In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the 1980s and 1990’s, a monster was lurking, victimizing young men. Some of his victims were gay and most of them minorities. Because of bias, he went undetected for way too long. This man was the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer. I wanted to cover this case, because this is the serial killer i find the most fascinating. I do not knowhat it is about him. Perhaps it is the cannibal aspect or the disturbing nature of his crimes.
Disclosure: This story includes talk of suicide, mental health issues, vivid descriptions of dismemberment, and victimizaton of young men. If any of these subjects are a trigger for please take care of yourself, and check out some of my other stories! I Never victim blame nor do I make excuses for people who commit these horrendous crimes. I believe in learning from these tragic events. The history of these awful people is important to think about what led up to the events and how to resolve the problem before it led to murder.
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeffrey was born to his parents Lionel Hebert and Joyce Annette Dahmer (nee Flint). Lionel was a Chemistry student at Marquette University, in Milwaukee. Joyce was a teleprinter instructor. Lionel and Joyce married on August 22, 1959. Thye probably conceived very as soon as they married, because he was born just short of nine months later. Lionel said that Joyce suffered from nausea and stiffness during her pregnancy and doctors prescribed phenobarbital and morphine injections. People, close to the family, remembered Jeffrey lacked attention as an infant. His parents doted on him early on. However, Joyce was distance, greedy for attention, and combative to Lionel and their neighbors.
As a toddler, people described him as energetic and happy. However, in 1964, before his 4th birthday, he has a double hernia surgery, and became somber. Things got worse at home for Jeffrey, as he started school in 1966. Lionel was away a lot working on his education. Joyce became a severe hypochondriac and suffered from depression. She would stay in bed all the time and demand her husband’s extra attention. This must have just left Jeffrey feeling very alone and somewhat abandoned. She even attempted suicide using Equanil, a medicine that used for anxiety, but acted as a minor tranquilizer. Jeffrey has described his this time as being full of tension argument.
At school, he was timid and quiet. His teacher noticed that he showed signs of feeling abandoned. She credited this to his mother’s mental illnesses and his dad being away a lot. He did a small group of friends, in spite of this. The same year, the family moved to Doylestown, Ohio. Joyce gave birth to their second son, David, a name that they let Jeff choose. Lionel also completed his degree, this year, began to work as a analytical chemist, in Akron, Ohio.
From an early age, Jeff showed an obsession in dead animals. Lionel believed that it started when Jeff saw him removing animal bones from the home, when he was 4. Lionel said that he become fascinated by the way bones sounded when they hit each other. Jeff called his “fiddlesticks”. Jeff was search around and under the home for bones and would examine live animals to see where each bone was located.
In 1968, the family moved to the bath township of summit county in Ohio. The home was located on woodlands area with a small hut, that Jeff would spend a lot of his time. He would find a lot of insects and animals, in a house that was a short walk from his home. He bring them back to the hut and store them in Formalyde filled jars. In 1970, Jeff asked his father, during dinner, about what would happen if they put chicken bones in bleach. Lionel showed Jeff how to preserve bones with bleach, safely; thinking it was just a normal scientific curiosity. Jeff used this technique while collecting bones. He also started a collection of roadkill. He would dissect and bury next to the hut, occasionally with skulls onto of crosses.
In 1975, he decapitated a dead cat. He nailed the body to a tree and impaled the skull on a stick. He placed it in the wooded area behind his home. Jeff invited a friend to witness the display of the dismembered carcass. He pretended like he just stumbled across it, as a prank. While all this craziness was going on, Joyce began taking more Equanil, laxatives, and sleeping pills; paying even less attention to her husband and Jeff.
High School Life
When Jeff started high school, in 1974, at Revere High School, he was an outcast. He began drinking alcohol during the school day, concealing it in his jacket pocket, and calling the alcohol his “medicine”. Jeff was very quiet, but staff though he was polite and intelligent, although he had average grades that did not reflect his ability. He was also on the tennis team and shortly in band. clasmates seen dahmer as a class clown and would stage pranks, such as stimulating seizures. Peers would could call his antics “doing a Dahmer”. He would often perform these pranks to get money for booze.
Jeff came to the realization that he had attractions to boys, but never told his parents. He did have a secret relationship with another teenage boy, but they never had intercourse. In his mid-twenties, Jeff started to fantasize about dominating a male partner and his focus on male chests and torsos, combined with dissection. Around 1976, he saw a male jogger and he fixated on him and started fantasing about making him unconscious and having his way with him. He hid in bushes, with a baseball, waiting for the jogger, but luckily for this jogger, he did not take this path, on that day. This was his first attempt to attack submit an individual.
By his senior year of high school, Jeff’s grades started to decline, so his parents tried to hire a tutor with little success. At this time, Joyce and Lionel decided to start counsel for their marriage problems. In September Lionel found out that Joyce had a short affair, so they decided to divorce. They sat the boys down and explained that they wanted things to go as amicable as possible. However, in 1978, the divorce became extreme volatile and Lionel chose to move out of the family home into a hotel.
In 1978, Jeff graduated high school, in spite of caught, it the parking lot, drinking several cans of beer. When confronted, Jeff explained that was having issues at home. That spring, Joyce moved out of the family home to live with relatives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She did moved David with her, not notifying Lionel and leaving Jeff at the family home. On July 24, Lionel and Joyce’s divorced. Full custody and alimony was awarded to Joyce.
