Jeffrey Dahmer was born on the 21st of May 1960 and died on the 28th of November 1994.He was a sex offender and a serial killer in the United States of America who went on a killing spree between 1978 and 1991 killing seventeen boys and men in the process. His atrocious murders were repulsive to the society as they included cannibalism, necrophilia, dismemberment and rape (Schwartz, 1992). His father, Lionel Dahmer, worked as an analytical chemist. His mother, Joyce Annette, is said to have had a difficul pregnancy when carrying him to term. The pregnancy was complicated by the fact that the mother was suffering from dysphonia, anxiety and nausea and she relied on prescribed tranquilizers. In his memoir, “A Father’s Story”, Lionel Dahmer describes his son as having had a posture that made him appear rigid, a motionless mouth and emotionless facial expressionless with a specialty in avoiding eye contact (Norris, 2007).His younger brother and only sibling, David, was born seven years after him.
Jeffrey was a prolific necrophiliac serial killer. The main reason for killing his victims was to make it impossible for them to leave him. He was afraid of being left alone and ate his victims to make them a part of him. Unlike most serial killers who are sadists and enjoy invoking fear in their victims, Dahmer killed because he suffered from an innate fear of abandonment. His main objective was to possess and control his victims so that they could stay with him forever (Tithecott, 2010). Serial killers like Jeffrey use their victims as the objects to fulfill their deepest desires and fantasies. Killing is like a drug to them as it gives them a high. Once they are done with a victim, the “high” drives them to do it again with another victim.
Jeffrey was a happy child in his formative years until he turned 6 when a minor surgery was done to remove a double hernia and changed him forever. He began to lack self-confidence and became insular. His father was transferred and the family had to move from Iowa to Ohio. The change of residence only served to intensify the insecurities that Jeffrey was already suffering from(Baumann, 1991).When he reached the age of ten years, Jeffrey became reclusive and withdrawn and showed minimum interest in social interactions or hobbies(Schwartz, 1992). He started cycling around the neighborhood looking for dead animals, which he would later dissect at home or in the surroundings. In one instance he butchered a dog and put its head in a barrel.
He schooled at Revere High school where he was treated as an outcast due to his odd behavior and demeanor. He was socially inept and emotionally disconnected from the rest of his peers at the school. He began drinking in high school and by the time he graduated he was already an alcoholic (Norris, 2007).
His parents divorced in 1977 and Jeffrey stayed with his mother. He was enrolled at the Ohio State University, but skipped most of his classes and dropped out within the first year. He was drunk for most of the semester. After he dropped out, his father compelled him to enlist in the army (Baumann, 1991). He was successful at first, but after two years he had to be expelled due to alcoholism. Upon his discharge from the army in 1981, he was given a free plane ticket to any part of the country that he would have liked to go. He feared going home because he could not face the livid rage of his father. He, therefore, chose to head to Miami Beach Florida. Due to excessive drinking he soon ran out of money, thus, had no option, but to go back home where he continued with heavy drinking. In 1981 he was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct (Fersch, 2005).
Jeffrey Dahmer moved to West Allis in 1982 to live with his grandmother. He lived with her for a period of six years. During his stay with her, his behavior did not improve; it deteriorated and became stranger and more peculiar. In one incident he stole a fully dressed male mannequin from a store and started sleeping with it (Schwartz, 1992). On another occasion, his grandmother discovered a 357 magnum gun. He lived in a basement and terrible smells started coming from the basement. He explained to his father that the terrible smell was caused by a dead animal, which he had brought home and had dissolved in chemicals (Norris, 2007). In 1982 and in 1986 he was arrested for indecent exposure; in the latter incident Jeffrey had engaged in masturbation in front of two underage boys. By 1988, his grandmother had had enough of him because he used to come very late at night and she could not comprehend his strange behavior.
He moved to his own apartment in the West side of Milwaukee where he was closer to his workplace at a chocolate factory. After living for just one day in his apartment he was arrested for sexually fondling and drugging a thirteen year old boy (Fischer, 2009). He was sentenced to work for one year in a work release camp and was sentenced to probation for five years. He was also ordered to register as a sexual offender. At the work release program Dahmer performed his duties excellently and was released two months before he served the full term. After doing his time, Dagmer moved into another apartment and began his infamous spree of murders.
