The serial killer that I chose to profile is Jeffery
Dahmer. Dahmer brings both horrifying, yet amazing qualities to the table in
the respect that he terrorized people, not only those that were his victims,
but also people that lived both near and those around the country.
Section I: Overview
- Jeffery Dahmer - Born on May 21, 1960, at Evangelical Hospital in
- Jeffery Dahmer was found beaten by fellow inmates on the morning of
November 28, 1994, as was pronounced dead at 9:11 a.m.
- Was given life imprisonment on 15 counts of murder committed in Wisconsin
and one committed in Ohio, for which he was tried separately. He was
sentenced to fifteen consecutive life terms for a total of 957 years in
- Jeffery Dahmer was always seen as very shy and isolated at an early age.
Dahmer had fantasies about killing men and having sex with the corpses.
Despite the early tendencies of his childhood, Dahmer didn’t act on any of
these sexual fantasies until after he had graduated from highschool in June
of 1978. Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker by the name of Steven Hicks, and
eventually Hicks would be the first victim of Dahmer. Dahmer then enrolled at
Ohio State University, only to flunk out within one semester. Next, Dahmer
joined the army at the end of 1978, but was discharged for alcoholism and
went to live in Florida before returning to Ohio. Dahmer was then arrested in
October of 1981 for drunken and disorderly conduct, so his father sent him to
live with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin. Dahmer had a couple of
sexual legal incidents, then kept cool for about four years. In 1987, Dahmer
killed his second victim, Steven Toumi, and would go on a ravenous murder
spree after that.
- Victims were mainly homosexual men, mostly African-American - Dahmer was
active from June 1978 to July 22, 1991
Section II: Childhood
Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960, to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. Dahmer was
wanted and loved despite Joyce’s problems in pregnancy. Dahmer was a normal,
healthy child that showed no signs of mental problems. When Dahmer was four,
Lionel was sweeping under the house for small animals that had been killed by
civets. As Lionel gathered the bones Dahmer was fascinated with the bones of
the dead animals. When Dahmer was six, he suffered from a double hernia and
needed surgery to correct the problem. After the surgery, Dahmer seemed to be
emotionally scarred by it. It seemed as if he had been exposed by this
surgery and couldn’t recover from it. By the time that Dahmer was in first
grade, Lionel started to notice a change in the personality of the young boy.
Dahmer had become very shy and showed a general lack of self-confidence. Jeff
had become distant, whereas he use to be a very outgoing and friendly boy. By
the age of fifteen, Jeff would ride around with plastic bags and collect the
remains of animals for his own personal cemetery. He would strip the flesh
from the bodies of dead animals that he had found. There is argument that he
loved to torture animals, but that is unlikely because of the love of his own
pets. The stripping of the dead animal’s flesh, but not any sort of harming
his own animals showed Dahmer’s fascination with dead creatures. Dahmer
became more introverted and isolated himself from the outside world. He was
overcome with fantasies that would result in the emphasis of dead people and
creatures as his main sexual desire.
Dahmer’s parents always had trouble in their marriage,
stemming mainly from Dahmer’s mother’s various physical ailments and her
ability to be high strung, which were likely to come from a background in
which her father’s alcoholism affected her greatly. Finally, these troubles
in the marriage ended with divorce when Dahmer was eighteen.
Section III: The Crimes and the Victims
In my opinion, Dahmer was a disorganized killer because he was guilty
of having most of the distinguishing qualities of that particular killer,
rather than that of an organized serial killer. Dahmer was below average
intelligence, low or average birth status, socially immature, and he seldom
dated. The victims were usually chosen because of their sexuality. Dahmer
would hang out in gay bars and just pick up on the homosexuals that would
inhabit them. It seems that Dahmer was particular to the African-American
race, but that did not hold true for all the cases. At the crime scene, there
were parts of bodies that were dismembered. Dahmer would lead the victims
back to his house, drug them, sexually assault the victims, and then
dismember them. Dahmer would use acid to take away the skin from the skulls
of the victims and then keep these skulls as trophies for his fantasies.
