Jeffrey Dahmer

The Milwaukee Cannibal


Family Life:

Jeffrey Dahmer was born on May 21st, 1960 after his mother suffered a difficult pregnancy period with him. She would undergo periods of epileptic symptoms, such as bulging eyes and her jaw would often go sideways and lock (Aggrawal, 2009). To counteract these seizures, Joyce would have to be administered morphine injections that have hypothesized to be the cause of Jeffrey’s behavioural abnormalities (Aggrawal, 2009). However, Jeffrey was raised with love and affection resulting in him growing up as a healthy, happy child with a bubbly personality (Bardsley, n.d). While he was a young child, Jeffrey loved stuffed bunnies, wooden blocks and his childhood pet, a dog named Frisky (Bardsley, n.d). He grew into a sophisticated, pleasant boy regardless of having a higher than normal amount of throat and ear infections (Bardsley, n.d).

When Jeffrey was still a young boy, he and his parents, Joyce and Lionel Dahmer, nursed an injured bird back to health and released it into the air (Bardsley, n.d). Lionel Dahmer said, “Jeff's eyes were wide and gleaming. It may have been the single, happiest moment of his life" (Bardsley, n.d). In 1962, the family moved to Iowa so that Lionel Dahmer could work on his Ph.D. at Iowa State (Bardsley, n.d). At the age of four, Jeffrey seemed thrilled by the bones of animals that his father pulled from under their house and he used to stick his hands in the piles, enjoying the brittle, cracking sounds they made (Bardsley, n.d).

It was soon discovered that Jeffrey needs to undergo surgery for a double hernia, yet after the successful operation, his father describes him as, “smaller, somehow more vulnerable, he grew more inward, sitting quietly for long periods, hardly stirring, his face oddly motionless" (Bardsley, n.d). In 1966, when Jeffrey was in grade 1, the family moved to Akron, Ohio while Joyce Dahmer was pregnant with Jeffrey’s brother, David. Due to the constant moving around, Jeffrey developed a reluctance to change as he needed to be in places that were familiar to him (Bardsley, n.d).

In 1968, Jeffrey was sexually molested by his neighbour, a boy, while he lived in Bath, Ohio (Aggrawal, 2009). His personality began to differ and he started to become extremely shy, uncommunicative, and distant. As a child, Jeffrey Dahmer showed sociopathic behaviour such as biking through the forest and collecting dead animals so that he could dissect them (Bardsley, n.d). In addition, Jeffrey killed his dog, mutilated it, and then mounted its head on a stake when he was done (National Museum of Crime & Punishment, 2014). At the age of 14, he reportedly began having homosexual feelings and compulsions of necrophilia (Jeffrey Dahmer Bibliography, n.d) . Another factor that could have contributed to the development of his psychopathic behaviour is the divorce of his parents in 1977, as they reportedly had a troubled relationship (Bardsley, n.d).

Adult Life:

During his late high school years, Jeffrey Dahmer’s only two interests were drinking and dissecting deceased animals. His generous abuse of alcohol escalated after high school, when he enrolled at Ohio State University, from where he dropped out due to chronic alcohol abuse (Casey et al. n.d). After this incident, his father made him enlist in the army where Jeffrey hoped to become a military policeman (Casey et al. n.d). However, he was assigned the position of a medical specialist in 1979 at the age of 18. In the same year, he was sent to Baumholder, West Germany to serve as a combat medic. While in West Germany, he was still drinking heavily and listened to Black Sabbath - an English rock band (Casey et al. n.d). In March of 1981, Jeffrey was discharged from the army due to their regulations against drinking and drug abuse (Casey et al. n.d). However, while Jeffrey was in West Germany, there had been five unsolved murders that had involved some sort of mutilation of the victims (Casey et al. n.d).

