwear before Dahmer drugged him into unconsciousness and performed oral sex on him.
- On this occasion, Dahmer drilled a single hole into Sinthasomphone’s skull, through which he injected hydrochloric acid into the frontal lobe. Before Sinthasomphone fell unconscious, Dahmer led the boy into his bedroom, where the body of 31-year-old Tony Hughes, whom Dahmer had killed three days earlier, lay naked on the floor. According to Dahmer, he “believed (that Sinthasomphone) saw this body,” yet did not react to seeing the bloated corpse—likely because of the effects of the sleeping pills he had ingested and the hydrochloric acid Dahmer had injected through his skull. Sinthasomphone soon became unconscious, whereupon Dahmer drank several beers while lying alongside Sinthasomphone before leaving his apartment to drink at a bar, then purchase more alcohol.
- In the early morning hours of May 27, Dahmer returned toward his apartment to discover Sinthasomphone sitting outside naked on the corner of 25th and State, talking in Lao, with three distressed young women standing near him. Dahmer approached the trio and explained to the women that Sinthasomphone (whom he referred to by the alias John Hmung) was his friend, and attempted to lead him to his apartment by the arm. The three women dissuaded Dahmer, explaining they had phoned 9-1-1
Mire Police incompetence
- Upon the arrival of two Milwaukee police officers, John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish, Dahmer’s demeanour relaxed: he informed the officers that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old boyfriend, that he had drunk too much following a quarrel, and that he frequently behaved in this manner when intoxicated. The three women were exasperated, and when one of the trio attempted to indicate to one of the officers that Sinthasomphone was bleeding from his buttocks and that he had seemingly struggled against Dahmer’s attempts to walk him to his apartment, the officer harshly informed her to “butt out,” “shut the hell up” and to not interfere, adding the incident was “domestic.”
- Against the protests of the three women, the officers simply covered Sinthasomphone with a towel and walked him to Dahmer’s apartment where, in an effort to verify his claim that he and Sinthasomphone were lovers, Dahmer showed the officers the two semi-nude Polaroid pictures he had taken of the youth the previous evening. The officers later reported having noted a strange scent reminiscent of excrement inside the apartment (this odour emanated from the decomposing body of Hughes). Dahmer stated that to investigate this, one officer simply “peeked his head around the bedroom but really didn’t take a good look.” The officers then left, with a departing remark that Dahmer “take good care” of Sinthasomphone.
- Had Balcerzak and Gabrish conducted a background check on Dahmer, it would have revealed that he was a convicted child molester under probation. Upon the departure of the two officers from his apartment, Dahmer again injected hydrochloric acid into Sinthasomphone’s brain. On this second occasion, the injection proved fatal. The following day, May 28, Dahmer took a day’s leave from work to devote himself to the dismemberment of the bodies of Sinthasomphone and Hughes. He retained both victims’ skulls.
14th: Matt Turner, 20
- On June 30, Dahmer travelled to Chicago, where he encountered a 20-year-old named Matt Turner at a bus station. Turner accepted Dahmer’s offer to travel to Milwaukee for a professional photoshoot. At the apartment, Dahmer drugged, strangled and dismembered Turner and placed his head and internal organs in separate plastic bags in the freezer. Turner was not reported missing.
15th: Jeremiah Weinberger, 23
- Five days later, on July 5, Dahmer lured 23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger from a Chicago bar to his apartment on the promise of spending the weekend with him. He drugged Weinberger and twice injected boiling water through his skull, sending him into a coma from which he died two days later.
16th: Oliver Lacy, 24
- On July 15, Dahmer encountered 24-year-old, Oliver Lacy, at the corner of 27th and Kilbourn. Lacy agreed to Dahmer’s ruse of posing nude for photographs and accompanied him to his apartment, where the pair engaged in tentative sexual activity before Dahmer drugged Lacy. On this occasion, Dahmer intended to prolong the time he spent with Lacy while alive. After unsuccessfully attempting to render Lacy unconscious with chloroform, he phoned his workplace to request a day’s absence; this was granted, although the next day, he was suspended.