On June 18, 1978, Steven Mark Hicks was standing roadside, attempting to hitchhike to a concert in Chippewa Lake Park, Ohio. Jeff drove by and offered Steven to accompany Jeff to his home to have a few beers. Jeff later said that at the sight of Steven shirtless, he became aroused. He knew that any advances he made would be rejected, because Steven started talking about girls. After several hours of talking, drinking, and listening to music, Steven decided it was time to leave, but Jeff did not want him to go.
As Steven was sitting in a chair, Jeff hit him twice with a 10 pound dumbbell. When Steven unconscious from the blows to his head, Jeff strangled him with the bar of the dumbbell, Jeff then stripped Steven clothes off his body and touching Steven’s chest. He then masturbated over Steven’s lifeless body and drug his body into the basement. The next day, Jeff dissected Steven body, in his basement and buried his remains in a shallow grave in his backyard. Several weeks later, Jeff dug up Steven’s body and pared the flesh off of Steven’s body, then dissolved the flesh in acid and flushed the solution in his toilet. Jeff took a sledgehammer and smashed Steven’s bones and scattered them in the wooded area behind his home.
Steven Hicks, a 19 year-old, described as a caring and compassionate person. One friend said that once they went on a hunting trip and he broke down and cried after killing a rabbit. When he never came home, his parents thought that he just stayed out late. They did everything to find Steven, including hiring a private detective and asking for a 2,500 dollar regard with no answers. They did not learn the truth about his disappearance until 13 years later.
College and Army
In July 1978, Lionel and his fiance returned to the family home to discover Jeff living at the home alone. In August, Jeff enrolled at Ohio State University (OSU) and majored in Business. Jeff only attended college for one term. Because of his alcohol abuse, he failed all of his classes except for one, which was Riflery. Lionel witnessed Jeff’s alcohol abuse, by stopping by unannounced and seeing empty liquor bottles all over the home. Even though Lionel paid in advance for his second term, Jeff dropped out before his second term began.
In January of 1979, Jeff enlisted in the United States Army after Lionel urged him to do so, hoping this would help to get his life together. Jeff went through basic training at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama. After basic training, Jeff trained at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, as a Medical Training. The army reprimanded Jeff occasionally because of intoxication. Once jeff caused his whole platoon to recieve punishment, leading Jeff to receive beating from fellow recruits. On July 13, the military deployed to Baumholder, West Germany. They considered Jeff an average or slightly above average soldier, in his first year of service.
After the Military
In March of 1981, Jeff’s performance deteriorated, due his alcohol abuse, and the army deemed unsuitable for duty and given an honorable discharge. On March 24, they sent him to Fort Jackson, South Carolina and gave Jeff a plane ticket for anywhere in the United States, in which he choose to go to Miami Beach, Florida. He later said that he choose Florida, because he was not ready to face his father with his recent failure, and he wanted to avoid the cold and live by his own rules.
He got a job as at a sandwich shop and got a room at a motel. However Jeff’s life in Florida started to hit the fan, as his old habits of drinking came back take over his life. He started spending all his extra money on alcohol and lost his room due to ability to pay. He continued working at the sandwich shop, spending his nights on the beach. In September, He called his father, asking if he could come back home to Ohio. Jeff originally lived his Lionel and his wife.He asked for chores to keep him busy, while looking for work.
Jeff continued his habit of abusing alcohol and subsequently arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct; this landed him ten days in jail and a sixty dollar fine. Lionel then attempted to get Jeff sober, but ultimately failed. In December, he sent Jeff to live with his grandmother, in West Allis, Wisconsin, because he had a rather close bond to her, so they hoped that she could influence Jeff positively.
At first, living with his grandmother, was cordial, as he attended church and followed most of her rules. He did still abuse alcohol. In 1982, Jeff found a job at the Milwaukee Blood Plasma Center, as a phlebotomist. He continued to work there for ten months, at which time, his employer laid him off. He lived off of whatever money his grandmother gave him. On August 8, 1982, while at Wisconsin State Fair Park, people caught him exposing himself, as 25 people witnessed the incident, including women and children. The Court convicted him and fined fifty dollars.
In January 1985, Jeff worked at the Milwaukee Ambrosia Chocolate Factory, as a mixer. Around this time, while at the West Allis Public Library, a stranger gave him a note offering to perform fellatio on him. Jeff did not acknowledge the note, however, it stirred up his past fantasies of dominance and he started visiting gay bar, gay bathhouses, and bookstores. He stole a male mannequin from a store. He would use it for sexual stimulation until his grandmother found it in a closet and made him get rid of it.
By the end of 1985, Jeff visited the bathhouse frequently, but soon became frustrated that his partners would move. at this point, he viewed men as objects of pleasure, instead of people. In June 1986, he began to give his partners liquor, laced with sedatives. After his partners there past out, he would perform sexual acts. Jeff obtained medication to sedate his partners by telling doctors that he needed to adjust to working nights. After the bathhouse became aware of twelve occasions of him drugging men, they revoked his memberships, and he moved this troubling behavior to hotels.
Shortly after the bathhouse manager revoked his membership, Jeff saw a funeral announcement in the newspaper, of an 18 year old man, and started to think about stealing the corpse and taking it home. He tried to dig his coffin up, but he abandoned the plan after he realized the soil was too hard to dig up. On September 8, 1986, while at the Kinnickinnic River, police caught him masturbating and arrested him for lewd and lascivious behavior. He tried to claim he only urinated, however there were witnesses: two 12-year old boys. He ended up admitting to the claim and the prosecuter changed to disorderly conduct. On March 10, 1987, the judge sentenced him with one year of probation and instruction to attend counseling.