Jeffrey then moved to Miami at age 20 where he worked at Sunshine Subs in 1981 (Casey et al. n.d). On October 7th, 1981, Jeffrey was charged for disorderly conduct in his hotel room in Bath, Ohio (Casey et al. n.d). He then moved to West Allis, Wisconsin in 1982 to live with his grandmother. In August of 1982, at the Wisconsin State Fair, Jeffrey was arrested and charged for drunk and disorderly conduct (Casey et al. n.d). In 1983, Jeffrey got a job at Milwaukee Blood Plasma centre and while working there, Jeffrey admitted to taking a vile of blood and drinking it, but he never tried it again (Casey et al. n.d). Jeffrey then went on to work at Ambrosia Chocolate Co. in January of 1983, which was the only job he could hold for a long period of time.

On September 6th, 1986, Jeffrey was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior after masturbating in front of two 12-year-old boys (Casey et al. n.d). He was sentenced to one year probation which ended on March 20th, 1988 (Casey et al. n.d). Six months after his probation ended, he offered $50 to a 13 year old boy to pose nude as Jeffrey took two polaroid pictures of him, kissed his stomach and touched his penis (Casey et al. n.d). Jeffrey then continued to give the 13 year old male a drink laced with Halcion, a drug that induces drowsiness, however this pill did not put the boy to sleep therefore he was able to return home (Casey et al. n.d). The 13 year old was immediately rushed to the hospital once he was home. The police then arrested Jeffrey and searched his apartment, where they found enough evidence to charge him with exploitation of a child and second-degree assault (Casey et al. n.d). In the preliminary trial, Jeffrey pleaded innocent, but then later changed his plea to guilty which led to his 8 year sentence and was prohibited from any contact with children (Casey et al. n.d). After serving only 10 months of his 8 year sentence he was let out due to good behaviour and continued to work at Ambrosia until 1991, however he was fired for poor performance (Casey et al. n.d).

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Jeffrey passed out in Germany after getting drunk (Photo taken by colleague).

21 Patterns of Episodic Behaviour

  1. Chronic alcohol abuse: Jeffrey Dahmer was addicted to alcohol since his high school years. It eventually got him kicked out of the army because alcohol had become an absolute necessity for him and he was unable to inhibit himself from drinking it.
  2. Compulsivity: Jeffrey’s very first murder was based solely on a compulsive decisions considering the fact that he said that he loved Steven Hicks and never meant to hurt him. He claims that his actions at that moment were rash and impulsive.
  3. Extraordinary cruelty towards animals: Jeffrey Dahmer would dissect animals as a pastime activity and even continued to putting his own pet dogs head on a stick.
  4. Product of a difficult gestation for mother: Joyce Dahmer went through a great deal of trouble during her pregnancy with Jeffrey, as she suffered epileptic symptoms and often locked jaws. Some books and articles state that her body was rejecting the baby and the only way she could manage the pain was through the use of morphine.
  5. Hypersexuality and abnormal sexual behavior: The common pattern in all of Jeffrey Dahmer’s murders was intercourse. Sometimes it was performed before he killed them and/or after the murder. In addition, he stole a manikin from a department store, then masturbated with it until his grandma found it in his closet.
  6. Feelings of powerlessness or inadequacy: Jeffrey Dahmer felt extremely powerless in his life and that's why he would murder people first then use them in ways that pleased him. He also did not have the mental capacity to convince people to come along willingly with him all the time, therefore he would often drug them.
  7. Severe memory disorders: Jeffrey Dahmer has claimed that he does not at all remember killing Steven Tourmi and he only remembers waking up with blood in his mouth and Tourmi’s dead body. Also, severe memory disorders have shown a correlation with the inability to hold a job; the same in the case of Jeffrey Dahmer.
  8. Unhappy as a child: Jeffrey Dahmer reports not being happy during his childhood years and feeling as if he did not belong within the entire family. Teachers have reported him feeling neglected by his parents.

