I was working the night Jeffrey Dahmer was discovered so the first part of this story will be told from my perspective as it unfolded.. I worked out
of District Seven at the time and was on the Late Shift (Midnight to 8:00AM). Our district bordered the Third District which is where Dahmer lived
and was arrested. I was still in my first year on the street and enjoying being a cop. Little did I know how the events of this night and the next days
would rock the department and the city for years.
We got out of roll call and were soon dispatched to a shooting at a local convenience store. When we arrived we found the clerk shot and soon he
expired from his wounds. The guys from homicide responded and we knew we would be tied up the rest of the night helping with the investigation.
Seven was a rough district back then so this was not out of the routine. What was strange was while at the scene, we started hearing talk that down
in Three they found a guy with a bunch of body parts in his refrigerator. Just passing talk and no one at the scene thought much of it as we had our
own killing to worry about.
After a couple of hours we went down to Homicide to file our paperwork. The buzz was all around downtown that some guy had got popped with a
head in the fridge. At the time everyone figured he was either robbing graves or had broken into a funeral home. As we were doing our paper work
one of the detectives interviewing Dahmer started coming out of the room and had the weirdest look on his face. The Detective, Pat Kennedy, was a
well respected member of the Homicide Unit and quite a character as I think you must be to do that type of work. The one thing I did know for sure is
it took a lot to shake these guys and he looked shook. Before we left to return to the district there word was this guy was talking about killing
multiple people, bodies in a vat of acid, and cannibalism.
On the way back we drove past the scene but it was a zoo with all the coppers and the media. By the time we got back to the station house,
everyone was talking about this thing. All kind of fantastic stories just like downtown. Knowing how cops pass a good rumor around and tend to fill
in facts they don't have, I kind of blew the whole thing off and left to go get some much needed sleep. Little did I know it was all true.
|The July 23, 1991 edition of the
Milwaukee Sentinel carries the first news
story of Dahmer's discovery but seemed
unaware of the scope of the discovery in
apartment 213. This was the morning
paper after Dahmer's arrest.
Dahmer's mugshot from the night of his arrest.
The infamous photo of Milwaukee Haz-Mat Team
members removing vat of acid and body parts from his
Interior photo of Dahmer's Apartment.
Police seal off Dahmer's Apartment.
|Soon headlines told of the
horror in Milwaukee.
Dahmer was born Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960 to a fundamentalist family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age eight, his family
moved to Bath, Ohio, near Akron. He was always painfully shy and suffered from low self-esteem. As a child he was molested by a neighbor. First
his father left the home. Then after a bitter divorce, his mother took his brother, and left Dahmer with his father. His parents weren’t speaking and
Dahmer didn’t even know how to contact his mother and brother. Dahmer’s history of abandonment left him with feelings of loss and rejection.
When young, Dahmer impaled the heads of animals he killed on stakes in his yard. He collected dead animals and had necrophilia desires. His
stepmother Shari Dahmer said, "When he was young, he liked to use acid to scrape the meat off dead animals." She recalled during the late 1980s,
an odor emanated from the basement and garage prompting Lionel, Jeffrey's father, a chemist, to investigate. He found "bones and the residue in
the containers." Jeffrey told him he stripped flesh from an animal he found. "
As a teen, he had fantasies of killing and mutilating men. After graduating from high school at age 17 he was left alone at home, without money, or
food and a broken refrigerator. It is believed by some that this experience, abandonment, and mental illness, gave him the justification he needed to
commit crimes. However his own history shows that he had serious problems long before this event.
His stepmother Shari Dahmer said he was a gentle person until he got drunk, then it took four policemen to hold him down.
In 1978, he committed his first murder in Bath Township, Ohio, at age 18. He killed a young hitchhiker, Stephen Hicks, he invited to his house,
where he killed him with a barbell, then smashed his bones with a hammer because he "didn't want him to leave." He wouldn't kill again for another
nine years. He did not do well in college. Encouraged by his father, he joined the military where he became an army medic. He was discharged for
drunkenness. Jeffrey lived in West Allis, Wisconsin with his grandmother for six years. Eventually he got a factory job in Milwaukee. He discovered
gay bars and picked up Steven Toumi, 24, his second victim in 1987.
In 1988, he was arrested for sexually fondling a 13-year old boy. He served 10 months incarcerated and was required to register as a sex offender.
His father would later write that when Jeffrey was convicted of child molestation, it hit him that he would "never be more than a liar, an alcoholic, a
thief, an exhibitionist, a molester of children."
"I could not imagine how he had become such a ruined soul. For the first time I no longer believed that my efforts and resources alone would be
enough to save my son. There was something missing in Jeff. We call it a 'conscience.' That had either died or had never been alive in the first
While Dahmer was on probation he checked in every month as required. His corrections officer never visited his home. A Wisconsin Department of
Corrections spokesperson said the requirement was waived due to a work overload.