Dahmer would also dismember the bodies of the victims and keep them in his
apartment for safekeeping. When the police discovered Dahmer’s apartment, they
found, not only skulls kept as trophies, but also an entire industrial size
bin full of human bodies. They also found a human head in the refrigerator of
his apartment. When the police arrived at the scene of the crime they smelled
a very foul smell, which would be later learned to be the stench of the dead
bodies that had been decaying in his apartment. Dahmer had built a shrine to
himself to remind him of all the victims that he had killed.
Section IV: The Killer
Jeffery Dahmer was a local killer because all the murders that he
committed were in Milwaukee, and just one fell in the state of Ohio. As far
as being place-specific though, Dahmer seemed to feed on nightclubs,
especially the homosexual ones. Dahmer was a below average college student,
failing out his first semester as Ohio State University, and was also
incompetent in his military duties, being discharged for alcoholism. Dahmer
had a very distinct way of killing his victims as far as the overall setup
goes. Dahmer would usually go out to the night clubs in Milwaukee, bring a
young man home with him, and drug the man up so that he didn’t know what was
going on. Next, Dahmer would sexually assault the victim and dismember the
victim to either keep in a barrel, or acitize and put up on a shelf as a trophy.
It is rumored that Dahmer used a chainsaw to dismember his victims, but more
valid arguments claim that he used a knife in his bathtub.
Section V: Apprehension and Disposition
A couple of months after Dahmer had killed the fourteen year-old boy, Konerak,
two Milwaukee police officers were patrolling a very high crime scene near
Marquette University and they would be blown away at their findings. At about
midnight, the two officers sat in their squad car and observed an
African-American male with handcuffs on one of his wrists. The two police
officers, thinking that this man had more than likely escaped from another
police officer, approached the man for questioning. The man questioned, Tracy
Edwards, told of a "weird" man who had put cuffs on him and acted
in a very bizarre manner. The two police officers hesitated, wanting to stay
away from this homosexual affair, but proceeded to check out the situation.
Edwards led the officers to the Oxford apartments where a very calm and
rational Dahmer would answer the door. The officers questioned Dahmer about
the handcuffs, and he gladly went towards the bedroom to retrieve the key.
Edwards, remembering the knife in the bedroom that Dahmer had threatened him
with, alerted the officers and they proceeded into the bedroom before Dahmer.
The officers were shocked when they found not only photographs of dead men,
but also dismembered bodies, skulls, and a human head in the refrigerator.
Dahmer suddenly turned on one of the officers, but was taken down by the other.
Dahmer went to court and entered a plea of insanity which was prompted by his
lawyer, but the court was not in favor of this plea. Rather, Dahmer was
convicted and was sentenced to fifteen consecutive life terms for a total of
957 years in prison. Dahmer was paired up with two highly dangerous men on a
work detail and on the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to
death by these two men, when left alone to do their work.
Section VI: Assessment and Discussion
I think that Jeffery Dahmer best fits under the labeling theory. His
actions were warranted under the pretense that he committed the killings
because of a preexisting fault that he had committed. Dahmer was attracted to
the bones of dead animals at a very early age, and acted upon these feelings
in the violent fantasies that he committed. Dahmer was affected by the
divorce of his parents, his moving around, and the operation that he received
at an early age. Dahmer graduated from being fascinated by the decaying bones
of animals to the sexual, as well as violent fantasies, that led to the spree
of killings that he committed. I think that Dahmer had a very big problem
with the isolation that he faced at an early age in life. Dahmer saw that his
parents were never happy, and maybe that’s why he had homosexual tendencies.
Dahmer was continuously consumed with necrophilia, which is the fetish with
the dead. He not only collected the bodies of dead animals at an early age,
but also he had fantasies about killing people and then having sex with the
corpses. I think that you have to put Jeffery Dahmer in a class all his own,
because of the fascination that he had with the corpses, and the power that
they gave him once he had killed them. A lot of serial killers were more
worried about what would happen to them, and they would get rid of the bodies
of the people that they had just killed. Dahmer used his own body as a temple
to take control of the lives of the victims that he had. Dahmer was very
remorseful for the crimes that he had committed, and was very cooperative
with the authorities and with the families of his victims. This is not
usually seen as a common attribute among serial killers today.