Jeffrey Dahmer's Murders

The murders that started it all:

Murder #1

In June of 1978, Jeffrey Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks and took him to his parents house where they got drunk and then had consensual intercourse. When Hicks attempted to leave, an upset Jeffrey delivered a fatal blow to his head with a barbell (Casey et al. n.d). The impulsive murder of Hicks caused Jeffrey to become extremely scared and confused about what to do. In order to bury the memory of this incident deep in his mind and to continue on normally with life, Jeffrey dismembered Hicks' body, using the tactics he acquired while mutilating animals, and then buried the pieces in his parents backyard. By acting out of compulsion, Jeffrey committed a sloppy murder because he was not aware of his actions and had never operated on a human body before (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #2

In September of 1987, Dahmer picked up 25-year-old white male, Steven Tourmi, at a gay bar called Club 219. The couple then proceeded to the Ambassador Hotel where they got drunk and passed out. Dahmer stated that when he woke up, he could not remember the previous night’s events and discovered that Tourmi was dead with blood coming out of his mouth (Casey et al. n.d). He then bought a suitcase and put Tourmi’s corpse in it. When he returned to his grandmother’s basement with the suitcase, Dahmer had sex with the corpse, masturbated on it, and sliced the flesh off of it. Similar to the murder of Hicks, Jeffrey dismembered the remains, put them into plastic bags, and discarded them at an unknown location (Casey et al. n.d).

These three murders, all consist of Dahmer using sleeping pills on his victims:

Murder #3

In January of 1988, Dahmer picked up young 14 year-old James Doxtator outside Club 219 and invited the boy back to his grandmother’s house enticing him by offering to pay him money if he posed nude for Dahmer (Casey et al. n.d). After taking nude pictures of Doxtator, watching videos together and having drinks at his grandma’s house, the two engaged in sex. Dahmer then dropped sleeping pills in the boys drink and strangled the boy in his sleep. He later dismembered the corpse with a knife, broke the bones with a sledgehammer, and threw the remains in the trash (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #5

In March of 1989, Dahmer met Anthony Sears, a 24 year old black male, at the gay bar “La Cage Aux Folles.” He offered Sears an opportunity to be photographed for money and Dahmer once again took his victim to his grandmother’s house where they had sex (Casey et al. n.d). After giving Sears a drink laced with sleeping pills. Dahmer strangled him to death, then continued to have sex with the corpse, and finally he dismembered the body. After decapitating the corpse, he boiled the head, removed the skin, painted the skull grey and kept it (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #13

In May of 1991, 14 year old Konerak Sinthasomphone was offered money by Dahmer and after returning home with the child, Jeffrey drugged him and committed oral sex upon the unconscious body (Casey et al. n.d). However, the child was able to stumble out of Dahmer’s apartment, bleeding from the anus, and was spotted by two girls who called the police. When the police interrogated Dahmer, the murderer lied and explained that Konerak is his 19 year old lover (Casey et al. n.d). He convinced the police officers so thoroughly that they did not perform any further investigation which led to Konerak being murdered and dismembered later, the skull taken by Dahmer (Casey et al. n.d).

The next 11 murders all consist of Dahmer being able to convince his targets to come home with him:

Murder #4

In March of 1988, Dahmer again picked up another victim, 25 year old Richard Guerrero, outside Club 219 and brought him back to his grandmothers house (Casey et al. n.d). They performed oral sex with each other, after which Dahmer drugged him and then strangled him to death. He had sex with the corpse, dismembered the body and threw it away (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #6

In June of 1990, Dahmer met Edward Smith, a 28 year old, at “The Phoenix Bar”. The two went to Dahmer’s apartment to have intercourse after which Smith was drugged and murdered in the same manner Anthony Sears was (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #7

In July of 1990, less than a month after the last murder, Dahmer met Raymond Smith, his 7th victim, at the Club 219. Smith was drugged, murdered, dismembered and Jeffrey kept his skull as he had done so with Anthony Spears’ (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #8

In September of 1990, 24 year old Earnest Miller was killed. Dahmer kept his entire skeleton as a souvenir. Dahmer also removed Miller’s biceps and then continued to eat them (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #10