On November 20, 1987, Steven Tuomi was at a bar and started to talk to Jeff. Jeff was able to convince Steven to the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee. Jeff planned on drugging Steven and exploring his body. The following morning, Jeff woke up to lying unstop of Steven. As he got up, Jeff found Steven’s chest crushed with a bruise, and blood was seeping from his mouth. Upon looking down at his arms, Jeff noticed that his fists and forearm had bruised. Jeff later said that he had no plan on murdering Steven and had no memory of what happened.
Jeff brought a large suitcase and transported Steven’s body to his grandmother’s home. A week later, Jeff severed Steven’s head, arms, and legs from his torso. He then fileted bones from the body, cutting flesh into smaller pieces that were easier for him to handle, then put it into a garbage bag. He wrapped the bones in a sheet and pounded them with a sledgehammer; this whole awful process took Jeff two hours. Jeff disposed of everything but Steven’s head. The next two weeks, Jeff kept Steven’s head in a blanket. Then he boiled the head in a mixture of Soilax (a detergent cleaner) and bleach, to retain the skull, using it as a stimuli for masturbation. Then he pulverized the skull and disposed it, because became too brittle from the bleach.
Steven was a 25-year old man from Ontonagon, Michigan. He worked as a short-order cook at a Milwaukee restaurant. Friends of Steven described as friendly and creative. His family reported him missing three months later, but the police said there was no foul play.
This was the point in Jeffrey’s life, where he quit trying to curb is compulsions, according to him. Jeff began to purposefully go out and find potential victims, usually and gay bars, then he would bring them back to his grandmother’s home. When at his grandmother’s home, he would drug them with either triazolam, a tranquilizer, or temazepam, a sleeping aide to treat a sleeping aide, where he would then strangle them. He would also engage in sexual activity before, or shortly after their demise.
1987-1989 Murders and Sexual Assault Charge
Two months later, after meeting a 14 year-old male prostitute, named James Doxator. Jeff lured James to his grandmother’s home, with the promise of paying him 50 dollars if he would pose for nude pictures. They engaged in sexual activity, then Jeff drugged James and strangled him on the floor of the cellar. Jeff left James’ body on floor for a week, then dismembered his body and threw his remains, except for his skull, in the trash. He then boiled and cleansed the skull, but upon noticing that it, like Steve’s skull, became fragile. Jeff kept it for two weeks, then he crushed it.
James was a 14 year-old Native American. His mother described him as an independent but rebellious teenager. He ran away from home, to get away from his abusive stepfather, and two days later he had the unfortunate luck of meeting Jeffrey. Although, described as a prostitute but I could not find anything to confirm that. Therefore I believe the reason people thought that, because Jeff offered him money.
On March 24, 1988, while outside a gay bar named Phoenix, he met Richard Guerrero. Jeff asked to to spend the night with him and in return he would pay him 50 dollars. Once back at his cellar, he drugged him, strangled him with a leather strap and performed oral sex on his corpse. Jeff dismembered Richard, within 24 hours, and disposed of the remains, besides the skull, which he would crush several months later.
Richard was a 22 year-old, bisexual man. He was off Mexican descent. He seems to be very close to his family. His brother said that even when he was in trouble, the first person he would call would be his mom. The police refused to look for him, probably due to his race. Later, during the trial, they referred to Jeff as “Diablo, el puro Diablo”, which translates to “the devil, the pure devil”.
On April 23, Jeff lured Ronald Flowers to his cellar. But after Jeff drugged Ronald with coffee, but he realized his grandmother was home. She asked ” Jeff is that you?” and he answered in a way where she thought he was alone. But when she went to the cellar, she saw Ronald, and Jeff knew he could not kill him. Jeff waiting until he passed out and dropped him off at the County General Hospital.
Ronald later said that he went to Milwaukee to pick up a waterbed, but became stuck in an empty parking lot, after his friends left. This is when Jeff offered him a ride to his grandmother’s place to get a car that should jump his. He woke up in a hospital bed, wrapped in wounds, with the last thing he remembered feeling dizzy and seeing Jeffrey’s feet. He did see him a year later at a bar and Jeff claimed that he did not know him. Ronald warned a man that was with Jeff, that he is crazy. He tried to go to police, but the police said it was his word against Jeff’s, and he told them that one day, they will be charging him with more crimes and stormed out.
In September, Jeff moved out, mainly because his grandmother grew tired of his drinking, bringing young men home, and from the smells coming from the cellar and garage. He moved into a one bedroom apartment at 808 North 24th Street. Two days after moving in, he lured a 13 year-old boy to his apartment to take nudes. Police arrested Jeff for drugging and fondling a minor. His father hired attorney Gerald Boyle to defend Jeff. After given several psychological evaluations that found that he was harboring feelings of alienation, that he was impulsive, suspicious of others, and felt defeated about his lack of accomplishments in life. His probation officer, from his disorderly conduct charge, said that they diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder.
On January 30, 1989, Jeff plead guilty Sexual Assault in the 2nd degree and enticing a child for immoral purposes, but sentencing postponed until May. During an 10 day absence from work, Jeff moved back temporarily with his grandmother, in late March. On March 25, 1989, while at a gay bar, Jeff met Antony Sears. Jeff lated said that he had no intentions to murder anyone, but while at the bar, Anthony started talking to him. Jeff lured Anthony to the cellar, where they had oral sex, then Jeff strangled him.
