Jeffrey Dahmer Biography

Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial murderer who was active between the years 1978 and 1991. He was responsible for the deaths of 17 individuals. Over the course of more than 13 years, Jeffrey Dahmer went to gay bars, shopping malls, and bus stations in search of men, most of whom were African American. He then lured them home with the pretense of money or sex, gave them booze that was mixed with narcotics, and then strangled them to death. After that, he would engage in sexual actions with the dead bodies before dismembering them and disposing of them, frequently keeping the skulls or genitals of the victims as mementos. He routinely snapped photographs of his victims at various stages of the murder process, so that he could recall each act afterward and relive the event. This allowed him to relive the experience and relive the moment.

Dahmer was apprehended in 1991 and received 16 sentences of life in prison without parole. Christopher Scarver, a fellow prison inmate, was the one who ended his life in 1994.

 

Childhood and Family

On May 21, 1960, Dahmer came into the world in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to parents named Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. Up to the age of 4, when he underwent surgery to repair a double hernia, his parents said he was an active and cheerful youngster. However, after the procedure, they noticed a difference in him. After the birth of his younger brother and the family’s many moves, he became noticeably somber and increasingly withdrawn from his friends and family. By the time he was in his early teens, he was uninterested, tense, and lacked most friends.

However, it appears that the breakdown of his parents’ marriage and their contentious divorce a few years later may have been the catalyst for turning these thoughts into actions. Dahmer claims that his compulsions toward necrophilia and murder began when he was around the age of 14, but it appears that this may not have been the case.

When Dahmer committed his first murder, his drinking was already out of control and had been for some time. After only one semester at Ohio State University, he decided to leave school altogether, and his freshly remarried father insisted that he enlist in the military instead. After enlisting in the military in the end of December 1978, Dahmer was shipped out to Germany not long after.

 

His drinking problem persisted, and as a result, he was expelled from the army in the beginning of 1981. Although German authorities would later investigate possible connections between Dahmer and murders that took place in the area during that time, it is believed that he did not take any additional victims while he was serving in the Armed Forces. This is despite the fact that they would investigate possible connections between Dahmer and murders that took place in the area during that time.

After completing his military service, Dahmer went back to his hometown in Ohio. However, Dahmer’s drinking problem persisted, and he was arrested for indecent exposure the following summer, which prompted his father to send him to live with his grandmother in Wisconsin. The arrest that occurred later that year for disorderly conduct was what prompted his father to take this action. In 1986, when two young boys accused him of masturbating in front of them, he was taken into custody once more. The judge placed him on probation for a period of one year.

Victims

Dahmer murdered 17 men between 1978 and 1991. He took care to pick victims on the margins of society, who were frequently transient or on the verge of criminality. This made their disappearances less noteworthy and decreased the likelihood of him being caught. After luring them to his house with the promise of money or sex, he proceeded to strangle them to death once they were inside. He had sexual relations with their bodies and took images and body pieces to keep as mementos of his exploits.

First Four Victims

In June 1978, right after he graduated from high school, Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks and took him home to his parents’ house. This was his first murder. Dahmer then got the young man drunk. When Hicks tried to leave, Dahmer killed him by hitting him in the head with a barbell and suffocating him with it.

 

Dahmer took his first victim’s body apart, put the pieces in plastic bags, and buried them behind his parents’ house. Later, he took the bones out of the grave, broke them up with a sledgehammer, and spread them all over a wooded ravine.

Steven Tuomi was Dahmer’s second person he killed. He killed him in September 1987. They got a hotel room and drank, and when Dahmer woke up, Tuomi was dead and he had no idea what had happened the night before. He bought a big suitcase to carry Tuomi’s body to the basement of his grandmother’s house, where he cut it up and masturbated on it before throwing it away.

Only after Dahmer killed two more people at his grandmother’s house did she get tired of his late nights and drinking, even though she didn’t know about his other crimes. In 1988, she kicked him out of the house.

Sexual Assault Charges

That September 1989, Dahmer had an extremely lucky escape: An encounter with a 13-year-old Laotian boy resulted in charges of sexual exploitation and second-degree sexual assault for Dahmer. He pleaded guilty, claiming that the boy had appeared much older.

While awaiting sentencing for his sexual assault case, Dahmer again put his grandmother’s basement to gruesome use: In March 1989, he lured, drugged, strangled, sodomized, photographed, dismembered, and disposed of Anthony Sears, an aspiring model.

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. He briefly lived with his grandmother following his release, during which time he does not appear to have added to his body count, before moving back into his own apartment.

Last 13 Victims

Over the next two years, Dahmer’s number of victims grew quickly, going from four to seventeen. As he got worse, he came up with rituals. He tried out chemical ways to get rid of his victims’ bodies and often ate their flesh. Dahmer also tried to do crude lobotomies on his victims by drilling holes in their heads and injecting them with muriatic acid while they were still alive.