- After strangling Lacy, Dahmer had sex with the corpse before dismembering him. He placed Lacy’s head and heart in the refrigerator and his skeleton in the freezer
17th: Joseph Bradehoft, 25
- Four days later, on July 19, Dahmer received word that he was fired. Upon receipt of this news, Dahmer lured 25-year-old Joseph Bradehoft to his apartment. Bradehoft was strangled and left lying on Dahmer’s bed covered with a sheet for two days. On July 21, Dahmer removed these sheets to find the head covered in maggots, whereupon he decapitated the body, cleaned the head and placed it in the refrigerator. He later acidified Bradehoft’s torso along with those of two other victims killed within the previous month
Catching The Milwaukee Monster
“It’s hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I’ve done, but I know that I did it.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- On July 22, 1991, Dahmer approached three men with an offer of $100 to accompany him to his apartment to pose for nude photographs, drink beer and simply keep him company. One of the trio, 32-year-old Tracy Edwards, agreed to accompany him to his apartment. Upon entering Dahmer’s apartment, Edwards noted a foul odor and several boxes of hydrochloric acid on the floor, which Dahmer claimed to use for cleaning bricks. After some minor conversation, Edwards responded to Dahmer’s request to turn his head and view his tropical fish, whereupon Dahmer placed a handcuff upon his wrist. When Edwards asked, “What’s happening?” Dahmer unsuccessfully attempted to cuff his wrists together, then told Edwards to accompany him to the bedroom to pose for nude pictures. While inside the bedroom, Edwards noted nude male posters on the wall and that a videotape of The Exorcist III was playing; he also noted a blue 57-gallon drum in the corner, from which a strong odor emanated.
- Dahmer then brandished a knife and informed Edwards he intended to take nude pictures of him. In an attempt to appease Dahmer, Edwards unbuttoned his shirt, saying he would allow him to do so if he would remove the handcuffs and put the knife away. In response to this promise, Dahmer simply turned his attention towards the TV. Edwards observed Dahmer rocking back and forth and chanting before turning his attention back to him. He placed his head on Edwards’ chest, listened to his heartbeat and, with the knife pressed against his intended victim, informed Edwards he intended to eat his heart.
- In continuous attempts to prevent Dahmer from attacking him, Edwards repeated that he was Dahmer’s friend and that he was not going to run away. Edwards had decided he was going to either jump from a window or run through the unlocked front door upon the next available opportunity. When Edwards next stated he needed to use the bathroom, he asked if they could sit with a beer in the living room, where there was air conditioning. Dahmer consented, and the pair walked to the living room when Edwards exited the bathroom. Inside the living room, Edwards waited until he observed Dahmer have a momentary lapse of concentration before requesting to use the bathroom again. When Edwards rose from the couch, he noted Dahmer was not holding the handcuffs, whereupon Edwards punched him in the face, knocking Dahmer off balance, and ran out the front door.
- At 11:30 p.m. on July 22, Edwards flagged down two Milwaukee police officers, Robert Rauth and Rolf Mueller, at the corner of North 25th Street. The officers noted Edwards had a handcuff attached to his wrist, whereupon he explained to the officers that a “freak” had placed the handcuffs upon him and asked if the police could remove them. When the officers’ handcuff keys failed to fit the brand of handcuffs, Edwards agreed to accompany the officers to the apartment where, Edwards stated, he had spent the previous five hours before escaping.
- When the officers and Edwards arrived at Apartment 213, Dahmer invited the trio inside and acknowledged he had indeed placed the handcuffs upon Edwards, although he offered no explanation as to why he had done so. At this point, Edwards divulged to the officers that Dahmer had also brandished a large knife upon him and that this had happened in the bedroom. Dahmer made no comment to this revelation, indicating to one of the officers, Mueller, that the key to the handcuffs was in his bedside dresser. As Mueller entered the bedroom, Dahmer attempted to pass Mueller to himself retrieve the key, whereupon the second officer present, Rauth, informed him to “back off”.
