The Murder Spree of Jeffrey Dahmer

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Jeffrey Dahmer was born to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer on May 21, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His mother described him as a beautiful baby, and he was considered a healthy child by both parents. He was fascinated by the bones of animals and how they fit together. When he was four years old, his interest in carcasses began. One day, Jeffrey helped his father remove animal remains from under the house and Jeffrey was oddly pleased with the bones dropping into the bucket. He then began collecting them. Searching for roadkill in the ditches and along the roads. He started to dismember the bodies behind the house in a wooded area patch and deposited the different parts of the body in the woodshed of the family. Jeffrey beheaded a dog's corpse on one occasion before nailing the body to a branch.

Later at the age of 14, Jeffrey admitted he began to experience sexual compulsions. He desired boys, not girls, and the sexual fantasies involved submission, violence, and death. He started drinking to curb his desires as a teenager and spoke to no one about the troubling feelings he had. He fantasized at the age of 16 about raping a jogger that he saw on a regular basis and planned to attack the man. One day Jeffrey lay waiting along the regular route of the man with a baseball bat in the bushes. That day the man did not come, and Jeffrey never tried to do it again.

Most of his classmates at Revere High School found Dahmer to be an outcast with a few friends; some were disturbed by his heavy drinking. While at school, he drank both beer and alcohol by sneaking it into his army fatigue jacket's lining. Despite being awkward, he frequently entertained his classmates by performing pranks like acting out seizures, knocking over objects, and making loud, gross noises.

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A few weeks after graduation, Dahmer committed his first murder when he picked up a hitchhiker. 18 year old Steven Mark Hicks was on his way to a rock concert when Dahmer lured him back to his house to hang out and drink a few beers before the show. Hicks and Dahmer spent several hours listening to music and drinking together. Dahmer didn't want Hicks to leave, so he hit him with a 10 lb dumbbell in the back of the head. When Hicks was unconscious, Dahmer strangled him to death. He then moved him to the crawl space under the house, and dissected his body before burying it in a shallow grave. “The only motive that there ever was was to completely control a person; a person I found physically attractive. And keep them with me as long as possible, even if it meant just keeping a part of them” (Dahmer). Dahmer took his second victim Steven Tuomi in September of 1987. He has no recollection of murdering Tuomi, but according to Dahmer, they had checked in and drank heavily in a hotel room together. He found the dead body of Tuomi when he woke up in the morning with blood on his hands. In March 1989, Anthony Sears, an aspiring model, was abducted, drugged, strangled, sodomized, photographed, dismembered and disposed of.

Dahmer's victim count has increased over the next two years, raising his number from four to 17. As he aged, he developed habits, experimenting with chemical disposal methods, and often consuming his victims’ bodies. Dahmer also attempted extreme amputations, cutting into the skulls of victims while still alive, and pouring muriatic acid into them. He was cautious to choose targets on the bottom of society, who were often borderline offenders, making their disappearances less conspicuous and increasing his capture chance. .

Sandra Smith, neighbor of Dahmer, called the police on May 27, 1991, to report an Asian boy running naked on the street. The police and Dahmer both found the boy, and Dahmer said the boy was a friend of his. The police escorted Dahmer and the boy back to Dahmer’s house, and before leaving they took a brief look around the house. Dahmer killed the boy after the police left the scene and continued to his regular rituals. If even a simple search had been undertaken, police officers would have identified the 12th victim of Dahmer's body, Tony Hughes.

Dahmer's murder spree ended on July 22, 1991 when he was arrested, but not before he killed four more men. The trial of Jeffrey Dahmer started in January 1992. Since most of the victims of Dahmer were African American, there were significant racial tensions and so strict security measures were taken, including an 8-foot bulletproof glass wall that separated him from the gallery. Initially, Dahmer plead not guilty to all charges, despite confessing to the murders during police interrogation, but he eventually changed his plea to guilty due to insanity. His prosecution instead gave the gruesome details of his actions as evidence that such terrible acts could only be committed by someone insane. The jury chose to believe the argument of the prosecutor that Dahmer was fully aware that his acts were wrong and decided to commit them anyway. After about 10 hours of deliberation on February 15, 1992, they returned to find him guilty, but sane, on all counts. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences in jail, facing a 16th term in May.

Dahmer adapted well to prison life, even though he was initially held apart from the general population. Eventually, he persuaded authorities to enable him to be more fully integrated with other prisoners. He found religion in the form of books and photographs sent to him by his father and approval to be baptized by a local pastor was given by the Columbia Correctional Institution.  

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