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The Butcher of Milwaukee
Jeffery Dahmer, the Butcher of Milwaukee, is one of America’s most well known serial killers. Routinely, Dahmer would pick up men, usually from a gay bar, bring them back to his house, sedate them, and then murder them. However, he is distinguished mostly by his gruesome interactions with his victims after their deaths, particularly necrophilia, mutilation, and cannibalism of their bodies. The amount of forensic evidence found at his apartment is stifling, including the remains of 11 of his victims. Dahmer claimed responsibility for 17 murders, within the time range of 1978 and 1991.
Jeffery Dahmer was born to Joyce Annette and Lionel Herbert Dahmer, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 21, 1960. He led a pretty normal childhood, until the age of 10, when his parents noticed he began to become withdrawn from the world around him. Socially he was inept and was extremely shy and awkward. Upon their observations, his parents tried to force Jeffery into interaction with other children, but this did not aid him. Jeffery, however, took an interest in animals from an early age, and he lovingly took care of his family’s dog. In his teen years, however, he began to become intrigued with their inner-workings and took dead animals off the side of the road and dissected them in the forest behind his house in secret. Around the age of 14 or 15, Dahmer later claimed that he began to have sexual fantasies intermingled with his grim dissections of these animals.
His father believed his nature as a serial killer was a result of him going through puberty and developing his intrigue and love to kill simultaneously, eventually mixing together to create a sadistic love for murdering. As he got older, his fantasies grew stronger and more focused. He devised a plan to knock out a daily jogger and lie next to him. When the jogger did not show up the next day on his daily route, Dahmer decided not to attempt it a second time. For the most part Dahmer restrained his distorted fantasies, until the end of high school. When he entered high school he became an alcoholic and would frequently drink hard liquor throughout the day. During this time, Jeffery was caught in between his parents bickering and arguing and found refuge in the forest behind his house. To his classmates, Dahmer was the class clown, he was always acting out in wild mannered ways to gain attention. However, he was very polite and respectful to his elders. As the years went on, he began to become even more disconnected and remained closed off from everyone.
In 1978, his father and mother divorced, leaving Dahmer alone in their house. Just weeks after graduation, Jeffery picked up a hitch-hiker, named Steven Hick, off the side of the road and brought him to his parent’s empty home. There he and his new acquaintance hung out and drank beers for several hours, but the nature of Hick’s visit changed when he said he had to leave. Jeffery told him he did not want to be alone. He attacked him, knocking him out a blow to the head with a barbell, then strangled him. Dahmer had finally fulfilled his fantasy, but he realized he had to hide the evidence of his murder. He dismembered the body and put it into trash bags. On his way to dump the body, he was pulled over and questioned about the contents of the bag. He replied cooly that it was just regular garbage for the dump, and he was let go. He then decided to bury the bags behind the house. He returned a few years later, after his failed college career and short stint in the army, to the pulverize Hick’s bones with a sledge hammer and spread the fragments in the forest behind his house. Dahmer’s backyard seems to be the breeding ground for many of his first outlandish and sadistic experiments beginning in his early childhood through his teen years.
After his being discharged from the army for drunkenness he moved in with his grandmother near Milwaukee by the suggestion of his father because he thought it might help his alcoholism. His stay at his grandmother’s allowed him to become more free in how he spent his time. Dahmer discovered his urges for his new homosexual desires were too much to hold off by just attending church with his grandmother. Dahmer visited many gay bath houses where he gave men drinks laced with sleeping pills to make them submissive. This allowed Dahmer to fulfill a previous fantasy of his, his first plan to knock out a local jogger and lie next to him. Similarly he would lie next to these men’s unconscious bodies and listen to their heart beat. His practice of drugging men did not last long and he was thrown out of many bath houses.
Something changes in November of 1987, Dahmer picked up Steven Tuomi at a bar, brought him back to a hotel room and drugged him so that he would stay the night. Jeffery claimed that he had no memory whatsoever of killing Tuomi, but that he awoke with bruises all over his own arms and contusions on the chest of Tuomi. Upon closer observation he saw Tuomi was slumped over the side of the bed with blood on the side of his mouth. Dahmer purchased a large suitcase and stored the body inside. He brought the body back to his grandmother’s basement where he dismembered it. Dahmer later in an interview claimed that is when his inhuman obsession “went into full swing.” Shortly after this Dahmer picked up a 14 year old James Doxtator, who “hung around outside the gay bars, looking for relationships.” (TruTV) He drugged then proceeded to strangle the boy. He disposed of him similar to Hick’s body except he removed the skin from bones by acid, then smashed them. After killing Richard Guerrero and disposing of his body, his grandmother told him to move out as she had been disturbed by his late hours and the foul smells coming from the basement. Dahmer got an apartment on North 24th Street on Milwaukee’s west side, Dahmer was convicted on 2nd degree sexual assault charges and was required to spend his nights at a prison dormitory, after being convicted of the charges of offering a boy $50 to pose for nude pictures and fondling him. He killed another man named Anthony Sears, while awaiting sentence and kept some of his body parts, including his skull, until it as discovered in his apartment as evidence. After his serving only 10 months of his sentence, he was released by the order of the judge.
