Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer in the late 70’s throughout the early 90’s. What made him stand out from most serial killer’s was what he did to the bodies of his victims. During this research paper, I will cover his childhood life, what led to his lifestyle of killing and cannibalism and also the crimes that were committed during his murderous acts. I will also compare what theories relate to Jeffrey Dohmer and what could possibly be the reason why he did what he did.
Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee on May 21, 1960 with two loving parents by the name of Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. He seemed like an ordinary child until the age of six, when he had a minor surgery and also when his mother gave birth to his brother. This is when his self-confidence seemed to be lacking. He started to isolate himself from other people and became very anti-social. He went from an outgoing social child to a loner who was uncommunicative and withdrawn.
By his early teenage years, he seemed disengaged, tense and friendless (biography.com). In 1966, the Dahmer family moved to Bath, Ohio where Jeffrey’s insecurities continued to grow and his shyness kept him from making friends. Here is where he became fascinated with animals and started collecting road kill and stripping the animal’s carcasses and saving the bones (crime.about.com/od/serial/a/dahmer.htm). He began dissecting animals near his home in the woods on a regular basis.
High School/ Young Adulthood
Dahmer continued his anti-social behaviors throughout the start of his years at Revere High School. He maintained average grades and seemed to be a fairly normal teenager. He worked on the school newspaper but also developed a bad drinking problem. He was known as a model student, respectful, polite, and well groomed. Overtime, he became less interested in school and his social life really decreased. In the summer of 1978, Dahmer graduated from high school. His parents divorced just short of his 18th birthday. After high school Dahmer enrolled at Ohio State University and spent most of his time skipping classes and getting drunk. After a couple of semesters, he decided to drop out of college and to return home with his father. After an ultimatum was given to him by his father, he decided to join the Army. He signed up on a six year contract, but after two years he was discharged due to his drunken behaviors (crime.about.com/od/serial/a/dahmer.htm). Murder #1
Dahmer struggled with his own homosexual desires, mixed with his need to fulfill his appalling fantasies. His first murder was that of a hitchhiker he picked up. He was 19 year old Steven Hicks. He invited him to his father’s house in which they had some alcoholic drinks and then engaged in sex. Following their sexual acts, when Hicks was ready to leave, Dahmer bashed him in the head with a barbell and killed him. He cut up his victim’s body and placed it in garbage bags. He buried all Hicks body parts in the neighboring woods surrounding his father’s home.
It would be nine years later before committing his second murder. In this particular murder, some of the additional crimes committed against the victim are, false imprisonment and kidnapping. False imprisonment is when someone reasonably believes they are restricted from movement. Steven Hicks voluntarily went with Dahmer to his father’s house. But when Hicks was ready to leave, at the point before Dahmer bashed Hicks in the head, I believe he felt he was restricted to leave at that brief moment before being killed. He is also guilty of kidnapping because Hicks was restricted from leaving by Dahmer before the attack took place. Murder #2
Dahmer’s second murder occurred in September of 1987 when he picked up a 26 year old man by the name of Steven Tuomi at a bar. Dahmer claimed he killed him on impulse and later stated he had no memory of committing this crime. After this particular murder, Dahmer’s murderous rampage begins to occur sporadically. Two murders in 1988, another in 1989 and his method were consistent to picking up his victim’s at gay bars. He had sex with all of his victim’s before and sometimes after killing them.
Final Murder/ Arrest
In May of 1990, he moved out of his grandmother’s house and into the apartment that later became notorious for his killings. He committed four more murders before the end of 1990 and two more in April of 1991, and another in May of 1991 (answers.com). On May 27, 1991, 14 year old Konerak Sinthasomphone was seen on the street, wandering naked, obviously under the influence of drugs and bleeding heavily. Two females from the neighborhood spotted him and called 911. Dahmer approached and tried to convince the women he was ok and attempted to take the boy away. The women stopped him until police arrived. Dahmer told responding police the Konerak was his 19 year old boyfriend and they had an argument while drinking. The police were convinced of Dahmer’s story and they released the boy back to him against the two women’s will. Later that night, Dahmer killed and dismembered Konerak’s body and kept his skull as a souvenir (answers.com).
In this particular murder, Dahmer was also guilty of false imprisonment and kidnapping. The 14 year old boy Konerak was attempting to escape from Dahmer until he convinced the police that everything was ok and proceeded to take the drugged boy back with him. At this point kidnapping took place because Konerak was restricted from leaving when he was taken by Dahmer back to his place. False imprisonment also takes place because Konerak felt he could not leave from Dahmer’s captivity once he got hold of him again. The police in my opinion were guilty of Negligence by not further investigating the incident properly.
