I have always been intrigued by serial killers. I am just interested to know what makes them tick.
Today is the birthday of one of the most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer. He would have been 61 one today. However he was killed on the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer was on cleaning duty, which he’d begun three weeks earlier, in the prison’s gym bathrooms with two other inmates, Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. The three were left alone for 20 minutes; when guards returned they found the bludgeoned bodies of Dahmer and Anderson, who’d been beaten by Scarver. Dahmer was pronounced dead an hour later; Anderson also ended up dying from the attack. I suppose there is some poetic justice to both men being killed by another murderer.
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer , also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, was a convicted American serial killer and sex offender who committed the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism, and the permanent preservation of body parts—typically all or part of the skeleton.
Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 21, 1960, to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. He was described as an energetic and happy child until the age of 4 when surgery to correct a double hernia seemed to effect a change in the boy. Noticeably subdued, he became increasingly withdrawn following the birth of his younger brother and the family’s frequent moves. By his early teens, he was disengaged, tense and largely friendless. I just want to make a note here, that none of this should have been an excuse for him to kill a great number of people. Unlike some other serial killers, Dahmer was never abused and his parents gave him a secure life. In September 1977 his parents decided to get a divorce, strangely enough that is also the time when my parents decided to divorce.
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. On June 18,[Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Mark Hicks, who was almost 19.
Like most serial killers Dahmer was caught because he made a mistake. Dahmer’s killing spree ended when he was arrested on July 22, 1991. The body parts found in Dahmer’s refrigerator and Polaroid photographs of his victims became inextricably associated with his notorious killing spree.
Two Milwaukee police officers were led to Dahmer when they picked up Tracy Edwards, a 32-year-old African American man who was wandering the streets with handcuffs 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.
When Dahmer’s apartment was fully searched, a house of horrors was revealed. In addition to photo albums full of pictures of body parts, the apartment was littered with human remains: Several heads were in the refrigerator and freezer; two skulls were on top of the computer; and a 57-gallon drum containing several bodies decomposing in chemicals was found in a corner of the bedroom. There was also evidence to suggest that Dahmer had been eating some of his victims. There is a story that one day Dahmer’s Father had visited him and he had seen a box in the room which he was curious about, Before he could open it, Jeffrey told his father that he wouldn’t like the contents of the box that it was filled with pornography, the father decided not to open the box, It was found out that that box contained a human head.
Dahmer claims that his compulsions toward necrophilia and murder began around the age of 14, but it appears that the breakdown of his parents’ marriage and their acrimonious divorce a few years later may have been the catalyst for turning these thoughts into actions. I don’t buy that though, many parents divorce, like mine at the same time as his, but not every child from divorced parents becomes a serial killer.
One thing I am really interested in is his time in Germany. His father insisted that he join the Army. Dahmer enlisted in late December 1978 and was posted to Germany shortly thereafter. Did he kill men in Germany?
Dahmer’s trial began in January 1992. Given that the majority of Dahmer’s victims were African American, there were considerable racial tensions, 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. 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.
Dahmer reportedly adjusted well to prison life, although he was initially kept apart from the general population. He eventually convinced authorities to allow him to integrate more fully with other inmates. He found religion in the form of books and photos sent to him by his father, and he was granted permission by the Columbia Correctional Institution to be baptized by a local pastor.
Dahmer has been linked to 17 murders between 1978 and 1991.
Most of Dahmer’s victims were killed by strangulation after being drugged with sedatives, although his first victim was killed by a combination of bludgeoning and strangulation and his second victim was battered to death, with one further victim killed in 1990, Ernest Miller, dying of a combination of shock and blood loss due to his carotid artery being cut. Four of Dahmer’s victims killed in 1991 had holes bored into their skulls through which Dahmer injected hydrochloric acid or, later, boiling water, into the frontal lobes in an attempt to induce a permanent, submissive, non-resistant state. This proved fatal although on each occasion, this was not Dahmer’s intention.
Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t look like a monster although he behaved like one. He looked like an ordinary man, someone you would not notice in a crowd. In fact he looked a small bit like me I suppose that makes it so scary, anyone you meet could be a serial killer.