My Interest

Everyone has heard of Dahmer and his story, so I wavered on whether I would profile him or not, but in the end his story is so gruesome, brutal and interesting that I decided I couldn't leave him out. There are many more obscure serial killers, but few as twisted and mind-numbing than Jeffery Dahmer.

His Story

Jeffrey Dahmer (May 21, 1960 to November 28, 1994) was an American serial killer who took the lives of 17 males between 1978 and 1991. Over the course of more than 13 years, Dahmer sought out men, mostly African-American, at gay bars, malls and bus stops, lured them home with promises of money or sex, and gave them alcohol laced with drugs before strangling them to death. He would then engage in sex acts with the corpses before dismembering them and disposing of them, often keeping their skulls or genitals as souvenirs. He frequently took photos of his victims at various stages of the murder process, so he could recollect each act afterward and relive the experience. It was later assumed that he practiced necrophilia and cannibalism on the corpses. His neighbor, Pamela Bass can't go a single day without thinking about the man she lived next door to in Milwaukee and who once gave her a sandwich - its exact contents forever unknown to her. 'I have probably eaten someone's body part,' Ms Bass admits in the film of her worst fear after being given the sandwich by a man she described as appearing friendly and sharing at the time.

Dahmer's killing spree ended when he was arrested on July 22, 1991. That day, two Milwaukee police officers picked up Tracy Edwards, a 32-year-old African American man who was wandering the streets with a handcuff dangling from his wrist. They decided to investigate the man's claims that a "weird dude" had drugged and restrained him. They arrived at Dahmer's apartment, where he calmly offered to get the keys for the handcuffs. 

Edwards claimed that the knife Dahmer had threatened him with was in the bedroom. When the officer went in to corroborate the story, he noticed Polaroid photographs of dismembered bodies lying around. Dahmer was subdued by the officers. Subsequent searches revealed a head in the refrigerator, three more in the freezer and a catalog of other horrors, including preserved skulls, jars containing genitalia and an extensive gallery of macabre Polaroid photographs of his victims.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial began in January 1992. Given that the majority of Dahmer's victims were African American, there were considerable racial tensions and so strict security precautions were taken, including an eight-foot barrier of bulletproof glass that separated him from the gallery. The inclusion of only one African American on the jury provoked further unrest, but was ultimately contained and short lived. Lionel Dahmer and his second wife attended the trial throughout.

Dahmer initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, despite having confessed to the killings during police interrogation, but he eventually changed his plea to guilty by virtue of insanity. His defense then offered the gruesome details of his behavior, as proof that only someone insane could commit such terrible acts. 

The jury chose to believe the prosecution's assertion that Dahmer was fully aware that his acts were evil and chose to commit them anyway. On February 15, 1992, they returned after approximately 10 hours' deliberation to find him guilty, but sane, on all counts. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms in prison, with a 16th term tacked on in May.

On November 28, 1994, in accordance with his inclusion in regular work details, Dahmer was assigned to work with two other convicted murderers, Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. After they had been left alone to complete their tasks, guards returned to find that Scarver had brutally beaten both men with a metal bar from the prison weight room. Dahmer was pronounced dead after approximately one hour.