- In the bedroom, Mueller noted there was indeed a large knife beneath the bed. He also saw an open drawer which, upon closer inspection, contained scores of Polaroid pictures—many of which were of human bodies in various stages of dismemberment. Mueller noted the decor indicated they had been taken in the very apartment in which they were standing. Mueller walked into the living room to show them to his partner, uttering the words, “These are for real.”
- When Dahmer saw that Mueller was holding several of his Polaroids, he fought with the officers in an effort to resist arrest. The officers quickly overpowered him, cuffed his hands behind his back, and called a second squad car for backup. At this point, Mueller opened the refrigerator to reveal the freshly severed head of a black male on the bottom shelf. As Dahmer lay pinned on the floor beneath Rauth, he turned his head towards the officers and muttered the words: “For what I did I should be dead.”
- A more detailed search of the apartment, conducted by the Milwaukee police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, revealed a total of four severed heads in Dahmer’s kitchen. A total of seven skulls—some painted, some bleached—were found in Dahmer’s bedroom and inside a closet. In addition, investigators discovered collected blood drippings upon a tray at the bottom of Dahmer’s refrigerator, plus two human hearts and a portion of arm muscle, each wrapped inside plastic bags upon the shelves. In Dahmer’s freezer, investigators discovered an entire torso, plus a bag of human organs and flesh stuck to the ice at the bottom.
- Elsewhere in Apartment 213, investigators discovered two entire skeletons, a pair of severed hands, two severed and preserved penises, a mummified scalp and, in the 57-gallon drum, three further dismembered torsos dissolving in the acid solution. A total of 74 Polaroid pictures detailing the dismemberment of Dahmer’s victims were found. In reference to the recovery of body parts and artifacts at 924 North 25th Street, the chief medical examiner later stated: “It was more like dismantling someone’s museum than an actual crime scene.”
Jeffrey Dahmer’s Confession
“Yes, I do have remorse, but I’m not even sure whether it is as profound as it should be. I’ve always wondered why I don’t feel more remorse.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- Beginning in the early hours of July 23, 1991, Dahmer was questioned by Detective Patrick Kennedy as to the murders he had committed and the evidence found at his apartment. Over the following two weeks, Kennedy and, later, Detective Patrick Murphy conducted numerous interviews with Dahmer which, when combined, totalled over 60 hours. Dahmer waived his right to have a lawyer present throughout his interrogations, adding he wished to confess all as he had “created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it.” He readily admitted to having murdered 16 young men in Wisconsin since 1987, with one further victim—Steven Hicks—killed in Ohio back in 1978.
- Most of Dahmer’s victims had been rendered unconscious prior to their murder, although some had died as a result of having acid or boiling water injected into their brain. As he had no memory of the murder of Tuomi, he was unsure whether he was unconscious when beaten to death, although he did concede it was possible that his viewing the exposed chest of Tuomi while in a drunken stupor may have led him to unsuccessfully attempt to tear Tuomi’s heart from his chest. Almost all the murders Dahmer committed after moving into the Oxford Apartments had involved a ritual of posing the victims’ bodies in suggestive positions—typically with the chest thrust outwards—prior to dismemberment.
- Dahmer readily admitted to engaging in necrophilia with several of his victims’ bodies, including performing sexual acts with their viscera as he dismembered their bodies in his bathtub. Having noted that much of the blood pooled inside his victims’ chest after death, Dahmer first removed their internal organs, then suspended the torso so the blood drained into his bathtub, before dicing any organs he did not wish to retain and paring the flesh from the body. The bones he wished to dispose of were pulverized or acidified, with Soilex and bleach solutions used to aid in the preservation of the skeletons and skulls he wished to keep. In addition, Dahmer confessed to having consumed the hearts, livers, biceps, and portions of thighs of several victims killed within the previous year.
- Describing the increase in his rate of killing in the two months prior to his arrest, Dahmer stated he had been “completely swept along” with his compulsion to kill, adding: “It was an incessant and never-ending desire to be with someone at whatever cost. Someone good looking, really nice looking. It just filled my thoughts all ay long.” When asked as to why he had preserved a total of seven skulls and the entire skeletons of two victims, Dahmer stated he had been in the process of constructing a private altar of victims’ skulls which he had intended to display on the black table located in his living room and upon which he had photographed the bodies of many of his victims.
