He was a Gemini. Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born May 21st, 1960, confirming yet again, that Geminis are some scary motherfuckers.
He was obsessed with bones. His father said he had a strange fascination with the sound bones made, and believed he developed his fixation of collecting and playing with bones after his father found and removed the bones of a dead animal out from under the family home when Jeff was 4 years old. After, he would often search beneath and around the family home for additional bones.
He was a neglected child. Many believe that the negligence of his parents is partially to blame for Jeff’s disturbing behavior from a young age. He was the son of a Teletype Machine Instructor (his mother), and a Chemist (his father). His father was always away from home, either studying or working, his mother was attention deprived in the marriage, and became depressed. She became addicted to Enaquil pills and even attempted suicide by overdose. Due to constant fighting with one another, Jeff and his younger brother, David, were often neglected.
Dahmer’s First Grade teacher noticed something was off about him. She even wrote a note on his report card, stating that he was a “Reserved child who she felt was neglected.”
He was always fascinated with dead things. Dahmer started collecting insects and butterflies as a kid, then moved on to collecting road kill, always keeping carcasses in jars after dismembering them, out of the fascination with how the pieces fit together.
His father unknowingly taught him how to preserve his victims. At 8 years old, during a chicken dinner with family, Dahmer expressed a curiosity to his father of how to bleach the bones of the chicken. His father, being a chemist, was proud of his son’s scientific curiosity. So, he showed him how to safely bleach and later preserve the bones. His father was unaware of what he started, or that that the methods he taught Jeff would be used for much more sinister purposes in Dahmer’s future.
He may have fallen somewhere on the autistic spectrum. According to Listland, Dahmer was socially awkward, had a limited spectrum of facial expressions, had obsessive interests, and appeared stiff and mechanical in the way he carried himself. Due to these characteristics, some professionals thought he might have Aspergers.
There was a comic book written after him. John “Derf Backderf was a schoolmate and friend who knew Dahmer from 7th grade to graduation, is now a comic writer, and even wrote a comic called My Friend Dahmer, recently turned in to a motion picture, recounting their friendship and his impressions of Dahmer growing up. The book can be found on his website, Derfcity.com. In an interview about growing up with Dahmer, he stated, “He got darker and darker. The drinking was out of control.”
Dahmer struggled with alcoholism from a very young age. He attended Rivere High School in Richfield, Ohio, where he participated in extracurricular activities, such as tennis and band. His teachers observed him to be polite and highly intelligent. His classmates, however, were a bit disturbed by the way he would smuggle alcohol into the building from the age of 14, inside his jacket and would keep it in his locker to drink before, during, and after school. When classmates asked him why he was drinking Gin in class, he called it his “medicine”.
He was deemed as a class clown in high school by some classmates. Socially awkward, sure, but he gained the attention and appreciation of some of his classmates with his odd sense of humor, often staging pranks and imitating epileptic seizures and cerebral palsy to entertain himself and others. This behavior became known as “doing the Dahmer”.
He was 16 years old when he plotted his first attack on another human being. He had developed a crush on a male jogger who frequently ran past the Dahmer family home. Dahmer hid in the bushes by the road with a baseball bat, fully intending to knock the man unconscious when he jogged by, then using the man’s unconscious body to fulfill a rape fantasy. Luckily, the jogger didn’t go out for his daily run that day, and Dahmer quickly gave up, and never tried to implement this plan again.
His first murder occurred just weeks after high school graduation. Dahmer’s parents divorced in early 1978. His father moved out of the family home and into a hotel room just a couple months before his mother gained custody of their youngest son, and also moved out to live with family elsewhere, leaving Jeff the house to himself at 18 years old. On June 18, 1978, Dahmer invited 18-year-old hitchhiker, Steven Hicks, to his home for a night of music and alcohol. Several hours later, Hicks thanked Dahmer for his hospitality and was ready to leave. Dahmer didn’t want him to go. So, he struck Hicks over the head with a dumbbell, knocking him unconscious, before proceeding to strangle him with the bar of the dumbbell and kill him. Dahmer then stripped Hicks of his clothes and masturbated over his dead body. Dahmer then dissected Hicks’ body in the crawl space under his home and disposed of the remains in a shallow grave in his backyard. Several weeks later, he dug up the remains and stripped the flesh from the bones with acid and flushed the acid down the toilet, smashed the bones with a sledgehammer, and scattered them in the woods behind his family home.