The Next morning, Jeff put Anthony’s body in the bathtub, decapitated him, and tried to skin him. After striping the flesh from the bones, Jeff crushed the bones and disposed of it in the trash. Jeff later said that he found Anthony very attractive and he was the first victim that he kept any remains. Jeff preserved Anthony’s head and genitalia in acetone, and stored in a wooden box, kept in his locker at work, and later moved it to his next apartment.
Anthony was a 24 year-old, mixed race male, who had plans of becoming a model. He had a habit ot running off for weeks at a time, so his mother did not report him missing for 4 weeks. He had plans to proposing to his girl friend, as soon as he had enough money.
On May 23, the court finally sentenced Jeff and he received five years of probation, one year in the house of Corrections, with work released, and required him to register as a sex offender. The judge paroled two months early and he began his probation. At this time, he moved back in with his grandmother in West Allis.
1990-1991: Oxford Apartments Murders
On May 14, 1990, Jeff moved in apartment 213, at the Oxford Apartments, in a furnished apartment, costing 300 dollars a months ( equal to 700 dollars in today’s money).Within a week of moving in, Jeff met Raymond Smith, lured him to his place with a proposition of 50 dollars in exchange for sex. Jeff gave Raymond a drink, dosed with seven sleeping pills and then he strangled him.
The next day, Jeff bought a Polaroid camera and took pictures of Raymond’s corpse, in different suggestive poses, before he dismembered him in his bathtub. He boiled his arms, legs, and pelvis with Soilax cleaner, with a steel kettle, so he could rinse the bones in the sink. Jeff then dissolved the rest of the skeleton, not including his skull, in a acid-filled container. He later stored Raymond’s skull, alongside Anthony’s skull, in a cabinet lined with a black towel, after he spray painted Raymond’s skull.
Raymond was a 32 year-old prostitute. Raymond was an alias, instead of his real name, which was Ricks Beeks. He spent some time in prison,but was trying get his life together. He had daughter, who was 10 at the time, now would be 43 years old.
A week later, around May 27, Jeff lured a young man to his apartment, but he accidently consumed the sedative filled drink. He woke up the next day, with his clothes, watch and 300 dollars missing, and no sign of his guest. Although her never reported the incident, he did tell his probation officer about the theft, on May 29.
In June 1990, Jeff lured Edward Smith to his apartment. When at Jeff’s apartment, He drugged and strangled Edward. This time, Jeff stored Edward’s skeleton in his freezer, in the hopes that the cold temperature would hold moisture. His theory was successful and retained moisture and acidified months later. Despite his success, Jeff put the skull in the oven to dry, which caused the skull to explode. Jeff later said that when he was unable to keep any of Edward’s parts, it made him feel bad.
Edward was a 27 year old man, who was an acquaintance of Jeffreys’. His sister said they called him “the Sheikh” because he frequently wore a turban-like wrap around his head. Edward was an aspiring model. His sister reported him missing after she received a call, possibly from Jeffrey, saying that he died. Raised in a good, christain home, he possessed those traits.
In early September, Jeff meet Ernest Miller outside of a bookstore. Ernest, who was a Chicago native, agreed to go home with him for 50 dollars and let Jeff listen to his heart and stomach. Jeff did attempt to perform oral sex on him. When Ernest told him that it would cost extra, Jeff gave him a drink laced with sleeping pills. Because Jeff only had two sleeping pills, he decided to slice Ernest’s Carotid Artery, with the knife he used to dismember his previous victims bodies.Ernest died in a matter of minutes, after bleeding out.
Jeff posed his body in suggestive poses and dismember him in the bathtub. He would kiss Ernest’s severed head and tell him that he loves him, while finishing the dismemberment. Jeff wrapped his heart, liver, biceps, and portions of his flesh in plastic bags and froze that to later consume. Using Soilax, Jeff boiled the remaining flesh and organs into a jelly-like substance, to cleanse the flesh off the Skeleton, with the intention of retention. Jeff then soaked the bones in a bleach solution for 24 hours, then dried on a towel for a week. Jeff kept Ernest’s head in the refrigerator, then stripped of the flesh. He then painted the skull and added a layer of enamel.
Ernest was 22 year-old, enrolled to start classes at an art college. He had dreams of becoming a dancer.He was visiting friends when he went missing on September 2.
On September 24, Jeff meet David Thomas at the Grand Avenue Mall. David agreed to go back to Jeff’s home for a few drinks and money if he posed for pictures. After Jeff drugged David, he realized that he was not attracted to him. Jeff went ahead and strangled David, in gear that if he awoke, he would be mad that he drugged him. He dismembered David, but kept no body parts, although he did take pictures that later helped David to get identified.
David was 22 years old and a father of two. His ex-girlfriend reported him missing, who never got over his death. Even though they broke up, she still loved him. She said even when he died, every man could not compare to him.
Jeff went a whole five months without murdering anyone. This was not from a lack of trying, as Jeff tried to lure men to his apartment at least five times, but was unsuccessful. During this time, he told his probation officer that was anxious and depressed, due to his private sexuality, loneliness, and financial issues. Before Thanksgiving, he felt worried about seeing his father and brother, Jeff even showed signs of suicidal ideation.
In February 1991, Jeff saw 17 year-old Curtis Straughter at a bus stop by Marquette University. He lured Curtis to his apartment, like he normally did, with the promise of money for nudes and sexual intercourse. When at his apartment, he drugged Curtis, handcuffed his hands behind his back and strangled him with a leather strap. Jeff kept with skull, hands, and genitals, and took pictures throughput the dismemberment.