In February of 1991, Dahmer and 19-year old Curtis Straughter performed oral sex upon each other. Straughter was then murdered and dismembered, and his skull was retained by Dahmer (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #11

In April of 1991,19-year old Errol Lindsey was drugged, strangled, and used for oral sex by Dahmer. Lindsey was then dismembered and Dahmer kept the skull as a souvenir (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #12

In May of 1991, Tony Hughes, a deaf and mute, was passed a note from Dahmer at a club. Routinely, Dahmer invited him back to his apartment for drinks and pornography, and then murdered Hughes, dismembering him in the process while keeping the skull (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #14

In June of 1991, Matt Turner, a 20 year old, was murdered and dismembered by Dahmer. They met at a Gay Pride parade. Turner’s skull was placed in the freezer (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #15

In July of 1991, 23 year old Jeremiah Weinberger met Dahmer at a nightclub after which he spent the night at Dahmer’s apartment. When Weinberger requested to leave the following day, Dahmer became angry and murdered and dismembered him. His head was also placed in the freezer (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #16

In July of 1991, 23 year old Oliver Lacy spent some time at Dahmer’s apartment, where they engaged in sexual activity and sensual body rubs. Like the others, Lacy was drugged, murdered, and dismembered and his heart and head were placed by Dahmer in his refrigerator (Casey et al. n.d).

Murder #17

In July of 1991, 25 year old homosexual male Joseph Bradehoft was Dahmer’s last victim. The two men had intercourse, and Bradehoft was subsequently drugged, murdered, and dismembered. His head was placed in the freezer and the rest of his body was stuffed in a barrel of acid (Casey et al. n.d).

There was only one case when Dahmer took pictures during the murder:

Murder 9

In September of 1990, 24 year old David Thomas, was murdered and dismembered by Dahmer. Dahmer took photographs of Thomas as he murdered him on his polaroid camera (Casey et al. n.d).

The contents of Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment

Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi or MO is latin for mode of operation or how a killer conducts their murders. A killer's MO can change and it often develops over multiple kills, showing the killer getting more precise and effective. In the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, his MO differed slightly between murders but stayed fairly consistent. He would either offer his victims money to pose nude, befriend them and bring them home for drinks or intercourse, or drug them at a bar and then bring them home. After getting the victim home, Jeffrey’s mode of operation did not differ much, he would strangle them, then continue on with his ritual of using the dead bodies in sexual manners, and then finally dismember them.

Dahmer's Signature

Jeffrey Dahmer’s signature includes:

  • Necrophilia

  • Always had some sort of sexual contact

  • Dismembered bodies post-mortem
  • Often times he took picture post-mortem to document his crimes

(Casey et al. n.d)

Dahmer's Final Attempt

In July of 1991, 31 year old, heterosexual Tracy Edwards, met Dahmer and went back to his apartment to have drinks. Dahmer handcuffed Edward’s wrist but did not restrain him properly allowing his victim to escape (Casey et al. n.d). Edwards notified the police, who visited an angry and resisting Dahmer who attempted to avoid further interrogation however the police conducted a search in his apartment and discovered the frozen organs Dahmer had been collecting and the barrel of dissolved human remains. The investigation led to Dahmer finally getting arrested (Casey et al. n.d).

Jeffrey Dahmer's Arrest and Trial

After entering the bedroom, the pictures of dead bodies and dismembered limbs compelled the officers to arrest Dahmer (Casey et al. n.d). Further investigation of Dahmer’s apartment led to the discovery of a severed head and other human remains in the refrigerator, three more severed heads in the apartment, and multiple photographs of victims and human remains (Casey et al. n.d). It was eventually predicted that Dahmer practiced necrophilia and cannibalism, which in turn happened to be true. A total of seven skulls were found in Dahmer’s apartment as well as a heart in the freezer (Casey et al. n.d).