Dahmer had committed his first murder in 1978 when he was 18 (Baumann, 1991). He had ensured that he was alone in their house, since his father had gone on a business trip and his mother had moved out with his younger brother. He picked up Stephen Hicks, a hitchhiker, and offered to have a beer in the house with the eventual plan of having sex with him (Baumann, 1991). When Stephen Hicks attempted to leave he was bludgeoned to death at the back of the head. Dahmer said he killed Stephen Hicks because Hicks wanted to leave and he didn’t want him to. After killing Hicks, he buried him in the backyard (Norris, 2007). It took nine years before Jeffrey Dahmer attacked another victim. He struck again in 1987 having picked up a 26 year old man in a gay bar (Fersch, 2005). He killed him impulsively and claimed later that he did not remember killing him, as he had no memory of the incidence. He then murdered two more victims in 1988. In 1989, he committed another murder. He usually picked his victims at gay bars, had sexual intercourse with them; and then embarked on killing them afterwards. He kept the skulls of his victims as souvenirs and when he was arrested he was found with the skull of one of his victims called Anthony Sears (Tithecott, 2010).
The pace of his killing increased in his new apartment as he committed four more murders in 1990, and three more in 1991. In May 1991 Konerak Sinthasomphone, a 14 year old brother to the boy Jeffrey Dahmer had been arrested for molesting in1988,was found wondering in the street heavily drugged and bleeding from the rectum(Norris, 2007).Two women who were dazed by the boy called 911 and police officers were dispatched to pick the boy. Jeffrey Dahmer arrived at the scene and lied to the police officers that Konerak was his boyfriend and that he was in the pathetic state because they had had an argument while drinking (Tithecott, 2010). The two women protested and said he was a fourteen year old boy from the neighborhood who could not speak English. The officers ignored the protests of the two women and fell for Jeffrey Dahmer’s ploy without bothering to find out whether the boy was a minor. At Dahmer’s apartment, the police reported smelling a strange odor, but they did not conduct any investigations. Had they investigated, they would have discovered the body of a previous victim by the name Tony Hughes decomposing in one of the rooms. The police officers did not bother locating someone who would have communicated with Konorak, neither did they bother to run a background check on Jeffrey Dahmer which would have revealed that he was a perpetual child offender. That night Dahmer killed and dismembered Kroner Sinthasomphone and, by his tradition, kept the skull as a souvenir. It was a tragic incident because the police had had a chance to save the minor, but had been very negligent (Fischer, 2009).
Dahmer was murdering approximately one victim per week by 1991 summer. On June 30th, he killed Mart Turner; on July 5th, he killed Jeremiah Weinberger; on July 12th, he killed Oliver Lacy; and on 19th July he killed Joseph Brandehoft (Tithecott, 2010). Dahmer enjoyed turning his victims into zombies by making them submit totally and turning them into eternally vigil sexual partners. Residents of the apartment complex were becoming concerned about the pungent smells coming from Dahmer’s apartment and the sound of falling objects. Jeffrey Dahmer was a unique serial killer in that while most serial killers concentrate on women and members of specific racial groups; he concentrated on boys and gay men from diverse races (Fersch, 2005).
The curtain closed on Jeffrey Dahmer on the 22nd of July 1991(Schwartz, 1992). He lured Tracy Edwards into his house. He tried to handcuff him, but Tracy Edwards was too strong and resisted. Frustrated, Dahmer wielded a butcher knife and brandished it at Edwards ordering him to enter the bedroom. In the bedroom, Edwards was shocked by pictures of several dismembered bodies that were hanging on the wall. He noticed that there was a terrible stench coming from a large barrel. Upon peeping he discovered that the barrel was full of acid, which dissolved the bodies into sludge that was disposed through the toilet drainage system (Baumann, 1991). Tracy Edwards caught Jeffrey unawares, kicked him and escaped from the apartment. He ran through the streets and waved a police car which fortunately had two police officers from the Milwaukee police department.
Edward led the officers back to the apartment where Jeffrey Dahmer was very friendly towards them. Edward remembered that the butcher knife which Dahmer had used to threaten him was still in the bedroom and alerted the officers. Upon seeing the dismembered bodies, one police officer urged the other one to arrest Dahmer without further ado. The officer subdued Dahmer when the other searched the house (Norris, 2007). He opened the refrigerator and to his shock, he found a human head. They were more human remains in the refrigerator and a further search of the house revealed more pictures of dismembered bodies, penises, and more severed hands (Norris, 2007). The story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest and the stock found in his apartments spread like wildfire and gripped the world. More corpses stored in acid-filled barrels and human skulls were found in the apartment. A heart was later found in the refrigerator. It soon became apparent that Jeffrey Dahmer had practiced cannibalism and necrophilia.
