Victim Studies 008: Jeffrey Dahmer

on January 6, 2012 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by

Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted for the murders of 15 people in the United States, though it is believed that he was involved in 17 murders. Dahmer’s murder series began when he was 18, on June 6, 1978, and continued until June 19, 1991. Dahmer was arrested on July 22, 1991 after one of the victims escaped from his apartment and alerted police to what had transpired. It is believed that Dahmer confessed to all the murders that he was involved in, though because of the chemicals used to dispose of the bodies there is no guarantee.

Prior to Dahmer’s arrest for his murder series, Dahmer had a police record for disorderly conduct. He was also arrested for asking a 13 year old boy to pose for nude pictures. When the child declined Dahmer drugged and fondled him, later setting him free. Dahmer was charged with sexual exploitation and second degree assault. He was sentenced to 5 years probation, but was released after serving only 10 months. During this point in Dahmer’s life he was known to have a severe alcohol problem, which led him to blame his actions on alcohol rather than on himself. It is believed that because Dahmer was attractive, had a job and was well spoken that the police and judges over looked the possibility that Dahmer was extremely dangerous. At one point on time one of Dahmer’s victims, Konerak Sinthasomphone, escaped the Dahmer house only to be returned to Dahmer by the police themselves. Dahmer had told police that Konerak was his partner, even though he was only 14 years of age. After police left the Dahmer residence, Konerak was murdered and his skull was kept as a souvenir.

Unlike many serial killers, who murder members of their own race, Dahmer, who was Caucasian, chose to murder young African American men. Dahmer did not murder these men because he believed people would not miss them or that the police would not investigate their disappearances, he murdered these men because that was what he was attracted to. Out of the 15 men that Dahmer was charged with murdering over 9 of them were African American, the others were Caucasian, Hispanic or Laotian. The race of the victims created outrage towards the police because of the slow investigation into their disappearances, causing many to believe that racism played a role in the investigation.

The ages of Dahmer’s victims spanned between 14 and 31. When in court, Dahmer claimed that he considered the murders wrong, not because he murdered people, but because of the young ages of his victims. When serial killers willingly choose young victims it not only proves their preference, but it also shows their confidence in not being caught. The males were all known homosexuals or bisexuals, most having criminal records. Dahmer met most of his victims at homosexual bars. Homophobia is thought to be one of the major causes that the police returned a victim to Dahmer and why they did not investigate fully investigate the disappearances of young homosexual men.

The victims were usually brought into Dahmer’s apartment through the promise of money, alcohol or drugs. Some of the victims agreed to Dahmer’s request to have videos or pictures taken of them. Most of the victims did have sexual relations with Dahmer prior to their murder, but they were never able to leave. Dahmer used his prescribed medication to make his victims docile or unconscious. He would then tie up his victims, take additional pictures and strangle them with his hands or with a belt. This is the only method of murder that Dahmer would use.

Most known serial killers are known to torture their victims, even animals, and become aroused before their death, however Dahmer was different. Dahmer was actually known to love and care for animals. Instead, Dahmer would become aroused after the murder of a human victim took place. He would have sex with his victims or masturbate on top of them after the murder had taken place. According to records, Dahmer claimed that he became aroused after cutting the bodies open from the torso to the genitals because of the heat that would come out of the body and also because of the vibrant colors.

The rate at which Dahmer murdered his victims was extremely high. Serial killers normally wait long periods of time before feeling the need to murder again, but Dahmer did not wait for his need to murder to become strong. By the time Dahmer was arrested he was murdering a victims nearly once a week. Some experts believe that his high murder rate was due to Dahmer’s fear of being abandoned or being left alone. If Dahmer was able to have someone close to him once a week, even if it meant allowing the victim to live longer, it would quench his desire for contact.

