Jeffrey Dahmer

From Academic Kids

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer (May 21, 1960November 28, 1994) was an American serial killer who killed 17 men between 1978 and 1991 (with the majority of the murders occurring in 1991).

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Dahmer mugshot from the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department

Dahmer was born to a fundamentalist father in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age eight, his family moved to Bath, Ohio, near Akron. From his earliest youth he was extremely shy and, according to his father, was molested as a child by a neighbor. He collected dead animals and showed signs of necrophilia, but this was revealed only at his trial. He was also a closeted alcoholic and homosexual and suffered from extremely low self esteem. His parents divorced when he was in his teens. He committed his first murder at the age of 18, killing a young man he had invited to his house because Dahmer "didn't want him to leave." Later on he went to college but performed poorly. His father convinced him to join the military, and he appeared to recover some vitality as he became an army medic. Shortly after his military career, he began the string of murders that led to his arrest many years later.

Most of his victims were young, homosexual black men who Dahmer subjected to sexual assaults. His main goal was for a completely compliant sexual partner, essentially making necrophilia his motivation for killing. He achieved notoriety after his arrest, following the discovery of several decaying bodies in acid vats in his apartment. Severed heads were found in his refrigerator and an altar of candles and human skulls were found in his closet. Accusations soon surfaced that Dahmer had practiced necrophilia and cannibalism. Dahmer admitted to eating the biceps of his eighth victim, noting that human flesh "tasted like beef" to him.

The explanation offered by Dahmer himself for his behavior was that he was attempting to remove the free will from his victims so that they would stay with him forever. Dahmer had experimented with removing sections of his living victims' skulls and pouring various chemicals into their brain cavities to try to create lobotomized zombies compliant to his wishes to fulfill his sexual desires.

Dahmer had a history of abandonment and feared loss and rejection. After a bitter divorce, his mother left with his brother, leaving Dahmer behind on the assumption that his father would care for him. However, his father had previously left as well, refusing to speak with his wife, with each not knowing the other's whereabouts. Dahmer, at 17 having just graduated high school and without money, was left alone in a home with no food and a broken refrigerator. It is thought that these feelings of abandonment, filtered through his mental illness, created the internal logic that allowed him to justify his actions to himself. Parallels with the British serial killer Dennis Nilsen are often drawn.

Many people were outraged to learn that Milwaukee police returned one of Dahmer's naked, dazed, bleeding but yet still alive victims, Laotian teenager Konerak Sinthasomphone, to Dahmer after Konerak had managed to escape from his captor. Sinthasomphone did not speak English, and Dahmer convinced officers that the 14-year-old boy was his adult homosexual lover. Later that night, Dahmer dismembered Sinthasomphone and kept his skull as a souvenir. Coincidentally this was the older brother of the boy Dahmer molested in 1988, a crime for which he served one year in a low-security work-release camp. The two police officers who returned Sinthasomphone to Dahmer were terminated from the Milwaukee Police Department after their actions were widely publicized. The officers had never checked the boy's ID, had joked on the way back to the station about the "homosexual lovers" and about "getting deloused," and had not noticed the smell of the decaying body Dahmer had hidden in his apartment nor the drill holes already in Sinthasomphone's head. The two officers appealed this termination and were reinstated with back pay. The two officers were named officers of the year by the police union for fighting a "righteous" battle to regain their jobs.

On July 22, 1991, with handcuffs still attached to one wrist, another man, Tracy Edwards, was able to successfully escape from Dahmer's apartment and flag down a police squad car. Police were led back to Dahmer's apartment where the remains of eleven victims were found. Dahmer reportedly scuffled with police trying to arrest him as the remains were being discovered. After being charged with fifteen counts of murder, he entered a plea of guilty but insane. On February 17, 1992, a court rejected his plea of insanity and sentenced Dahmer to fifteen consecutive life sentences, which required a minimum of 936 years imprisonment. Wisconsin does not have capital punishment.

Dahmer served his time at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Portage, Wisconsin. While there, fellow inmate Christopher Scarver, a double murderer, beat Dahmer and another inmate, Jesse Anderson, to death with a broom in the prison while all three were on work detail cleaning a bathroom. Scarver stated that he was the "son of God" and was acting out his "father's" commands to kill Dahmer and the other inmate during cleaning duties. Some believe, however, that race played a role in Scarver's motivation. Most of Dahmer's victims were black, and Anderson had killed his wife and blamed it on a black man. Shortly before his death, Dahmer had been rebaptized into Christianity.

His father refused to grant permission for his son's brain to be studied for scientific purposes. Though willing to help the case study of his son in other ways, he declined this particular request on religious grounds. Dahmer's father wrote a book, A Father's Story, in 1994, about what he saw as his failure to reach his son, as well as the effect Dahmer's crimes had on his family.</p>

The movie Jeffrey Dahmer: The Secret Life was released in 1993, starring Carl Crew as Dahmer. In 2002, the biopic Dahmer, starring Jeremy Renner in the title role, premiered in Dahmer's hometown. The film, which portrayed Dahmer in a human, if not sympathetic, light, met with protest from the victims' families, and quickly went to video.

External links

fr:Jeffrey Dahmer nl:Jeffrey Dahmer sv:Jeffrey Dahmer

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