The legal Definition of Negligence is conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. In the summer of 1991, Dahmer was killing approximately one person per week. Dahmer came up with a theory that he could turn his victim’s into zombies. He attempted to accomplish this by drilling a hole in his victim’s head while their still alive and injecting hydrochloric acid into the frontal lobe area of their brains with a large syringe (answers.com). Surrounding neighbors of Dahmer constantly smelled bad odors coming from his residence. They also heard sounds such as drills or power saws.
Final Attempt/ Arrest
On July 22, 1991, Dahmer enticed another man into his home in attempt to make him another victim of his sick fantasies. Tracy Edwards was the name of the potential of Dahmer. There was a struggle between Dahmer and Edwards when Dahmer attempted to handcuff his wrist together. Dahmer had him at knife point and forced him into his bedroom. When Edwards saw the pictures of the mangled bodies on the walls and noticed the terrible smell coming from a large blue barrel. He punched Dahmer in the face, kicked him in the stomach, and ran out the door and escaped (Answers.com). He ran down the streets with handcuffs still hanging from one hand and waved down a patrol car.
The police were led to Dahmer’s house by Edwards. When police arrived, they saw the photographs of the mangled victim’s bodies and at this time Dahmer was placed under arrest. While investigating, police found a human head in the refrigerator and multiple pictures of severed body parts. Further searching continued and police found three additional severed heads, severed hands, penises, and multiple human remains. This was the breaking point at which the story of Jeffrey Dahmer gained notoriety (Answers.com).
This is when the public found out about accusations of his practicing necrophilia and cannibalism. Jeffrey Dahmer was indicted on 17 counts of murder and later reduced to 15. The attempt murder of Edwards was not tried in court. Dahmer’s trial began on January 30, 1992. The evidence against him was so incriminating, Dahmer plead not guilty due to reason of insanity. His trial lasted only 2 weeks and he was found guilty of 15 counts of murder and was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms. He expressed remorse for his acts and said he wished he was dead. In May of 1992, he was extradited to Ohio, where he pleaded guilty to the murder of his first victim, Stephen Hicks (Answers.com).
While Dahmer was serving his time at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, he was attacked on two different occasions by fellow prisoners. The first time was when he was returning from a church service. He survived that attack with superficial injuries. The second attack occurred when he was doing janitorial work in the prison gym, he and another inmate was attacked and severely beaten with a broomstick handle on November 28, 1994 by an inmate, Christopher Scarver. Dahmer died of severe head trauma while on his way to the hospital. Dahmer’s brain was then kept an examined for study purposes.
Internal factors that could have determined why he was subjective to commit such crime were his anti-social behavior. This behavior leads a person to more likely, lie, steal, assault others, and commit violent acts of crime. Anti-social behavior poses a great risk to a person’s physical and mental health. It also puts a person in a higher risk to use drugs, alcohol, and also very promiscuous behavior. Some external factors that could have subjected him to commit his violent acts were his relationships with the outside world. He felt alone and isolated from the outside world which made him want to have control over it by taking in victims and giving himself power over them. I don’t think there is a specific theory that can pinpoint why Jeffrey Dahmer did what he did. The only theory that I believe fits with his behaviors was the fact that he was anti-social and that’s what leads him in the direction he chose to go in. An anti-social person can lead them to a life of crime and violent behaviors.
The behavior of Jeffrey Dahmer did fall in this category and his actions that which a normal person would not do shows his anti-social behavior very likely played a big part in his decisions. Theories are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt but they do make sense to an extent and help lead us in the right direction to understand why people that commit crime do what they do. These theories are vital to learning and understanding because it can help a Criminologists determine why Criminal’s such as Jeffrey Dahmer do what they do. Jeffrey Dahmer seemed to have void inside of him that he needed to fill. He felt empowered and satisfied when he took in his victims killing and mutilating their bodies. He was sane because he planned and knew what he was doing when committing the acts and there was definitely intent.
Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most notorious serial killer’s today because of the way he went about his crimes. His victims’ families will be haunted by the actions taken by Dahmer. His actions were very disturbing and he needed to be removed from this earth. He is now dead and gone and people in the surrounding areas where he caused all that pain will no longer have to worry about him.