Curtis Straughter was a high-school dropout who joined Gay Youth Milwaukee at age 15. He had a job as a nursing assistant that he lost shortly before he disappeared. Straughter was planning to get his high-school equivalency certificate and attend modeling school. He went by the nicknames Demetra and Curta.
On April 7, Jeff met Errol Lindsey, who was on his way to get a key made. Jeff convinced him to come to his apartment, where he drugged him, drilled a whole in his skull, and injected hydrochloric acid with a turkey baster. Errol woke up and ask what time it was and told Jeff that he had a headache. He then drugged Errol again and strangled him to death. He decapitated Errol and kept the skull. Jeff then skinned his body, soaked it in water and salt for a few weeks. He was hoping to be able to keep his skin, but it became too brittle and worn, therefore he had dispose of it.
Errol was a 17 year old. He was the youngest of six children. He had a job making plaster figures. His mother said “I can’t understand how it happened, how he met Errol, Errol wasn’t the type to talk to just anybody. Errol went to work and then he came home. He was a mama’s boy. He wouldn’t even go out with his friends without calling me to see what I was doing.”
Around this time, multiple neighbors in his apartment building complained about an awful smell, chainsaw sounds, and falling objects. When the building’s manager Sopa Princewill told him about these complaints, he used the accuse of his freezer breaking and on another occasion, that his tropical fish died.
On May 24, while at a nightclub, Jeff met Tony Hughes. He used his same old enticement of money for nudes to get Tony into his apartment. Jeff attempted to make him more submissive by drilling into his skull and injecting the hydrochloric acid, but he ended up being fatal for tony.
Tony was a 31 year-old man. Hughes was deaf, a condition brought on after a battle with pneumonia as an infant. He could read lips and communicated through sign language and written notes.
Two days later, on May 26, Jeff met 14 year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone on Wisconsin Avenue. Konerak being the younger brother of the boy Jeff molested in 1988; Jeff was not aware of this. Although he was originally reluctant, Konerak agreed to go back to Jeff’s apartment to pose for pictures for money. Konerak posed for two pictures in his underwear, before Jeff drugged him and performed oral sex on him. Before Konerak passed out, Jeff led him to the bedroom where Tony was still on the floor, but Jeff did not think he noticed the corpse, due to the pills. Jeff then drilled a hole into Konerak’s skull, then injected hydrochloric acid into the frontal lobe of his skull.
Jeff drank several beers, while laying next to Konerak, then left to buy more alcosol. He returned in the early morning on May 27, to see Konerak talking in Lao with three women next to him. The women informed Jeff that they called 911, when Jeff told them that his name was John Hmong and he was his friend and attempted to guide him by the arm into his apartment.
Milwaukee officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish arrived to the scene, where Jeff became relaxed and told them that Konerak was his 19 year-old boyfriend and that he drank too much Jack Daniel’s whiskey after a fight, and this is how he normally acted while intoxicated. One of the women pointed out a scrape to his knee, had blood coming from his testicles and rectum and he fought against going back in Jeff’s apartment. This is when on of the officer told her to “butt out, shut up, and not to interfere”.
The fire department arrived and suggested that Konerak needed medical care, but they directed them to leave. Shortly after, detective Richard Porubcan arrived, and the three officers escorted the men back into Jeff’s apartment. Here Jeff continuously talked about the crime in the neighborhood and thanked them for their hard work. Inside his apartment, Jeff showed them the polaroids he took the night before. John said that he smelt nothing unusual, but Joseph said that he smelt something similar to defecation, which was Tony decomposing on Jeff’s floor. They peek around the corner into the bedroom, but did not see the body, so chalked this up to a lover’s quarrel. After the officer’s left,Jeff gave Konerak a second injection into his brain, which killed him. The next day, Jeff took the day off to dismember both men and kept their skulls.
On June 22, Jeff traveled to Chicago and while at a bus stop he met Matt Turner. Matt agreed to travel to Milwaukee for a photo shoot, and while at Jeff’s apartment, Jeff drugged, strangled, and dismembered him. Jeff put Matt’s internal organs in plastic bags in his freezer. No one ever reported Matt missing, sadly. Five days later, on July 5, Jeff met Jeremiah Weinberger at a bar in Chicago. He convinced Jeremiah to spend the weekend with him, then he drugged him and injected boiling water through his skull; this put Jeremiah in a coma and died two days later.
Matt was a 19 year-old from Flint Michigan. A year before his death, he ran away from his home a year before his death and wound up at a halfway house on Chicago’s north side. People close to Matt often described him as being bright and articulate.
a native of Puerto Rico, lived in Chicago and worked as a customer service representative for a video store. He was known to be very artistic and organized.
On July 15, Jeff met a 24 year-old Oliver lacy on the corner of 27th and Kilborn. Oliver went back to Jeff’s apartment, agreed to take nudes and engage in sexual activity. Jeff wanted to extend the time he had with Oliver, but after failing to chloroform him, he requested work off, which he was approved but ended up getting suspended. He strangled Oliver, had sex with his corpse, then dismembered him. He stored his head and heart in the refrigerator and his skeleton in the freezer.
Oliver was the youngest of three sons. He had a 2-year-old child named Emmanuel, and was engaged to be married. He ran track at River Forest High School. Oliver was described as very outspoken. He wore a cross around his neck that belonged to his late father and had moved to Milwaukee from Chicago within months of his father’s death.