Then, Dahmer moved to North 25th Street also on Milwaukee’s west side. He continued his killing frenzy there, where he killed mainly African-American men (all but three were); these victims include Edward Smith, Ricky Lee Beeks, Ernest Miller, David Thomas, Curtis Straughter, Errol Lindsey, Anthony Hughes, Konerak Sinthasomphone, Matt Turner, Jeremiah Weinberger, Oliver Lacey, Joseph Bradehoft. As time went on Dahmer finalized his kill plan, he would strangle his victims, dismember them, dissolve their remains into a sludge, which he would dump down a drain. He would sometimes experiment with his victims body’s, trying several times to create as he called it “living zombies.” He tried to drill holes into the victim’s frontal lobe of their brain and inject it with various chemicals such as hydrochorlic acid. Dahmer also cannibalized some of his victim’s remains and conveyed this in many of his interviews, that he had once fried “a victim’s biceps in vegetable shortening and ate it (discovery.com).
Perhaps the most tragic of these victim’s stories was the story of Konerak Sinthasomphone, a 14 year old boy, who almost got away. The boy woke up from his drug induced sleep, while Dahmer went to buy more alcohol. Konerak stumbled outside naked and police were informed of what seemed to be an underaged boy wandering the streets in a daze. Dahmer somehow was able to lie his way out of his mistake by telling police that the boy was his gay lover and he even showed them Polaroid’s of the boy as proof of their relationship. The police unwilling to be bothered any longer with the supposed gay couple, accepted Dahmer’s lie that the boy was of age and just extremely intoxicated. After the police left, Dahmer strangled the boy and dissolved his body in a 57 gallon drum filled with acid.
In July 1991, Tracey Edwards ran into Dahmer whom he had seen around his neighborhood. Wilcox said that Dahmer appeared harmless quoting him, “Let’s get some girls and go down to the lake and have a party, I’ll buy the beer.” Wilcox took Dahmer up on his offer and followed Dahmer to his apartment, where he claimed he had to change his clothes. Right away Wilcox noticed the horrible stench coming from within Dahmer’s apartment, to which Dahmer agreed, claiming that he could barely stand it either. Dahmer drugged Wilcox by putting something in a rum and coke he had mixed for him.
Dahmer proceeded to threaten Wilcox life with a 12-inch butcher knife, if he did not do what he said. After Wilcox fighting for a very long time in an attempt to calm Dahmer down, he was able to punch and kick Dahmer leaving him stunned long enough for him to unlock the front door. Wilcox ran out of the apartment building and flagged down a passing police car, bringing them into the horror of Jeffery Dahmer’s lair, where they discovered 83 polaroids of bodies in various stages of decomposition. In the kitchen, they discovered four “fully in-fleshed skulls” in Dahmer’s freezer. Dahmer was finally caught. He spent 6 weeks with the detectives, recounting the murders of all 17 men. With the information from Dahmer’s confession, investigators went back to Bathe, Ohio, where they raked up the bones of Dahmer’s first victim, Steven Hicks. During their collection, the Milwaukee County Coroner started matching skulls and torsos, and informed the victims families.
Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane in court, and his sanity proved to be the main argued component of Dahmer’s case. His defense argued that his necrophilic drive, cause him to kill his victims. However Jeffery was found legally sane and was charged with the murder of 17 victims, serving his sentence in jail. Dahmer while spending his time in jail, was baptized. He later took complete blame for his murders, claiming that his atheism and his belief in evolution added to his disregard for human life. He believed that if he had found God earlier he would have been able to stop his terrible actions.
Many experts contemplate as to what caused the “destructive hostility” inside of Dahmer. The Milwaukee Medical examiner, in 1994, speculated that the killer’s behavior stemmed from some unconscious feeling of hate he had which was all “channeled into a sadistic programmed destruction of 17 young men.” A physiologist of W. Kahn Institute of Theoretical Psychiatry and Neuroscience speculated psychoanalytically that his sadism was linked to a that he would always be alone. Despite the speculations no one can truly know what drove Dahmer to do such inhuman monstrous acts such as these.