Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer (May 21, 1960—November 28, 1994) was an American serial killer. Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys – most of whom were of African or Asian descent – between 1978 and 1991, with the majority of the murders occurring between 1987 and 1991. His murders were particularly gruesome, involving rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism.
Dahmer attended Ohio State University, but dropped out after two terms. Dahmer's father then forced him to enlist in the Army, where he was to serve for a six-year enlistment; he was discharged after two, due to his excessive drinking. When the Army discharged Dahmer in 1981, it provided him with a plane ticket to anywhere in the country. Dahmer told police he couldn't go home to face his father, so he headed to Miami Beach, Florida, because he was "tired of the cold." He spent most of his time there at a hospital but was kicked out shortly after for drinking.
In 1982, Dahmer moved in with his grandmother in West Allis, Wisconsin, where he lived for six years. In August of that year, he was arrested for exposing himself at a state fair. In September 1986, he was charged again with public exposure after two boys accused him of masturbating in public. This time he was sentenced to a year in prison, of which he served 10 months. In the summer of 1988, Dahmer's grandmother asked him to move out due to his late nights and foul smells from the basement. He then found an apartment on Milwaukee's West side. On September 25, 1988, he was arrested for sexually fondling a 13-year-old boy in Milwaukee, for which he served 10 months of a one year sentence in a work release camp. He was required to register as a sex offender. He convinced the judge that he needed therapy, and he was released with a five-year probation on good behavior. Shortly thereafter, he began a string of murders that would end with his arrest in 1991.
John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish, the two police officers who returned Sinthasomphone to Dahmer, were fired from the Milwaukee Police Department after their actions were widely publicized, including an audiotape of the officers making homophobic statements to their dispatcher and cracking jokes about having reunited the "lovers". The two officers appealed their termination and were reinstated with back pay. They were named officers of the year by the police union. Balcerzak would go on to be elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association in May 2005.
By the summer of 1991, Dahmer was murdering approximately one person each week. He killed Matt Turner, on June 30, Jeremiah Weinberger, on July 5, Oliver Lacy, on July 12, and finally Joseph Brandehoft, on July 18.
The story of Dahmer's arrest and the inventory in his apartment, which was apartment number 213, quickly gained notoriety: several corpses were stored in acid-filled vats, severed heads were found in his refrigerator, and implements for the construction of an altar of candles and human skulls were found in his closet. Accusations soon surfaced that Dahmer had practiced necrophilia, and cannibalism. In trial he confessed to attempting a form of trepanation in order to create so-called "zombies."
After attending a church service in the prison chapel, an inmate tried to slash Dahmer's throat with a razor blade. Dahmer escaped the incident with superficial wounds.
On November 28, 1994, Dahmer and another inmate named Jesse Anderson were beaten to death by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver with a bar from a weight machine while on work detail in the prison gym. Dahmer died from severe head trauma in the ambulance while en route to the hospital. Scarver described the deed as "the work of God."
Lionel Dahmer published a book in 1994, A Father's Story, and donated a portion of the proceeds from his book to the victims and their families. Most of the families showed support for Lionel Dahmer and his wife, Shari. He has retired and resides with his wife in Medina County, Ohio. He consults on the creation-evolution controversy occasionally, and his wife was a member of the board of the Medina County Ohio Horseman's Council. Both continue to carry the name Dahmer and say they love Jeffrey despite his crimes. Lionel Dahmer's first wife, Joyce (Flint), died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 64. She was later buried in Atlanta, Georgia. Dahmer's younger brother David changed his last name and lives in anonymity.
Dahmer's estate was awarded to the families of 11 of Dahmer's victims who had sued for damages. In 1996, Thomas Jacobson, the lawyer representing eight of the families, announced a planned auction of Dahmer's estate to raise up to $1 million, sparking controversy. A civic group, Milwaukee Civic Pride, was quickly established in an effort to raise the funds to purchase and destroy Dahmer's possessions. The group pledged $407,225 including a $100,000 gift by Milwaukee real estate developer Joseph Zilber for purchase of Dahmer's estate; five of the eight families represented by Jacobson agreed to the terms and Dahmer's possessions were destroyed. In January 2007, evidence surfaced potentially linking Dahmer to Adam Walsh's 1981 abduction and murder in Florida. Freelance writer Arthur Jay Harris began to investigate the case in 2002, finding evidence that suggested Dahmer was in the same mall where Adam was killed and may have had access to a blue van. His findings were supported by New Times columnist Bob Norman, who checked out the Harris investigation and also came to believe that Dahmer was the chief suspect. Most recently, ABC's Primetime featured the theory in a half-hour segment, airing Harris' findings to a national audience. However, Adam's father, John Walsh, believes that another serial killer, Ottis Toole, committed the crime. When interviewed about Adam Walsh in the early 1990s, Dahmer repeatedly denied involvement in the crime.
|Name||Age||Date of death|
|Stephen Hicks||19||June 6, 1978|
|Steven Tuomi||26||Sept. 15, 1987|
|Jamie Doxtator||14||Jan. 1988|
|Richard Guerrero||25||March 24, 1988|
|Anthony Sears||24||March 25, 1989|
|Eddie Smith||36||June 1990|
|Ricky Beeks||27||July 1990|
|Ernest Miller||22||September 1990|
|David Thomas||23||September 1990|
|Curtis Straughter||19||February 1991|
|Errol Lindsey||19||April 1991|
|Tony Hughes||31||May 24, 1991|
|Konerak Sinthasomphone||14||May 27, 1991|
|Matt Turner||20||June 30, 1991|
|Jeremiah Weinberger||23||July 5, 1991|
|Oliver Lacy||23||July 12, 1991|
|Joseph Bradehoft||25||July 19, 1991|
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