Four days later, he was was fired, and upon hearing this news he convinced 25 year-old Joseph Bradehoft to his place. Jeff strangled him and left him in his bed, covered by a sheet, for two days, when he found his head covered in maggots. He then decapitated Joseph, cleaned his head and stored in the the refrigerator. Jeff later acidified his torso, along with Matt and Oliver’ corpses.
He had a wife and three children in Minnesota, with ages ranging from 2 to 7. Joseph loved sports and fishing. He left for a job interview July 16, 1991, and never returned.
Last Crime and The Capture
On July 22, 1991, after being turned down by two other men, Jeff was able to convince Tracy Edwards to come back to his apartment, with a promise of 100 dollars to pose for nudes, drink beers, and to keep him company. As Tracy entered the apartment, he smelt a foul odor and saw several boxes of hydrochloric acid on the floor. When asked about this, Jeff told Tracy that he used the acid for cleaning bricks. The men engaged in small talk, then Jeff asked Tracy to look at his tropical fish and when Tracy turned his head, Jeff handcuffed his wrist.
Tracy asked Jeff “what’s happening” and Jeff tried to handcuff his wrists together, but was unsuccessful. Jeff then told Tracy to join him in the bedroom, and when in there, he noticed nude male posters on the wall, the exorcist III playing, and a 57 gallon blue drum, that had a strong odor coming from it. This is when Jeff showed a knife and told him that his plans were to take nude pictures of him.
Tracy started to unbuttoned his shirt and said that he would pose for pictures if he took the handcuff off and put the knife away. Tracy then noticed that Jeff started to rock back and forth and chanted before returning his gaze back at him. Jeff then laid his head on Tracy’s chest, with a knife pressed to him. Jeff began listening to Tracy’s heart and creepily told him that he wanted to eat his heart.
Every time Jeff tried to attack Tracy, he would tell Jeff that he was his friend and that he was not going to run away. Tracy decided at this point, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, he would either jump out a window or run out the front door, that was unlocked. He then asked if he could use the bathroom and if they could drink beers in the living room, where there was air conditioning, and Jeff agreed, and when Tracy finished in the bathroom, they walked to the living room. Tracy waited until he noticed that Jeff had a slip in attention, and requested to use the bathroom. When he stood up, he realized that Jeff was not holding the handcuffed, he then punched Jeff in the face and ran out the front door.
When outside, at 11:30 PM, Tracy flagged down a Milwaukee patrol car, driven by officers Robert Rauth and Rolf Mueller, on the corner of North 25th Street. As the officers looked at Tracy, they saw he had a pair of handcuffs on one wrist. Tracy proceeded to tell the officers that a “freak” put the cuffs on him and asked if they could remove them.
Tracy agreed to go with the officers into the apartment, when they could not unlock the cuff with their cuff keys. He did tell him he was in the apartment, before escaping. Jeff invited all three men in and did admit that he handcuffed Tracy, but did not say why he did that. Tracy told the officers about Jeff using the knife to subdue him; Jeff did not refute this and or explain why. Jeff then told Mueller that the key was in his bedside dresser, and attempted to go ahead of the officer to retrieve the key, probably to stop them from seeing anything evidence of other crimes, specifically the drum, but he was told to back off.
While in the bedroom, Mueller noticed that there was a large knife under his bed. Then he saw a drawer open and when he inspected it, there were many polaroids that showed men being dismembered. Based on the decor, he knew they happened in Jeff’s apartment and showed Rauth, saying that the photos were real. As soon as Jeff saw the polaroids in the officers’ hands, he attempted to fight and resist arrest. The officers overpowered Jeff quickly, handcuffed him, and called for back up. Mueller opened the refrigerator and sees the severed head of black male, that seemed to be recently deceased; this is when Jeff said to the officers that he should be dead for what he did.
Milwaukee police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau conducted a more detailed search of the apartment. While searching the kitchen, they found four severed heads, two human hearts, a portion of arm muscle, each wrapped in plastic bags, and blood drippings on the bottom of the refrigerator. Inside the freezer, they saw a full size torso and bag of human organs and flesh stuck to ice on the bottom. They found 7 skulls, either painted or bleached, in a closet, inside Jeff’s bedroom. Throughout the apartment, they found two full skeletons, a pair of severed hands, two preserved, severed penises, and a mummified scalp. In the drum, they found three additional torsos dissolving in acid. They also found a total of 74 polaroids showing the dismemberment process.
Confession of a Madman
Early the next day, on July 23, Detective Patrick Kennedy, interrogated Jeff about the evidence of murders that was found in his apartment. Over the next two weeks, Kennedy and detective Dennis Murphy interviewed Jeff a total of 60 hours, in which Jeff waived his right to have a lawyer present. Jeff said that he wanted to confess and told him “created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it.” He admitted to killing 16 young men since 1987 in Wisconsin. Jeff also confessed to the murder of Steven hicks, in Ohio, in 1978.
Jeff told the police all the things i discussed with the victims, including how he picked them up, drugging them, killing them, the dismemberment, and some necrophilia acts I mentioned. He also confessed to molesting their viscera, which is basically organs, while he dismembered them. Jeff did say that he consumed organs from Raymond, Oliver, and Ernest, and retained other victims organs and flesh with the intention of consumption. He explained that he consumed them mostly for curiosity, but also he felt that consuming them would make them a permanent part of him. Jeff said that he had an increasing need of having someone and the desire was never-ending.
When the detectives asked him about preserving and storing the skulls, Jeff said that he was in the process of creating a private altar on a black table in his living room.He drew a picture of this that included the two skeleton on each (Ernest and Oliver) the skulls laid on both sides, including at least one future victim, incense sticks and a blue lamp with blue lights above the altar. He was going to place it in front of a window, covered with a black shower curtain, and black leather chair, where he could sit.
