Ted Bundy once said, “Sometimes I feel like a vampire.” He looked like a human, he talked like a human, but under that skin was a monster. The likes of Bundy, Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy have gained high levels of notoriety for their crimes. Increasing widespread media coverage has helped serial killer interest overflow into households. Let’s take a look at Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee cannibal.
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. From most accounts Dahmer was a happy child who enjoyed typical toddler activities. It was not until the age of six, after undergoing hernia surgery that his personality began to change from a jubilant social child to a loner who was uncommunicative and withdrawn. He showed little to no interest in hobbies or any social interaction around the ages of 10 to 15 but a fascination with dead animals. He began drinking in high school which escalated so much his father made him enlist in the army, but he was kicked out within two years due to alcoholism.
Dahmer committed his first murder in the summer of 1978, at the age of 18, just three weeks after his graduation. At the time, he was living alone in the family home due to his parents’ recent divorce and his father temporarily living in a nearby motel and his mother relocating to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin with his younger brother. On June 18, Dahmer picked up an 18-year-old male hitchhiker named Steven Hicks, and lured the youth to his house on the pretext of the pair drinking alcohol together. After several hours of drinking and listening to music, Hicks informed Dahmer he wanted to leave, but Jeffrey didn’t want him to so in response, Dahmer bludgeoned Steven with a 10 lb. dumbbell. Dahmer later stated he struck Steven twice from behind with the dumbbell as the young male sat upon a chair and when Hicks fell unconscious, Dahmer strangled the youth to death with the bar of the dumbbell, then stripped the clothes from his body before masturbating as he stood above the corpse.
When Dahmer had moved in with his grandmother she began finding disturbing things in her home, including a .357 magnum under his bed and a male mannequin in his closet. He continued his fascination with dead animals, dissecting dead squirrels in the basement and dissolving them with chemicals. This strange behavior led his grandmother to ask him to move out.
Nine years passed before he killed again since Hicks, and it was with Steven Tuomi, the second victim, killed in September of 1987. Dahmer picked him up from a bar and later killed him on impulse. He stated that he had no memory of committing that crime. The killings occurred sporadically after Tuomi, with two in 1988 and one in 1989. He usually picked up his victims at gay bars and had sex with them before killing them.
In 1991, a boy was discovered wandering the streets drugged and confused. He was 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone and the women that found him called 911; however, Dahmer chased after his victim and stated to the police that he was his 19-year-old boyfriend and that he was just intoxicated. When police left Sinthasomphone with Dahmer, he took him back to his apartment and again injected muriatic acid into Sinthasomphone’s brain, and this proved fatal. His head was retained in the freezer and his body dismembered.
He began killing around one person each week by the summer of 1991 and Dahmer was using the idea that he could turn his victims into “zombies” to have youthful submissive sexual partners. He used many different techniques, such as drilling holes into their skull and injecting hydrochloric acid or boiling water into their brains.
On the day of his arrest, Dahmer attempted to lure Tracy Edwards into his home but during a struggle within the apartment Edwards was able to get free and escape out into the streets where he flagged down a police car. Edwards alerted them to the knife that was in the bedroom and upon entering the bedroom pictures of dead bodies and dismembered limbs allowed the officers to arrest Dahmer. Further investigation of the home lead to a severed head in the refrigerator. Three more severed heads were found in the apartment, multiple photographs of victims and human remains in his refrigerator. It was later assumed that he practiced necrophilia and cannibalism. A total of seven skulls were found in his apartment as well as a human heart in the freezer. An attempted alter was also constructed with candles and human skulls in his closet.
After being indicted on 17 murder charges the court declared him sane and guilty on 15 counts of murder. He was sentenced to 15 life terms, for a total of 957 years in prison. Following sentencing, Dahmer expressed remorse for his actions and wished for his own death.
Jeffery Dahmer was beaten to death on November 28, 1994 by an inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been incarcerated.