Jeffrey Dahmer was charged with seventeen counts of murder, but was indicted on fifteen counts. The trial commenced on January30th, 1992. As the evidences were against him, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity (Fersch, 2005). The trial took only two weeks; the court found that he was sane and guilty of 15 counts of murder. He was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment, which amounted to 957 years in prison. It was the maximum penalty available, since the state of Wisconsin had abolished the death penalty in 1853. Upon being sentenced, Dahmer was remorseful for his actions and wished to die. He was later extradited to Ohio where he pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephen Victims, his first victim (Schwartz, 1992). He was incarcerated at The Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin where he was baptized and became Christian. Psychiatrists diagnosed him to be suffering from antisocial personality and schizotypal personality disorders (Tithecott, 2010). In prison he was attacked twice by fellow inmates. During the first attack in 1994 Dahmer was going back to his cell after coming from a chapel service when a colleague attempted to lacerate his throat with a razor blade. He survived and only had to nurse superficial bruises and wounds. The second attack was fatal and led to his death. He was attending to janitorial duties in the prison gym together with Jesse Anderson, another inmate, when their colleague Christopher Scarver attacked them with a metal bar that he had removed from the prisoner weight room (Fischer, 2009). Jesse Anderson died two days later while Jeffrey Dahmer died in an ambulance on his way to hospital. The cause of death was acute head trauma.
Psychological analysis revealed that Jeffrey Dahmer’s compulsions to murder and necrophilia began at the age of 14 due to the breakdown of this parents’ marriage and the acrimonious divorce that followed. The psychological trauma that he experienced during the period catalyzed his thoughts and fantasies and turned them into actions (Tithecott, 2010). Jeffrey Dahmer serial killing behavior cut across the realm of forensic sciences, cultural studies and humanities. The origins of his eccentric behavior can be studied from a neuropsychiatric and developmental perspective. Pervasive development disorders also known as autistic spectrum psychopathology may have contributed a significant role in turning Jeffrey Dahmer into a serial killer (Fischer, 2009).
Psychologists noted with interest that as a homosexual adult, Jeffrey Dahmer could approach other males in gay bars with relative ease, but he was unable to form an intimate or close relationship with any of them(Fersch, 2005). Since childhood, Dahmer had demonstrated that he was comfortable with routines and deeply disliked change in social and physical worlds which manifested as chronic social dread. As a child, Dahmer displayed an obsessive interest with dead bodies, bones, and bodily parts (Tithecott, 2010). His father had also played a role by introducing him to analytical chemistry particularly the nature and role played by corrosive acids. He dissolved animal flesh and was enthusiastic about the effect of seeing skeletons without flesh.
His obsession with necrophilia could be explained by the fact that he fancied an ideal sexual object which could comply with all his desires because it was not free (Tithecott, 2010). Dahmer was intelligent as he was able to explore the natural environment successfully, but failed in school and in college due to lack of interest in education. He was never diagnosed with schizophrenia, but a psychologist had diagnosed him as being delusional (Tithecott, 2010).
He suffered from low self-esteem, depressive thoughts and suicidal mentality and constantly had to take antidepressant medication. In the memoir, Jeffrey’s father confessed that he himself had suffered from intense shyness and had an interest in fire that developed into an interest in bombs. He was, however, able to overcome his handicap and directed his energies towards analytical chemistry. Jeffrey’s mother suffered from intermittent episodes of depression, mood liability and anxiety throughout her life (Norris, 2007). Psychiatrists speculate that his demeanor could have been genetic, but chances that Dahmer’s condition was hereditary are said to be very low.
Serial killer’s behavior can be traced to stressful events experienced during the early life cycle of a child development. Jeffrey Dahmer’s development phase was traumatic and unstable and largely contributed to his sexual serial homicidal behavior (Fischer, 2009). He suffered from Asperger’s disorder which is characterized by handicaps in social interaction and lack of reciprocal social behavior. He was interested in forcing others to join his activities rather than joining theirs (Fersch, 2005). He was also interested in eccentric repetitive anti-social activities which are a common characteristic of the disorder. His interests in animal body parts as a child and human body parts as an adult can be attributed to the disorder. The available information and history on Jeffrey Dahmer indicates that he suffered from Asperger’s disorder which contributed to his necrophiliac and homicidal behavior (Tithecott, 2010). The disorder also contributes to serial rape behavior and terroristic behaviors.