Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Wisconsin
, the son of a chemist. Initially raised in Wisconsin, his family moved to Ohio
when he was eight-years-old. An intelligent and normal child in his early youth, he began to withdraw from others when he was ten, and became increasingly fascinated with the carcasses of animals, which he would collect and dissect. By the time he entered high school he had begun drinking heavily, and was an alcoholic at the time of his graduation. In 1977 his parents divorced and his mother moved away, leaving Dahmer in the care of his father. The following year, Dahmer committed his first murder, bludgeoning a hitchhiker to death after the other man had attempted to leave. He buried the body in the backyard and successfully evaded police notice. His alcohol problems worsened, and though he gained acceptance to Ohio State University he dropped out, having attended almost none of his classes and spent most of his days drunk. His father forced him into the army
where he initially did well but soon sank back into his old ways, being discharged two years later in 1981 due to his alcoholism. He travelled to Miami Beach, Florida
, spending most of his time in a hospital and was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. In 1982 he travelled to Wisconsin to live with his grandmother. While living there his behaviour grew increasingly erratic; he stole a male mannequin and masturbated over it, began keeping a gun in his room, and was arrested twice for indecent exposure, once in 1982 and once in 1986.
Dahmer committed his second murder in 1987, an impulse killing that he claimed to be unable to remember. In 1988 he left his grandmother's house and found an apartment in Milwaukee. There he almost immediately found himself on the wrong side of the law: he was arrested the day after moving in for having drugged and fondled a young boy. He was sentenced to five years of probation and a year in a work camp for this offence, as well as being registered as a sex offender. After being paroled from the camp he moved back in with his grandmother. He killed three victims between 1988 and 1990, picking men up from gay bars and having sex with them before killing them. He left his grandmother's house again in May of 1990, and became more dedicated to murder, claiming four more victims by the end of that year. A further three were added to the body count by May of 1991, most notably a fourteen-year-old boy who had nearly escaped Dahmer's clutches only to be returned to the murderer by police who believed that the pair were gay lovers who had had an argument. At this point he began to develop the idea of creating "zombies" out of his victims, with the intention that these victims would be submissive sex slaves. To this end he attempted to inject hydrochloric acid or boiling water into the brains of victims, most of whom were still alive. Between May and July of 1991 he killed a further four men. Around this time, neighbours began to notice the noxious odours emanating from his apartment. Dahmer's downfall ultimately came in late July of 1991 when a prospective victim was able to overcome him and flee the apartment. This victim flagged down police officers, who accompanied the man to Dahmer's apartment. There they found a number of pictures of mangled bodies and, more damning, a human head in the refrigerator. He was arrested. After his arrest, human body parts were found throughout his house in various states of decomposition, as were photographs of victims and parts of victims.
Dahmer was indicted for fifteen cases of murder, though he had seventeen victims. His trial began in late January of 1992. He plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but was found to be both sane and guilty by the court, which sentenced him to fifteen life sentences, a total of slightly under 1000 years in prison. He was extradited to Ohio to stand trial for the murder of the hitchhiker, to which he plead guilty. He was incarcerated in Wisconsin, and was a model prisoner, declaring himself to be a born-again Christian sometime after his incarceration. On March 10th, 1994, the day John Wayne Gacy
was executed, he was being baptized. In July of 1994 he was attacked by a fellow inmate who attempted to slash Dahmer's throat with a razor blade; he sustained minor injuries. On November 28th, 1994 he was working in the prison gym when he was attacked by a fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver, who visciously beat Dahmer with a broom handle. Dahmer died of severe head trauma while on the way to the hospital; he was 34 years old.
In Other Media
As one of the most infamous American serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer has appeared in a number of films, televisions and books, most of them documentary or biographical in nature. Notable film appearances include the 1993 film Jeffrey Dahmer: The Secret Life
in which he is played by Carl Crew, the 2002 film Dahmer
in which he is played by Jeremy Renner, and the 2006 film Raising Jeffrey Dahmer
in which he is played by Rusty Sneary. He features in the book Zombie
, and appeared in an episode of the Discovery Channel's Most Evil