- This display of skulls was to be adorned at each side with the complete skeletons of Miller and Lacy. The four severed heads found in his kitchen were to be removed of all flesh and used in this altar, as was the skull of at least one future victim. Incense sticks were to be placed at each end of the black table, above which Dahmer intended to place a large blue lamp with extending blue globe lights. The entire construction was to be placed before a window covered with a black, opaque shower curtain, in front of which Dahmer intended to sit in a black leather chair. When asked in a November 18, 1991 interview who the altar was dedicated to, Dahmer replied: “Myself … It was a place where I could feel at home.” He further described his intended altar as a “place for meditation,” from where he believed he could draw a sense of power, adding: “If this (his arrest) had happened six months later, that’s what they would have found.
Dahmer’s Indictment and Trial
- On July 25, 1991, Dahmer was charged with four counts of first-degree murder. By August 22, he had been charged with a further 11 murders committed in Wisconsin. On September 14, investigators in Ohio, having uncovered hundreds of bone fragments in woodland behind the address in which Dahmer had confessed to killing his first victim, formally identified two molars and a vertebra with X-ray records of Hicks. Three days later, Dahmer was charged by authorities in Ohio with Hicks’s murder.
- Dahmer was not charged with the attempted murder of Edwards, nor with the murder of Tuomi. He was not charged with Tuomi’s murder because the Milwaukee County District Attorney only brought charges where murder could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and Dahmer had no memory of actually committing this particular murder, for which no physical evidence of the crime existed. At a scheduled preliminary hearing on January 13, 1992, Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder.
- Dahmer’s trial began on January 30, 1992. He was tried in Milwaukee for the 15 counts of first-degree murder before Judge Laurence Gram. By pleading guilty on January 13 to the charges brought against him, Dahmer had waived his rights to an initial trial to establish guilt (as defined in Wisconsin law). The issue debated by opposing counsels at Dahmer’s trial was to determine whether he suffered from either a mental or a personality disorder: the prosecution claiming that any disorders did not deprive Dahmer of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses; the defense arguing that Dahmer suffered from a mental disease and was driven by obsessions and impulses he was unable to control.
- Defense experts argued that Dahmer was insane due to his necrophilic drive – his compulsion to have sexual encounters with corpses. Defense expert Dr. Fred Berlin testified that Dahmer was unable to conform his conduct at the time that he committed the crimes because he was suffering from paraphilia or, more specifically, necrophilia. Dr. Judith Becker, a professor of psychiatry and psychology, was the second expert witness for the defense; Becker also diagnosed Dahmer with necrophilia. The final defense expert to testify, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Carl Wahlstrom, diagnosed Dahmer with necrophilia, borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, alcohol dependence, and a psychotic disorder
- The prosecution rejected the defense’s argument that Dahmer was insane. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Resnick testified that Dahmer did not suffer from primary necrophilia because he preferred live sexual partners as evidenced by his efforts to create unresistant, submissive sexual partners devoid of rational thought and to whose needs he did not have to cater. Another prosecution expert to testify, Dr. Fred Fosdel, testified to his belief that Dahmer was without mental disease or defect at the time he committed the murders. He described Dahmer as a calculating and cunning individual, able to differentiate between right and wrong, with the ability to control his actions. Although Fosdel did state his belief that Dahmer suffered from paraphilia, his conclusion was that Dahmer was not a sadist.
- The final witness to appear for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, began his testimony on February 12. Dietz testified that he did not believe Dahmer to be suffering from any mental disease or defect at the time that he committed the crimes, stating: “Dahmer went to great lengths to be alone with his victim and to have no witnesses.” He explained that there was ample evidence that Dahmer prepared in advance for each murder, therefore, his crimes were not impulsive. Although Dietz did concede any acquisition of a paraphilia was not a matter of personal choice, he also stated his belief that Dahmer’s habit of becoming intoxicated prior to committing each of the murders was significant, stating: “If he had a compulsion to kill, he would not have to drink alcohol. He had to drink alcohol to overcome his inhibition, to do the crime which he would rather not do.”
