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The sweet little boy that became one of the most

despised  and feared men in the country.  The truth behind the cannibal.



Jeffrey Dahmer was born May 21st, 1960, the first child for Lionel and Joyce Dahmer, after a difficult pregnancy that had Joyce on various prescription drugs.

            Jeff and his little brother David were raised in Bath Township, Ohio.

            Unlike many other killers, Jeffreys parents were not abusive.  Joyce had some relatively mild psychological problems, but Lionel tried to be as loving a father as possible, struggling to reach his quiet and isolated son.

            As a small child, Jeff seemed happy enough, playing with his dog or riding his bike, but was fascinated with death.  When Lionel removed some animal bones from under the porch, the remains of small creatures killed by small local predators, Jeff seemed quite pleased by the sound they made dropping back into the bucket.  His father dismissed it as childhood curiosity.

            Jeff was the class clown, known for doing things as ridiculous as faking seizures for laughs.  In fact, he was lonely and isolated in school, with few friends.

            By high school, he was a full-blown alcoholic, drinking before, after, and even during class. 

When his parents divorced, his father was the one to move out of the house. When Jeff was 18, Joyce took David and left.  Jeffrey was alone in the house with little food and a broken refrigerator until his father and his new wife found out about the situation and moved into the house.

Trying to help his son, Lionel assisted Jeffrey get into the University of Ohio.  But it was already too lateJeff Dahmer made his first killing at age 17, when he picked up a hitchhiker , brought him home, murdered him, and scattered the bone fragments in the woods behind the Dahmer home.

When Jeff flunked out of college, a desperate Lionel took him to enlist in the army.  The ever docile Jeffrey went along with his fathers wishes as if he had no opinion of his own.

Alcohol got the young Dahmer discharged from the army while he was stationed in Germany.  He went to Florida, and tried to get a job.  When his money ran out, and he had nothing to fall back on, Jeff called his father.  Jeffrey was told that, no, he couldnt have any money, but he could have a plane ticket home.

Jeffrey was sent to Wisconsin to stay with his grandmother.  Things went well for a while, until Lionel got a call from his mother reporting a strange smell coming from the garage.  Jeff explained it as chemistry experiments on road kill.  Later, when Jeff had a gun, his father listened to his story about target shooting, but took the gun away.  A semi-lifeless Jeff gave it up with no fight.

When Jeff moved into his own apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his family saw it as a step towards independence.

Jeff began frequenting bath houses, slipping his companions sleeping pills so as to lie next to their unconscious bodies.  When he accidentally caused one man to overdose, putting him in the hospital for a week, Jeff was asked not to return.

Finally, victims who woke up again were not enough for Jeff.  His killing continued, this time drugging his victims with sleeping pills and strangling them before they woke up.  He tried not to cause unnecessary pain.

The police had their first real chance to catch him when they got a call from a confused young African American woman, reporting a young, naked, bleeding boy. 


When the police arrived, they found the young Laotian boy unable to answer any questions.  Dahmer arrived at the scene and calmly explained that he and the boy, who he claimed was 19, were gay lovers having a spat, and that the boy had had too much to drink.  The police escorted the boy back to Dahmers apartment and left.  The young man, actually 14, was forgotten.

Forgotten, that is, until another victim escaped.  This one found a cop car, and had a system clear enough of drugs to explain to the situation.  The man brought police back to the Oxford Apartments, where they found the horrors the whole world would soon come to know: entire human skeletons in the closet, human heads in a large freezer, human meat in the refrigerator, Polaroids of bodies various stages of dismemberment, and a vat of acid with decomposing body parts were among the items discovered.

Public outcry immediately erupted over police failures.  Many believed that since the first victim to escape, who fled while Dahmer was out buying beer, was not white, police did not investigate thoroughly.  That the caller was black did not help either, they thought.

Had the police done a background check on Dahmer, they would have found out that Dahmer was on parole for child molestation.  For molesting, in fact, the escaped boys older brother.

The public believed that because many of the victims were black, and many were gay, they did not receive high priority with the police.

The most gruesome facts of the Dahmer case spread quickly.  Not only was he a serial killer, he was a necrophiliac, and a cannibal.

At the end of his trial, Dahmer stated that I decided to go through with this trial for a number of reasons.  One of the reasons was to let the world know that these were not hate crimes.  I wanted the world, and Milwaukee, which I deeply hurt, to know the truth of what I did.  I didnt want unanswered questions.  All the questions have now been answered.  I wanted to find out just what it was [that] caused me to be so bad and evil, but most of all Mr. Boyle and I decided that maybe there was a way to tell the world that there are people out there with these disorders, maybe they can get some help before they end up hurt or hurting someone; I think the trial did that.  I take all the blame for what I did.  I hurt many people.

Jeff sat quietly while victims family members screamed at him.

On February 15th, 1992, for the 16 murders he was convicted of (Dahmer told of another, but there was no evidence), Dahmer was sentenced to 957 years in prison. 

While in prison, Jeff found religion, and was very excited about his baptism.  His religion lead him to a pain however, when he was attacked by a fellow prisoner in the prison chapel. 

Then, on November 28, 1994, Jeffrey was beaten to death by another inmate who claimed he was Jesus.  Dahmers body was cremated and after a legal battle over them, was split between his parents. 

The family of one victim sued the city and its police for $3 million for racism and negligence. 

Jeffrey Dahmers killer was a black man with severe mental illness who was brought to trial and convicted of the murder.

Dahmers will requested no funeral or services of any kind, almost as if he wished to be forgotten.

(references for passage and)
Recommended Reading:
Davis, Don. The Milwaukee Murders
    Bantam Books, New York. 1986
Dahmer, Lionel. A Father's Story
    William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York. 1994
Schwartz, Anne E. The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough
    Carol Publishing Group, New York.  1992
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