After being indicted on 17 murder charges, the trial began on January 30, 1992 (Casey et al. n.d). Even though the evidence against him was absolutely overwhelming, Dahmer pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity (Casey et al. n.d). The trial only lasted two weeks and the court declared him sane and guilty on 15 counts of murder. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms, for a total of 957 years in prison. Post sentencing, Dahmer entered a guilty plea for the murder of his first victim, Stephen Hicks, and added a 16th life term to his sentence (Casey et al. n.d).


Jeffrey Dahmer, unlike most killers, grew up in a safe environment and with a loving family. However, over the course of his childhood, Dahmer’s personality developed negatively. His desires of necrophilia began at the young age of 14, his alcohol abuse began less than a year later. Most teenagers do not go through these problems and that is what sets Dahmer apart. Along with these developmental problems, came psychological problems which ultimately led him to a state of mind where killing was all he was capable of.


Hedonistic serial killers, murderers who enjoy the thrill of killing, are the most common type of serial killers. Jeffrey Dahmer is considered to be one of the most infamous lust-oriented hedonistic serial killers of all time (Victims of Violence, 2011). A lust-oriented hedonist is a sexual predator whose fantasies play a major role in the killings. In addition, their satisfaction often comes from necrophilia, the amount of torture they perform, and mutilation that they inflict on the victims (Victims of Violence, 2011). Jeffrey Dahmer, while killing 17 men and boys, was in search of his eternal lover. His murders involved rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism (Victims of Violence, 2011). The reason he ate some of his victims were so that a part of them would stay with him forever.

Biological and Sociological Theories

The rational choice and deterrence theory applies to Jeffrey Dahmer. This sociological theory applies to who make calculated choices and commit crimes for the thrill or excitement. Even if they get caught, they do not think that the punishment is as severe at it seems. This theory applies to Dahmer as he is a hedonistic killer, a killer who is stimulated by the thrill of committing his chosen crime of murder.

The neuropsychological theory also applies to Jeffrey Dahmer. This theory argues that certain neurological dysfunctions are connected to criminal activity. Dahmer’s impaired personality led to his absurd sexual development and the loss of social control that could have prevented him from committing his crimes (Strubel, 2007). Due to impaired neurological development in the frontal lobe of his brain, Dahmer’s decision making process was not as controlled or justified therefore he was unable to restrain himself from murdering 17 people and inflicting inhumane procedures upon them (Strubel, 2007).

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Jeffrey Dahmer claimed to have found religion and was rehabilitated, and told this to interviewers while still in prison

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Jeffrey Dahmer died on November 28, 1994, when he was attacked by a fellow inmate

Work Cited

  1. "9 Early Warning Signs for Serial Killers."Crime Blog:. National Museum of Crime & Punishment, 22 June 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

  2. Aggrawal, Anil. "Case Studies." Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC, 2009. 127. Print.

  3. Bardsley, Marilyn. "Jeffrey Dahmer." A Happy Little Boy — — Crime Library. Turner Entertainment Networks. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

  4. Casey, Et Al., Valerie. "Dahmer, Jeff."Dahmer, Jeff. Radford University. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. < 405/serial killers/Dahmer, Jeff.htm>.

  5. "Research - Serial Killers." Victims of Violence. Department of Justice Canada, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. < option=com_content&task=view&id=362&Itemid=52>.

  6. Strubel, Abigail. "Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment." Jeffrey Dahmer: His Complicated, Comorbid Psychopathologies and Treatment Implications. 1st ed. Vol. 5. New York: New School Psychology Bulletin, 2007. 48. Print.


  • Aggrawal, Anil. "Case Studies." Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC, 2009. 127. Print.

  • Strubel, Abigail. "Dahmer Psychopathology and Treatment." Jeffrey Dahmer: His Complicated, Comorbid Psychopathologies and Treatment Implications. 1st ed. Vol. 5. New York: New School Psychology Bulletin, 2007. 48. Print.