On July 25, Jeff was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, then later on August 22, was charged 11 additional charges. On September 14, Investigators searched his childhood home, where he confessed to killing Steven Hicks, and found bone fragments. They were able to identify the bones as Stevens’ with X-rays of two molars and vertebra. He was charged with first-degree murder, totaling his final charge to 16 counts.
Jeff was not charged with attempted murder of Tracy Edwards, or Steve Tuomi’s murder. I am not sure why he was not charge with Tracy’s attempted murder, but the lack of charges for Steve was, because the Milwaukee County District Attorney only tried cases with no possible reasonable doubt. Since Jeff did not remember the murder and there was no evidence, no charges were filed. On January 13, 1992, Jeff plead guilty, with an insanity plea to 15 counts of murder.
Trial and Conviction
On January 30, Judge Laurence Gram tried Jeff in Milwaukee, for 15 counts of Murder. When he plead guilt, Jeff waived the right to a preliminary hearing to establish guilt. The goal of his trail was to decide if he was legally insane or not. The prosecution claimed that any mental illness he might have, did not have any impact on impulses to commit these heinous murder. Whereas, the defense claimed that Jeff suffered from a mental illness and was unable to control obsessions and impulses.
The defense had three experts that testified on his mental health. Psychiatrist and Sexologist, that specialized in sex crimes, testified that Jeff had necrophilia, sex attraction to corpses, and could not curb his urges. Judith Becker, a professor of psychiatry and psychology,testified that even though Jeff said he preferred comatose partners rather than deceased ones, she diagnosed him as a necrophiliac. Carl Walhstrom, a Forensic Psychologist, also diagnosed Jeff with Necrophilia, along with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, alcohol dependence, and a psychotic disorder.
On February 8, it was the prosecution’s turn to bring in experts. Fred Fosdal testified that he did not believe Jeff had had any mental illness or defect, when he committing the murders, that he was just cunning individual who was aware what he was doing. He had a belief that Jeff was not sadist, but a paraphiliac, which is basically a sexually desire with aspects that are not typical, such as pedophilia and sexual acts in public.
On February 12, Park Dietz, a Forensic Psychologist,said that “Dahmer went to great lengths to be alone with his victim and to have no witnesses.” Therefore, He did not believe he had any mental illnesses or defects when he committed his crimes and that he planned out his crimes. He did say that if he had a true impulse to kill, he would not need alcohol to do so. He also testified that Jeff looked up villains from the Exorcist III and Return of Jedi, because of the power they had. Park diagnosed Jeff with substance use disorder, paraphilia, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Jeff was also evaluated by two court appointed mental health professionals: George Palermo, a Forensic Psychologist, and Samuel Friedman, a clinical psychologist. George testified that he killed the men because it was the hate he felt for himself, as a homosexual. In killing them, he thought he could kill that part of him. He diagnosed him with severe mixed personality disorder, with antisocial, obsessive-compulsive, sadistic, fetishistic, borderline and necrophilic features, but otherwise legally sane. Samuel testified that Jeff was long for companionship, not him being psychotic. He diagnosed Dahmer with a personality disorder not otherwise specified featuring borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and sadistic traits.
On February 14, after two weeks, both attorneys made their closing arguments. The defense claimed that it was mental illness caused the murders and the prosecution claimed that he knew what he was doing and went out of his way to evade getting caught.
On February 15, Jeff was found be found sane at the time of the murders, with two out of twelve jurors dissented verdict. On February 17, Jeff addressed the court with a statement that he wrote with the help of his legal team. Basically he stated that he never wished for freedom, that wants to die. Jeff also said doctors talking about his mental illnesses, that it gave him peace. He acknowledged that people may never forgive him, but maybe god would. He said that prison would be terrible, but he deserves whatever happens to him and that asks for no considerations.
Jeff was then sentenced for life plus ten years for the first two counts, then got the mandatory sentence of life plus 70 years for the remaining 13 counts. The death penalty was not an option, as Wisconsin abolished it in 1853. Lionel and Jeff’s stepmother was allowed a ten minute private meeting before he left for prison.
Jeff was then booked into the Columbia Correctional Institute in Portage, Wisconsin. On May 1, Jeff was extradited to Ohio, to be tried for murder of Steven Hicks, his first victim. His hearing lasted 45 minutes, in which Jeff plead guilty and was given his 16th life sentence. Jeff was then transferred back to the Columbia Correctional Institute.
Jeff’s Prison Time and Death
In the first year of his imprisonment, Jeff was placed in solitary confinement. This was due to safety concerns that he would be a target for other inmates. Jeff received donation from people that paid for his cigarettes, cassettes, stationary, and magazines. He requested to be able to be in general population. He was transferred to a less secure unit and assigned to a bathroom work detail, later cleaning the gymnasium in the prison, for two hours a day.
Jeff requested during his confessions that he receive a bible and became a born again Christianity. In May, Jeff got baptized by Roy Ratcliff, who was a minister in the Church of Christ, in the prison whirlpool. Following the baptism, Jeff was visited by Roy on a weekly basis, and they discussed death and even asked if he was sinning by continuing to live.