Although Dahmer enjoyed his victims more after their deaths, he was also known to drill holes into the skulls of some of his victims. Dahmer would then pour acid into the skull. The goal of this process was to make his victims into living zombies. These lobotomies caused his victims to not fight, but instead remain docile while Dahmer raped and tortured them. Of course many of the victims that Dahmer experimented with died instantly after the acid was poured into their skulls, but some survived for days.
Serial killers who are necrophiliac’s also typiallty partake in cannibalism and Dahmer was no exception. He was known to save pieces of his victims’ flesh, their genitals and the heads for later use. Dahmer kept the flesh of his victims into his freezer and would experiment with different seasonings or meat tenderizers to make them taste better. Dahmer did experiment with human blood, but later decided that he did not enjoy the taste of blood. Dahmer believed that his victims would come alive through him as he ingested them. He later told police that while he ate the flesh he would become aroused. The genitals were usually kept in jars, which contained formaldehyde. Upon Dahmer’s arrest there were many jars with genitals found at the back of his closet as well as a decomposing penis in a metal pot.

The majority of the remains that were discovered were in Dahmer’s apartment were heads. At the time of Dahmer’s arrest there was one decomposing head in the fridge, three more in the freezer and seven skulls in the closet. Dahmer would often boil the skulls in order to take the flesh off of the bone. After he was done this process, Dahmer painted the skulls grey in order to make them look as if they were fake. According to records, Dahmer would often light incense in the skulls and masturbate in front of them. He believed that doing this would bring him good luck and improve his social life.

The parts of the body, which were not kept for later use, were thrown into vats. The vats usually contained chemicals that would turn the flesh and bones of a victim into a dark viscous liquid, which Dahmer would flush down the toilet. It is because of this process that police cannot know for certain just how many people Dahmer murdered.

A lot of time was given to dismembering Dahmer’s victims. He took pictures at every stage of dismemberment and decomposition in order to remember the murder. It is believed that Dahmer would take pictures to remember when he was in control. His victims could no longer fight back and Dahmer could do exactly what he wanted. Some detectives believe that Dahmer wanted to recall that remains he kept were actually people at one point in time. The pictures that Dahmer took, which allowed him to feel as if he was in control of his victims, would inevitably lead to his own downfall.

On July 22, 1991 Milwaukee police noticed a short black man, Tracy Edwards, wandering around with handcuffs dangling from his wrist. After questioning Tracy they were led to apartment 213, where Dahmer resided. Although the police did not want to become involved in a homosexual dispute they decided to look around the apartment. It was on Dahmer’s bed that police discovered pictures of dismembered body parts and a decomposed head in the fridge. As Dahmer was placed under arrest, officers began to discover the body parts and vats in which Dahmer would dispose of the unwanted remains.

Dahmer was originally charged with the murders of 17 people, but it was later reduced to 15 murders. Although he originally pled not guilty by reason of insanity, the court found him sane and guilty of all 15 charges. Dahmer was sentenced 15 life sentences, totaling 957 years in prison. On November 28, 1994, an inmate named Christopher Scarver murdered Dahmer.

Sources:
Jeffrey Dahmer on Wikipedia
Jeffrey Dahmer 0 Serial Killer and Cannibal by Marilyn Bardsley on TruTV.com
Jeffrey Dahmer Bio on the Serial Killer Calendar
Jeffrey Dahmer in the Serial Killer Timelines at Radford.edu

3 Comments

  • Brian Combs says:

    Oy. Even after publishing this podcast for so long, Dahmer still creeps me out.

  • Rebecca says:

    Just clicked through from Reddit and realised I loved this podcast! Have listened to all of them now, am waiting for more (although am sure you’re busy with the new addition to the family, congrats!). I really like the series you did on Fred and Rosemary West, cannot believe they went on like that for so long. Am hoping their surviving kids managed to adapt to normal life. Thanks for publishing an awesome podcast!

    • Brian Combs says:

      Based upon the interviews leading up to the broadcast of “Appropriate Adult”, I’d say that Anne-Marie is still struggling and in quite a bit of pain. To be honest, anything else would be surprising. She was strong when she needed to be, however (when Rose was on trial).

      I saw a show the other day (forget what it was called) that consisted largely of interviews with Stephen and Mae. All things considered, they seemed fairly together. I understand that Stephen tried to commit suicide at least once (January 2002), and they both showed some conflicted feelings towards their parents, but I imagine I would be in much worse shape had I gone through that.

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