He was a predator during his time in the U.S. Army. The August after graduation and his first killing, Dahmer enrolled in Ohio State University to major in business. He ended up dropping out 3 months into his first semester due to his alcoholism, and his dad encouraged him to enlist in the U.S. Army. In 1979, Dahmer trained as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas. He served as a combat medic in 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, and the 8th infantry division in West Germany. Two soldiers claimed to have been raped by Dahmer during his time present. However, of all things, it was his alcoholism that had him deemed unsuitable for military service and he was discharged from the army in March of 1981.
He exposed himself to children at the park. Within two weeks of returning home to live with his father, Dahmer was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. His father no longer knew how to help him, so he sent him to live with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin, in hopes that her positive influence would help him sober up and get his life in order. However, his drinking never subsided and a few months later, Dahmer was arrested for indecent exposure on Aug 7th, 1982 for exposing himself to a group of women and children at the park near his grandmother’s home. He spent the majority of the next few years unemployed until he gained employment at the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory.
He kept a male mannequin in his closet. Yup. Dahmer stole a mannequin from a store and used it as a prop for sexual stimulation until his grandmother found it stored in his closet and made him get rid of it.
He didn’t enjoy having sex with consenting partners, because they moved too much. While having sex with men he met at gay bars and bathhouses, he became frustrated with the way his partners moved during sex, so he started lacing their drinks with sedatives and raping them while they were unconscious. After several complaints from victims, Dahmer lost his membership at the bathhouses, so he just started renting hotel rooms to continue his disgusting behavior.
He tried to steal a corpse. According to The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough by Anne E. Schwartz, In 1986, Dahmer read an obituary in the newspaper for a recently deceased 18-year-old man, and later admitted to attempting to dig up his grave and steal his corpse, but the ground was too hard, so he quickly gave up.
He lied about masturbating in front of children, and claimed he was only peeing. In 1986, Dahmer was arrested for masturbating in front of two 12-year-old boys and charged with indecent exposure, but h claimed he was simply urinating, so the charge was changed to disorderly conduct.
Dahmer had a routine for how he lured, murdered, disposed of, and kept the bodies of his victims. For the most part, Dahmer followed the same procedure with his victims: He would lure them to his home with offers of money for sex, or money for private photoshoots. He would drug, rape, and kill his male victims (not always in that order), sever the limbs and head from the torso, remove the bones from the body by either using acid or by simply cutting the flesh from the bone, then he would dissolve all remaining flesh and dispose of it. Then, he would either smash the bones with a sledgehammer and scatter or discard of them. However, Dahmer almost always kept the skulls of his victims. According to The Journal Times, Dahmer stated, “It was my way of remembering their appearances; Their physical beauty. If I couldn’t keep them there with me, I could keep their skeletons.”
Dahmer sometimes preserved full body parts of victims. On some occasions, when he found particular victims exceptionally attractive, he would preserve their entire head, hands, penis, or other body parts in jars of solution.
Dahmer sometimes ate certain body parts of his victims. Dahmer mostly ate the hearts, biceps, livers, or parts of the flesh off the legs of his victims.
From the years of 1978 to 1991, Dahmer murdered 17 young boys and men, had sex with corpses, hoarded body parts, and ate others. The known names, ages, and dates of his victims include:
- Steven Hicks, 18 years old, June 18, 1978.
- Steven Tuomi, 25 years old, Nov 20, 1987.
- James Doxtator, 14 years old, Jan 16, 1988.
- Richard Guerrero, 22 years old, March 24, 1988.
- Anthony Sears, 24 years old, March 25, 1989.
- Raymond Smith, 32 years old, May 20, 1990.
- Edward Smith, 27 years old, June 1990.
- Ernist Miller, 22 years old, Sept, 1990.
- David Thomas, 22 years old, Sept 24, 1990.
- Curtis Straughter, 17 years old, Feb, 1991.
- Errol Lindsey, 19 years old, April 7, 1991.
- Tony Hughes, 31 years old, May 24, 1991.
- Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14 years old, May 26, 1991.
- Matt Turner, 20 years old, June 30, 1991.
- Jeremiah Weinberger, 23 years old, July 5, 1991.
- Oliver Lacy, 24 years old, July 15, 1991.
- Joseph Bradehaft, 25 years old, July 19, 1991.
He murdered three (but attempted to murder 4) victims in his grandmother’s home while he lived with her. Steven Tuomi, James Doxtator, and Richard Guerrero were all murdered and/or dismantled and disposed of at Dahmer’s grandmother’s house without her knowledge. On April 23, 1988, Dahmer attempted to lure another man to his grandmother’s home to murder him, but after drugging him, Dahmer’s grandmother called for him, and he realized that she probably saw him bring his company into the home. So, instead of killing him as intended, he waited until the man passed out from the drugs he gave him, and then Dahmer dropped him off at the nearest hospital. Dahmer’s grandmother unknowingly saved that man’s life. His grandmother ended up kicking him out of her house for a short time because she was tired of the late night male visitors constantly coming into her home, as well as the overwhelming foul smells coming from the basement and the garage, which she knew Dahmer was somehow responsible for.
He kept the head of one of his victims in his work locker. On March 25th, 1989, Dahmer drugged, raped, and murdered Anthony Sears. He found him to be exceptionally attractive. Sears was the first victim from whom Dahmer preserved the head and genitals in acetone, and stored in his locker while working at the chocolate factory.
He occasionally fucked up. In May of 1990, Dahmer accidentally drank the laced alcohol that was intended for his victim, knocking himself unconscious. The intended victim caught on to what had happened and robbed Dahmer of several items of clothing, Three hundred dollars, and a watch. Of course, Dahmer let it go and didn’t file a police report.
He regretted killing one victim. On Sept 24, 1990, Dahmer drugged, murdered, and posed 22-year-old David Thomas’ naked corpse and took Polaroid pictures. He realized he wasn’t actually even very attracted to him, so he just dismembered and disposed of the body, purposely not keeping any of the parts. Dahmers killings slowed down a little bit after that, He struggled to lure men to his apartment for a few months, and he had told his probation officer that he was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts during that time period.
He attempted to keep a couple of his victims living, but in a state of constant submission so he could have a sex slave. On April 7, 1991, Dahmer lured 19-year-old Errol Lindsey to his apartment, drugged him, drilled a hole into his skull, and poured hydrochloric acid into it in hopes of causing permanent damage to the brain, leaving the victim in a permanent submissive state. The victim woke and complained of a headache. Dahmer got irritated, strangled and decapitated the victim. He retained the head and attempted to experiment with the skin by trying to preserve it in salt and cold water. The experiment didn’t meet Dahmer’s standards, so he eventually disposed of the skin as well. On July 5th, 1991, Dahmer lured 23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger into his apartment. He drugged him, drilled a hole in his skull, and twice injected boiling water into his brain, putting him into a coma from which he died two days later.
Neighbors were constantly complaining of strange smells and sounds coming from Dahmer’s apartment. Dahmer stayed in Oxford Apartments, room 213, and by 1991, he had numerous complaints from fellow residents of the building, varying from disturbing smells, to strange sounds coming from his apartment. When confronted, Dahmer simply dismissed the smells of a “broken freezer and spoiled food”, as well as the death of several of his tropical fish in his aquarium.
A victim escaped, and the police literally walked the victim back to Dahmer’s apartment, to his death. The most disturbing fact is probably that in the last week of May 1991, Dahmer lured 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone to his apartment under the agreement of a photoshoot for money. Dahmer got his pictures from the boy, drugged him, drilled a hole into his skull, and injected hydrochloric acid into the frontal lobe of his brain. Dahmer then left the boy in the bedroom and went out to get more beer while he waited for his “experiment” to take effect. When Dahmer was walking back to his apartment, he saw the boy sitting naked on the street outside his apartment building, surrounded by 3 concerned women. Dahmer tried to charm them into letting him take the kid back to his apartment, but they refused and informed Dahmer that they had called the police. According to the New York Times, when the cops arrived, Dahmer charmed the cops into believing that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old boyfriend who drank too much. The women called Dahmer’s bullshit, but the cops told them to shut up and mind their own business. Dahmer further “verified” his story by bringing the cops into his apartment and showing them the photos he had taken of the boy just earlier that evening. If the officers weren’t so negligent and had actually paid attention to the overwhelmingly repulsive smell of Dahmer’s apartment, they would have found the decomposing body of Dahmer’s last victim (Tony Hughes) on the bedroom floor. Even a quick background check would have shown them that Dahmer was a registered sex offender. The cops simply did not do their job that night. They left the boy with Dahmer, and Dahmer ended up injecting another dosage of hydrochloric acid into the kid’s brain, killing him. Dahmer ended up calling off work the next day so he could properly dispose of the now two bodies in his apartment, from which he saved the skulls.