On July 3, 1994, Jeff was sitting in the prison chapel, after service ended. Osvaldo Durruthy, another inmate took a toothbrush and implanted a razor in it and attempted to slit Jeff. Osvaldo’s attempt to murder Jeff was unsuccessful and he only suffered superficial wounds. His dad and stepmother would have regular contact and when they would express concern, Jeff would express that he was ready to die and accepted any punishment that came his way. His Mother, Joyce, who he had last seen on Christmas in 1983, also had regular contact. Whenever she told Jeff she was concerned about his safety, he would tell his mother that he did not care if something happened to him.
On the morning of November 28, Jeff went to his work detail in the gymnasium, alongside inmates Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. While Jeff was cleaning staff bathroom, Christopher attacked him with a 20-inch metal bar, then hit his had against the wall multiple times. He then beat Jesse as well. Jeff was discovered on the floor with severe head wounds.
While Jeff was still alive, he was rushed to a hospital nearby, he died one hour later. When Christopher returned to his cell, he told a prison guard that god told him to murder Jeff and Jesse. He claimed that they were unplanned but admitted to hiding the bar in his clothes. Christopher Scarver was a convicted murderer , diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He killed a co-worker and attempted to kill his manager, from the Wisconsin Conservation Corps. Jesse Anderson was a convicted murder who killed his wife and tried to blame it on two black men.
Upon hearing of his death, Joyce asked if everyone is happy that he is dead, as if he did not murder people. Oliver lacy’s mother, Catherine says it all: “The hurt is worse now, because he’s not suffering like we are.” The district attorney who tried Jeff, said not to look at him like hero, because he still committed a heinous murder. I agree, as a mother, I would wish anyone who did her harm, an awful life. That being said, he is still capable of bashing someone’s head. It is still an awful crime, even if the person had it coming. On May 15, Christopher was charged with two counts murder for Jeff and Jesse, on top of his prior charge.
Jeff requested in will to be cremated, and in September 1995, he was cremated, and divided between his parents. Joyce and Lionel argued over donating his brain for research, but eventually cremated it in December.
In August of 1991, there was a candlelight vigil in Milwaukee to remember victims. It was attended by 400 people, including victims’ families, community leaders, and gay rights activists. In November of 1992, the Oxford Apartments, where Jeff murders most of his victims, was demolished and remains a vacant lot today. It had plans of becoming a memorial garden, a playground, and even anew housing complex, but thankfully never happened. Too much murder has happened to renovate.
Eleven of his victims’ families sued for his estate and won. They planned an auction to liquidate his estate, but it was controversial so they sold it to Milwaukee Civic Pride and his possessions were destroyed and buried at an unknown Illinois landfill. Lionel is retired and remained married to Shari until she died earlier in this year, in 2023. He always maintained his love dor Jeff, although he although he acknowledged his awful crimes.
In 1994, Lionel wrote a book called A Father’s Story, and donated a portion of proceeds to victims. Three families sued him for using their names in the book without asking and Steven Hicks’ family sued for wrongful death, citing that their negligence caused it. I tend to agree, because if his parents were more present, they may have known that something was up or saw red flags and got his help. Joyce died of Cancer on November 27, 2000. Jeff’s younger brother, David, changed his name and choose to keep his new identity private. There have been a few movies and tv shows that were made about Dahmer’s crimes. Two of the best performances I have seen are Ross lynch in My Friend Dahmer and Evan Peters in Dahmer: The Monster on Netflix.
My thoughts are very mixed. I understand that the things that Dahmer did, were not only awful, but utterly disturbing. I cannot imagine the torture these young men felt. That being said, I wonder if all this could be avoided. His father taught him how to dissolve animal carcasses. When he showed interest in this, he could have directly his attention in a different way. I think with the right attention, he could have been a brilliant scientist. Also, He was raised by a mother who was depressed and taking tranquilizers. Then his dad would leave him to his own devices. I think the only relative that did him any favors was his grandma; she put her foot down and I think if he lived with her from beginning, things would have been different.
There is also the fact that his behavior changed after he had double hernia surgery, according to his father. I did look into this and there is no evidence linking to it to violence. Now, Lionel also said he hit his head and if you know anything about serial killers, you know of them had Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). So i think it was a mix of family life, feeling alone, and the TBI.
I do have to acknowledge his talk of remorse, because I stated things as there were said by Dahmer. While I cannot say if I believe him or not, that is something only he knew. I truly hope he found remorse and made amends. It did seem like he came to grasp how awful his crimes were and felt like he deserved punishment, which of course he did. I do agree with assessments on his mental illness. I am by no means a psychologist but I do not think you commit the crimes he did and be sane. That being said, prisons was were he belonged.
What lessons can be learned? the same old.. do not leave bars with strangers or go home with strangers. In the 1980s, It was common to trust people, but it is better safe than sorry. If you meet someone that you are attracted to, hang out in a public place a few times. As parents, I think we can look for red flags that our children need help. There is a theory, called the MacDonald Triad, that states that serial killer often possesses at least one trait of this triad. The traits are fire setting, cruelty to animals, and bedwetting. And the worst has the trifecta of all traits. Dahmer was not known to wet the bed or set fires. Animals was were is fascination was directed towards.
I think that if caught early enough in childhood, any murderous impulses could be decreased or possibly avoided. If anything, it is worth a try. If you sit back and do nothing, I am sorry but you are a crappy parent. Problems do not just disappear. Finally, I believe that police can look at this as a lesson to do better. There were many times that Dahmer could have been stopped. This shows specifically when Konerak was bleeding and obviously drugged. I hope specifically Milwaukee Police learned from this.
This was an extremely heavy case. I know there will be differing opinions. I welcome an open discussion, but make sure it is respectful. And if there is any cases you would like me to cover, especially international cases, please request a case. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
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