- Dietz also noted that Dahmer strongly identified with evil and corrupt characters from both The Exorcist III and Return of the Jedi; particularly the level of power held by these characters. Expounding on the significance of these movies on Dahmer’s psyche and many of the murders committed at the Oxford Apartments, Dietz explained that Dahmer occasionally viewed scenes from these films before searching for a victim. Dietz diagnosed Dahmer with substance use disorder, paraphilia, and schizotypal personality disorder.
- Two court-appointed mental health professionals—testifying independently of either prosecution or defense—were forensic psychiatrist George Palermo and clinical psychologist Samuel Friedman. Palermo stated that the murders were the result of a “pent-up aggression within himself. He killed those men because he wanted to kill the source of his homosexual attraction to them. In killing them, he killed what he hated in himself.” Palermo concluded that Dahmer was a sexual sadist with antisocial personality disorder, but legally sane.
- Friedman testified that it was a longing for companionship that caused Dahmer to kill. He stated, “Mr. Dahmer is not psychotic.” He spoke kindly of Dahmer, describing him as, “Amiable, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor, conventionally handsome, and charming in manner. He was, and still is, a bright young man.” He diagnosed Dahmer with a personality disorder not otherwise specified featuring borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and sadistic traits.
- The trial lasted two weeks. On February 14, both counsels delivered their closing arguments to the jury. Each counsel was allowed to speak for two hours. Defense attorney Gerald Boyle argued first. Repeatedly harking to the testimony of the mental health professionals—almost all of whom had agreed Dahmer was suffering from a mental disease—Boyle argued that Dahmer’s compulsive killings had been a result of “a sickness he discovered, not chose.” Boyle portrayed Dahmer as a desperately lonely and profoundly sick individual “so out of control he could not conform his conduct any more.”
- Following the defense counsel’s 75-minute closing argument, Michael McCann delivered his closing argument for the prosecution, describing Dahmer as a sane man, in full control of his actions, who simply strove to avoid detection. McCann argued that the act of murder was committed in hostility, anger, resentment, frustration, or hatred, and that the 15 victims for whose murder he was tried “died merely to afford Dahmer a period of sexual pleasure.” McCann further argued that by pleading guilty but insane to the charges, Dahmer was seeking to escape responsibility for his crimes.
- On February 15, the court reconvened to hear the verdict: Dahmer was ruled to be sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time of each of the 15 murders for which he was tried, although in each count, two of the 12 jurors signified their dissent. On the first two counts, Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years, with the remaining 13 counts carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years. The death penalty was not an option for Judge Gram to consider at the penalty phase, as Wisconsin had abolished capital punishment in 1853.
- Upon hearing of Dahmer’s sentencing, his father Lionel and stepmother Shari requested to be allowed a ten-minute private meeting with their son before he was transferred to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, to begin his sentence. This request was granted and the trio exchanged hugs and well-wishes before Dahmer was escorted away.
- Three months after his conviction in Milwaukee, Dahmer was extradited to Ohio to be tried for the murder of his first victim, Steven Hicks. In a court hearing lasting just 45 minutes, Dahmer again pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment on May 1, 1992.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s full statement to the court after his trial.
It is over now. This has never been a case of trying to get free. I didn’t ever want freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself. This was a case to tell the world that I did what I did, but not for reasons of hate. I hated no one. I knew I was sick or evil or both. Now I believe I was sick. The doctors have told me about my sickness, and now I have some peace.
I know how much harm I have caused. I tried to do the best I could after the arrest to make amends, but no matter what I did I could not undo the terrible harm I have caused. My attempt to help identify the remains was the best I could do, and that was hardly anything. I feel so bad for what I did to those poor families, and I understand their rightful hate. I now know I will be in prison for the rest of my life. I know that I will have to turn to God to help me get through each day. I should have stayed with God. I tried and failed and created a holocaust. Thank God there will be no more harm that I can do. I believe that only the Lord Jesus Christ can save me from my sins.