On May 27, 1991, Dahmer’s neighbor Sandra Smith called the police to say that a naked Asian boy was running down the street. When the police came, the boy couldn’t talk, so they took Dahmer’s word for it that the boy was his 19-year-old lover. Dahmer was a white man living in a mostly poor African-American neighborhood. In fact, the boy was 14 years old and was the brother of the Laotian teen Dahmer had abused three years earlier.

Dahmer and the boy were taken home by the police. They took a quick look around before leaving, probably because they didn’t want to get involved in a fight between two gay people.

Once the police left, Dahmer killed the boy and went back to his normal routine. If the police had done even a simple search, they would have found the body of Tony Hughes, Dahmer’s 12th victim. Dahmer killed four more people before he was finally caught.

The Crime Scene at Jeffrey Dahmer’s Arrest: Refrigerator and Polaroids

Dahmer stopped killing on July 22, 1991, when he was caught. Body parts found in Dahmer’s fridge and Polaroid photos of his victims became inextricably linked to his infamous killing spree.

Two Milwaukee police officers found Dahmer when they picked up Tracy Edwards, a 32-year-old African American man who was walking around with handcuffs hanging from his wrist. They decided to look into the man’s claim that some “weird dude” had given him drugs and held him down. When they got to Dahmer’s apartment, he was calm and offered to get the handcuff keys.

Edwards said that Dahmer had threatened him with a knife, and that knife was in the bedroom. When the officer went to check out the story, he saw Polaroid pictures of bodies that had been cut up. Officers were able to stop Dahmer.

 

After that, searches turned up a head in the refrigerator, three more in the freezer, and a list of other horrifying things, like preserved skulls, jars with genitalia, and a large collection of Polaroid photos of his victims that looked like they were from a horror movie.

After Dahmer died in 1996, a group of businessmen in Milwaukee raised more than $400,000 to buy the tools he used to kill his victims, such as blades, saws, handcuffs, and a refrigerator to store body parts. They destroyed them right away to get the city away from the horrible things Dahmer did and the media circus that followed his trial.

Trial and Imprisonment

Dahmer’s trial began in January 1992. Since most of Dahmer’s victims were African Americans, there were a lot of racial tensions, so strict security measures were taken, like putting a bulletproof glass barrier eight feet high between him and the gallery. The fact that there was only one African American on the jury caused more trouble, but it was kept under control and didn’t last long. Lionel Dahmer’s second wife and him were there for the whole trial.

Dahmer pleaded not guilty to all charges at first, even though he had admitted to the killings while being questioned by police. He changed his plea to “guilty by reason of insanity” in the end. Then, in his defense, he talked about the horrible things he did as proof that only a crazy person could do such terrible things.

The jury decided to believe the prosecution’s claim that Dahmer knew his actions were bad but still chose to do them. On February 15, 1992, after about 10 hours of deliberation, they found him guilty on all counts but sane. He was given 15 life sentences in a row, and a 16th life sentence was added in May.

 

Dahmer is said to have done well in prison, even though he was kept away from the other inmates at first. He finally persuaded the authorities to let him spend more time with other prisoners. His father sent him religious books and pictures, and the Columbia Correctional Institution gave him permission to be baptized by a local pastor.

Death

Christopher Scarver, who was in the same prison as Dahmer, shot and killed him on November 28, 1994. Dahmer was put to work with two other convicted murderers, Jesse Anderson and Scarver because that was part of his regular job. When the guards came back to check on them, Scarver had brutally beaten both men with a metal bar from the prison weight room while they were alone to do their jobs. After about an hour, Dahmer was said to be dead. Anderson died of his injuries a few days after they happened.

Scarver talked to the New York Post in 2015 about why he had killed Dahmer. Scarver said that he was upset not only by Dahmer’s crimes, but also by his habit of making severed limbs out of prison food to make other inmates angry.

Scarver said that Dahmer and Anderson made fun of him during their work detail, so he asked Dahmer about his crimes and then beat the two men to death. He also said that the prison guards let the killings happen by not stopping them.

 

Jeffrey Dahmer’s House

In August 2012, nearly 20 years after Dahmer’s death, it was said that his childhood home in Bath, Ohio, where he killed and buried his first victim in 1978, was for sale. Its owner, the musician Chris Butler, said that the property would make a great home as long as the buyer could “get past the horror factor.”

In March 2016, Butler put the house up for rent during the Republican National Convention for $8,000. Zillow.com says that the house was no longer on the market as of July 2017.

Jeffrey Dahmer Movies and Books

Well-known books about Dahmer include:

  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare, by Donald A. Davis. It was published just a few months after Dahmer’s arrest, in November 1991.
  • The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer, by Brian Masters, which was published in 1993.

Notable films on Dahmer’s life and killing spree include:

  • Dahmer, a 2002 biographical film starring Jeremy Renner
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, a 2012 documentary covering the summer of Dahmer’s 1991 arrest.
  • My Friend Dahmer, a 2017 film about Dahmer’s alcoholic pre-killing teenage years based on the 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Derf Backderf.