Dahmer killed another 15 young men; by July 1991 he was claiming one victim a week. His fantasy was for a compliant sexual partner, and
necrophilia. Most of Dahmer's all male victims were minorities, usually African Americans. Dahmer was not really a racist, he chose predominantly
black and other minority victims because he lived in a predominantly ethnic area.
In gay bars, he offered young homosexual and bisexual males money to pose for photos or to watch videos and drink beer at his place. He drugged
victims into a deep sleep with spiked drinks before strangling or stabbing them to death, having anal sex with the cadaver, and then dismembering
them with a hacksaw. Their heads and genitalia were kept as trophies, biceps and other muscles were frozen for future consumption. Dahmer said
human flesh "tasted like beef." The remainder was boiled with chemicals and acids before being washed down the drains. He conducted lobotomies
on some victims and most died instantly. He poured acid into a hole drilled in his victim's skull and hoping the would victim live and functioned in
zombie state for several days, according to Dahmer.
The 13th of Dahmer's 17 victims was 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, a Laotian teenager, the older brother of the boy he was convicted of
molesting in 1988.
Two coppers from District 3, P.O. Robert Rauth and Rolf Mueller, were driving through Dahmer's neighborhood late on July 22, 1991, when they
saw a dazed black man with a single handcuff on his wrist. Tracy Edwards, 32, told them about watching a video with a "weird dude," and being
drugged, handcuffed, and threatened with a knife. He had fought back and escaped from the apartment. The cops had him take them to the
Dahmer answered the door and explained that he lost his job at a chocolate factory, (true), got drunk and lost his temper. When he went to get the
handcuff key to from his bedroom, a cop followed him in. The stench of death and rotting flesh was overwhelming. He spotted Polaroid photos of
dismembered bodies and skulls in a refrigerator. He went into the kitchen and the found refrigerator covered with Polaroids of mutilated men. He
froze when he opened the door. A human head sat on a refrigerator shelf. "There's a goddamn head in here," he screamed to his partner.
Dahmer fought back hard as they handcuffed him. Edwards recalled Dahmer’s threats to "cut out your heart and eat it." Three more heads and
human meat were in the freezer. Hands from several victims and a penis were in a stockpot in a close. Two boiled skulls painted grey were on a
bedroom closet shelf. Male genitalia were also found preserved in formaldehyde. A bottle of chloroform was found which had been used to drug the
victims. There were hundreds of photos of victims before, during the murders, and after death. There was an altar of candles and human skulls in
his closet. He planned to create a shrine using skulls, human trophies and a statue of a griffin he owned to honor evil. He said it would give him
"special powers and energies to help him socially and financially."
Dahmer told Detective Patrick Kennedy during questioning: "I have to question whether there is an evil force in the world and whether or not I have
been influenced by it. Although I am not sure if there is a God or if there is a Devil, I know that as of lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about both."
He was held for trial on a $1 million bond.
Dahmer admitted to his crimes. He made no excuses and blamed nobody but himself. Wisconsin does not have capital punishment. After being
charged with fifteen counts of murder, he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Beyond the sheer horror of his killings and gruesome
evidence found in his house, the public were stunned by the well-spoken seemingly intelligent man. On February 17, 1992, the court rejected his
insanity plea and sentenced Dahmer to fifteen consecutive life sentences, a minimum of 936 years. May 16, 1992, a consecutive life sentence was
added for a 1978 murder.
On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was murdered in a Portage, Wisconsin by another inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institute. Inmate
Christopher Scarver, a double murderer, beat Dahmer and inmate Jesse Anderson to death with a broom while all three were cleaning a bathroom.
Scarver said he was the "son of God” acting on his "father's" command to kill. Shortly before death, Dahmer was rebaptized into Christianity. His
father would not grant permission for his brain to be studied on religious grounds.
In 1996, the city of Milwaukee raised more than $400,000 to buy Dahmer's tools, photographs, and refrigerator and incinerated it all. The apartment
building was torn down.
Jun 1978 - Stephen Hicks
Sep 1987 - Steven Toumi
Oct 1987 - Jamie Doxtator
Mar 1988 - Richard Guerrero
Feb 1989 - Anthony Sears
Jun 1990 - Eddie Smith
Jul 1990 - Ricky Beeks
Sep 1990 - Ernest Miller
Sep 1990 - David Thomas
Feb 1991 - Curtis Straughter
Apr 1991 - Errol Lindsey
May 1991 - Tony Hughes
May 1991 - Konerak Sinthasomphone
Jun 1991 - Matt Turner
Jul 1991 - Jeremiah Weinberger
Jul 1991 - Oliver Lacy
Jul 1991 - Joseph Bradeholt
As with every horror beyond belief,
scapegoats were needed.
924 North 25th Street
Dahmer's apartment before and after those horible days in the early 1990's. The city leveled the
building after the investigation. A fenced off vacant lot now stands in its place.