I have instructed Mr. Boyle to end this matter. I do not want to contest the civil cases. I have told Mr. Boyle to try and finalize them if he can. If there is ever money I want it to go to the families. I have talked to Mr. Boyle about other things that might help ease my conscience in some way of coming up with ideas on how to make some amends to these families, and I will work with him on that. I want to return to Ohio and quickly end that matter so that I can put all of this behind me and then come right back here to do my sentence.
I decided to go through this trial for a number of reasons. One of the reasons was to let the world know these were not hated crimes. I wanted the world and Milwaukee, which I deeply hurt, to know the truth of what I did. I didn’t want unanswered questions. All the questions have now been answered. I wanted to find out just what it was that caused me to be so bad and evil. But most of all, Mr. Boyle and I decided that maybe there was a way for us to tell the world that if there are people out there with these disorders, maybe they can get help before they end up being hurt or hurting someone. I think the trial did that.
The judge in my earlier case tried to help me, and I refused his help, and he got hurt by what I did. I hurt those policemen in the Konerak matter, and I shall ever regret causing them to lose their jobs, and I only hope and pray they can get their jobs back because I know they did their best, and I just plain fooled them. For that I am sorry. I know I hurt my probation officer, who was really trying to help me. I am so sorry for that and sorry for everyone else I have hurt. I have hurt my mother, and father, and stepmother. I love them all so very much. I hope that they will find the same peace I am looking for.
Mr. Boyle’s associates, Wendy and Ellen, have been wonderful to me, helping me through this worst of all times. I want to publicly thank Mr. Boyle. He didn’t need to take this case. But when I asked him to help me find the answers and help others if I could, he stayed with me and went overboard in trying to help me. Mr. Boyle and I agreed that it was never a matter of trying to get off. It was only a matter of which place I would be housed for the rest of my life, not for comfort, but for trying to study me in hopes of helping me and learning to help others who might have problems. I know I will be in prison. I pledge to talk to doctors who might be able to find the answers.
In closing, I just want to say that I hope God has forgiven me. I think He has. I know society will never be able to forgive me. I know the families of the victims will never be able to forgive me for what I have done. But if there is a God in heaven, I promise I will pray each day to ask them for forgiveness when the hurt goes away, if ever. I have seen their tears, and if I could give up my life right now to bring back their loved ones, I would do it. I am so very sorry.
Your honor, I know you are about to sentence me. I ask for no consideration. I want you to know that I have been treated perfectly by the deputies who work for the jail. The deputies have treated me professionally and I want everyone to know that. They have not given me special treatment.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.” -1 Timothy 1:15-17
I know my time in prison will be terrible, but I deserve whatever I get because of what I have done. Thank you, your honor, and I am prepared for your sentence, which I know will be the maximum. I ask for no consideration.Jeffrey Dahmer
The Milwaukee Monster’s Imprisonment
- Upon sentencing, Dahmer was transferred to the Columbia Correctional Institution. For the first year of his incarceration, Dahmer was placed in solitary confinement due to concerns for his physical safety should he come into contact with fellow inmates. With Dahmer’s consent, after one year in solitary confinement, he was transferred to a less secure unit, where he was assigned a two-hour daily work detail cleaning the toilet block. Shortly after completing his lengthy confessions in 1991, Dahmer had requested to Detective Murphy that he be given a copy of the Bible. This request was granted and Dahmer gradually devoted himself to Christianity and became a born-again Christian. On his father’s urging, he also read creationist books from the Institute for Creation Research. In May 1994, Dahmer was baptized by Roy Ratcliff, a minister in the Church of Christ and a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, in the prison whirlpool.
- Following his baptism, Ratcliff visited Dahmer on a weekly basis up until November 1994. Dahmer and Ratcliff regularly discussed the prospect of death, and Dahmer questioned whether he was sinning against God by continuing to live. Referring to his crimes in a 1994 interview with Stone Phillips on Dateline NBC, Dahmer had stated: “If a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway.”
