Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 21, 1960. Growing up, few could have predicted that Dahmer would become one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history. However, by his arrest in 1991, Dahmer had committed the brutal murders of 17 young men and boys. His gruesome crimes shocked the nation and earned him the nickname the “Milwaukee Cannibal.”
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Quick Facts About Jeffrey Dahmer
|Name:||Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer|
|Relationship Status:||Never Married|
|Nick Name:||Milwaukee Cannibal|
|Date of Birth:||May 21, 1960|
|Net Worth:||Information not publicly available|
|Occupation:||Chocolate Factory Worker | Criminal|
|Death date:||November 28, 1994|
Jeffrey’s Early Life and Childhood
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born at Evangelical Deaconess Hospital in Milwaukee to parents Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. He was an unusually timid and quiet child who became fascinated with dead animals at a young age. Some psychologists believe Dahmer may have been affected by his mother’s frequent mental health crises and his father’s long work hours during his formative years.
Dahmer became increasingly secluded and uncommunicative in his early teens. His parents divorced in 1978 when Jeffrey was 18 years old. After high school, Dahmer enrolled in Ohio State University but dropped out after just one quarter due to his alcoholism. His compulsions were building, soon leading him to commit his first murder.
How Has Jeffrey Dahmer’s Legacy Impacted Society?
Jeffrey Dahmer’s life and crimes continue to fascinate and horrify people worldwide. His story has inspired numerous documentaries, movies, and books. The public’s interest in Dahmer’s psyche and the way he was able to commit such heinous acts underscore the human fascination with evil. It also raises questions about mental health, the criminal justice system, and societal attitudes toward crime and punishment.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s First Killing
In 1978, just three weeks after his high school graduation, Jeffrey Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks. He took Hicks home, where the two drank alcohol and had sex before Dahmer bludgeoned Hicks to death with a 10 lb. dumbbell. He then buried the body behind his house.
This first gruesome murder set the pattern for the serial killings Dahmer would continue to commit throughout the 1980s until his arrest in 1991. His victims were primarily young men of color or those living on the fringes of society, making them unlikely to be missed or eagerly searched for by authorities if they disappeared.
Murder Spree Continues in Milwaukee
After time in the army and a brief stint in Ohio, Dahmer returned to his hometown of Milwaukee in 1988. He moved into an apartment on Milwaukee’s North Side, close to many gay bars and bathhouses. Here, Dahmer would lure his victims by promising to pay young men to come home with him for sex or to take nude photos.
Once in his apartment, Dahmer would drug, strangle, and dismember his victims. He would keep their skulls and genitals as souvenirs and photograph the bodies at each stage of mutilation. Dahmer also admitted to cannibalism and necrophilia with several of the victims.
Over the 13 years between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer killed 17 young men and boys aged 14 to 33. His victims included:
- Steven Hicks, 18 (1978)
- Steven Tuomi, 26 (1987)
- Jamie Doxtator, 14 (1988)
- Richard Guerrero, 22 (1988)
- Anthony Sears, 26 (1989)
- Raymond Smith, 33 (1990)
- Edward Smith, 27 (1990)
- Ernest Miller, 22 (1990)
- David Thomas, 22 (1990)
- Curtis Straughter, 19 (1991)
- Errol Lindsey, 19 (1991)
- Tony Hughes, 31 (1991)
- Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14 (1991)
- Matt Turner, 20 (1991)
- Jeremiah Weinberger, 23 (1991)
- Oliver Lacy, 23 (1991)
- Joseph Bradeholt, 25 (1991)
Arrest, Trial, and Imprisonment
Dahmer evaded arrest for an astoundingly long time due to gaps in communication between Milwaukee law enforcement agencies. However, when one of his victims managed to escape and alert the police in 1991, Dahmer was finally apprehended. Investigators found horrifying evidence in Dahmer’s apartment, including preserved human remains and photos of victims. Dahmer readily confessed to having murdered 17 people since 1978.
In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer stood trial in Milwaukee for 15 counts of murder. He pleaded guilty because of insanity. The jury rejected this defense and found Dahmer sane and guilty on all counts. Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms, totaling 957 years in prison. He spent his first year in solitary confinement due to concerns for his physical safety. In 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate while on work detail in the prison gym.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer’s twisted serial killings shocked America and the world when they came to light in 1991. His unthinkable crimes highlighted gaps in police coordination that allowed Dahmer to operate undetected for over a decade. Though Dahmer’s murders are among the most chilling in modern memory, his short and brutal life is a case study for forensic psychologists seeking to prevent similar tragedies. The Milwaukee Cannibal remains one of the most infamous killers of the 20th century.