Dahmer’s apartment was described as a horrid museum, rather than a crime scene. On July 22, 1991, Dahmer lured 32-year-old Tracy Edwards to his apartment to pose for pictures for money. Edwards instantly noticed the horrid smell, and boxes of hydrochloric acid on the floor (which Dahmer claimed he used to clean bricks). Dahmer tried to distract Edwards with his fish tank he had displayed in the living room while he tried to handcuff Edwards’ hands together, but only managed to get the cuff around one wrist before Edwards pulled away. He told Dahmer he would only go through with the photoshoot arrangement if Dahmer put the cuffs away. Dahmer pulled out a knife and put his head against Edwards’ chest and told him he was going to eat his heart. By then, Edwards had figure out that Dahmer was a psycho, and he started charming him, telling him that they were friends and he wasn’t gonna go anywhere. When Dahmer let his guard down, Edwards punched him in the face and ran out of the apartment, straight to the police. He told the police about the weirdo who cuffed him and asked them to remove the handcuff. Of course, the police officers keys didn’t fit the brand of handcuff around Edwards’ wrist, so they had to escort him back to Dahmer’s apartment so he could unlock the cuffs. The officers investigated Dahmer’s bedside table to retrieve the key and discovered Dahmer’s collection of creepy polaroids of dismembered bodies in the drawer. Dahmer was pinned to the floor and arrested while the officers called for back up. The other officers opened the refrigerator and found the body parts that were still in there. Further investigation of his apartment revealed 4 severed heads in the kitchen, 7 skulls (some painted, some bleached) in the bedroom and in the closet, 2 human hearts and a portion of arm muscle in the refrigerator, and entire torso and a bag of human organs and flesh in the freezer. They also found 2 entire skeletons, a pair of severed hands, two severed and preserved penises, a mummified scalp, and 3 further dismembered torsos dissolving in the 57-gallon drum full of acid in Dahmer’s bedroom. They also found 74 Polaroid pictures of dismembered bodies. The chief medical examiner stated that “It was more like dismantling someone’s museum, rather than an actual crime scene.”
He knew better than to even bother getting a lawyer. On July 23, 1991, Dahmer waived his right to have a lawyer present throughout his interrogations, and readily admitted to having murdered 16 young men in Wisconsin since 1987, and one man (Steven Hicks) in Ohio, 1978.
He couldn’t plead insanity. Although diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder, he was found to be legally sane at his trial. He was fully aware of what he was doing when he did all of it.
Over the years, all of his acquired convictions included murder, child molestation, Indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication.
Dahmer kept his sense of humor, even in prison. According to CNN, a former prison guard minister, Roy Ratcliff, said Dahmer would tell the guards, “I bite,” just to get a reaction out of him. He would also shape prison food into replicas of human limbs, cover them in ketchup to imitate blood, and hide them around the prison for other inmates to find.
His sense of humor got him killed. Dahmer died on November 28, 1994, at the Columbia Correctional Institution, in Portage, Wisconsin, due to head trauma inflicted by another inmate who beat him to death. According to an interview with CNN, Christopher Scarver, the man who beat him to death, says he did it because Dahmer’s sense of humor made him uncomfortable. Scarver kept a newspaper clipping detailing all of Dahmer’s crimes in his room, and he was disgusted by his lack of remorse for his actions. Scarver murdered Dahmer in the prison bathroom by hitting him twice in the head with a metal bar he had smuggled under his clothes from the weight room. Dahmer was cremated, his ashes shared between his mother and father.