- In July 1994, a fellow inmate, Osvaldo Durruthy, attempted to slash Dahmer’s throat with a razor embedded in a toothbrush as Dahmer returned to his cell from Ratcliff’s weekly church service conducted in the prison chapel. Dahmer received superficial wounds and was not seriously hurt in this incident. According to Dahmer’s family, he had long been ready to die, and accepted any punishment which he might endure in prison. In addition to his father and stepmother maintaining regular contact, Dahmer’s mother, Joyce, also maintained regular contact with her son (although prior to his arrest, the two had not seen each other since Christmas 1983). Joyce related that in her weekly phone calls, whenever she expressed concerns for her son’s physical well-being, Dahmer responded with comments to the effect of: “It doesn’t matter, Mom. I don’t care if something happens to me.”
”If I was killed in prison. That would be a blessing right now.”Jeffrey Dahmer
- On the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer left his cell to conduct his assigned work detail. Accompanying him were two fellow inmates: Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. The trio were left unsupervised in the showers of the prison gym for approximately 20 minutes. At approximately 8:10 a.m. Dahmer was discovered on the floor of the bathrooms of the gym suffering from extreme head and facial wounds; he had been severely bludgeoned about the head and face with a 20-inch (51 cm) metal bar. His head had also been repeatedly struck against the wall in the assault. Although Dahmer was still alive and was rushed to a nearby hospital, he was pronounced dead one hour later. Anderson had also been beaten with the same instrument, and died two days later from his wounds.
- Scarver, who was serving a life sentence for a murder committed in 1990, informed authorities he had first attacked Dahmer with the metal bar as he (Dahmer) was cleaning a staff locker room, before attacking Anderson as he (Anderson) cleaned an inmate locker room. According to Scarver, Dahmer did not yell or make any noise as he was attacked. Immediately after attacking both men, Scarver, who was thought to be schizophrenic, returned to his cell and informed a prison guard: “God told me to do it. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead.” Scarver was adamant he had not planned the attacks in advance, although he later divulged to investigators he had concealed the 20-inch iron bar used to kill both men in his clothing shortly before the killings.
- Upon learning of his death, Dahmer’s mother Joyce responded angrily to the media: “Now is everybody happy? Now that he’s bludgeoned to death, is that good enough for everyone?” The response of the families of Dahmer’s victims was mixed, although it appears most were pleased with his death. The district attorney who prosecuted Dahmer cautioned against turning Scarver into a folk hero, noting that Dahmer’s death was still murder. On May 15, 1995, Scarver was sentenced to two additional terms of life imprisonment for the murders of Dahmer and Anderson.
- Although Scarver had confessed in 1994 to having concealed the weapon used to kill Dahmer and Anderson in his clothing on the morning of the murders, in 2015, he publicly stated the murders of Dahmer and Anderson had resulted from a confrontation in which one of the two men had poked him (Scarver) in the back as the three had begun their assigned work detail. In this renewed account of events, Scarver claimed that the two had laughed at him when he had turned around in response before Dahmer and Anderson each walked to separate rooms to begin their cleaning duty, with Scarver following Dahmer toward the staff locker room.
- Scarver alleges that immediately before murdering Dahmer, he had cornered him, presented a newspaper article detailing Dahmer’s crimes, and demanded that Dahmer answer whether the account was true. Scarver further alleged he had been revolted by Dahmer’s crimes and that Dahmer had been openly unrepentant; that Dahmer taunted prison employees and fellow inmates by shaping his prison food into imitations of severed limbs, complete with ketchup to simulate blood spattering; and that prison staff, knowing of Scarver’s hatred for Dahmer, had deliberately left the two men unsupervised so that he could kill him. Furthermore, Scarver stated that Dahmer was so disliked by fellow inmates that he required a personal escort of at least one guard whenever he was out of his cell to prevent inmates from attacking him.
- Dahmer had stated in his will that he wished for no services to be conducted and that he wished to be cremated. In September 1995, Dahmer’s body was cremated, and his ashes divided between his parents.