Jeffrey Dahmer ranks among the most notorious serial killers in American history, and for good reason. If killing seventeen men and boys wasn’t enough to bring him to the fore of the national consciousness, what he did after killing them certainly was.
Dahmer was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and, from the outside, had what appeared to be a normal childhood. However, buried inside him, was the buddings of a sociopath. He took an interest in the decomposition of animals, and even had his father teach him how to preserve animal bones by bleaching them. As his sexuality awakened, he began to fantasize about sexual dominance and later admitted he had devised a plan to knock unconscious a local male jogger he found attractive, and have his way sexually with his unconscious body. He put the plan in motion, lurking in some bushes along the man’s normal jogging route, with a baseball bat in hand. However, the man didn’t come by that day and the plan was shelved.
He committed his first murder at age 18, a hitchhiker he picked up and brought back to the family home in Bath Township, Ohio. He bludgeoned him to death and dismembered his corpse in the crawlspace, before burying the body parts in the backyard. Several weeks later he dug up the corpse and removed the flesh from the bones, before crushing the bones with a sledgehammer and scattering them in the woods.
After a semester at Ohio State University, where he mostly drank, he joined the U.S. Army. While stationed in Germany he raped several fellow soldiers. After returning from his service, he went to live with his grandmother near Milwaukee. Disturbing sexual incidents continued, including an arrest for indecent exposure. He began to frequent Milwaukee’s gay bathhouses and took to drugging his partners to have complete control over the encounters.
His second murder was committed in 1987 at the Ambassador Hotel, where he lured Steven Tuomi for a sexual encounter in which he drugged and raped him, He claims not to have intended to murder Tuomi, but after waking to his dead body, took it in a suitcase to his grandmother’s house where he dismembered the corpse to dispose of it.
He continued to murder, now actively seeking out victims. During this time, he was also convicted of sexual assault of a child, eventually being sentenced to five years probation and a year in prison. While awaiting trial, he turned a corner in his psychopathy with the murder of Anthony Sears in 1989, which was the first victim from whom Dahmer saved body parts (he used acetone to preserve his head and genitals).
In May 1990, he moved out of his grandmother’s house and into a one bedroom apartment at 924 North 25th St., Milwaukee. His murder and mutilation continued in the new setting, eventually moving to practicing necrophilia and consuming portions of the bodies. He murdered 12 individuals between then and July 22, 1991, when an intended victim, Tracy Edwards, was able to escape and flag down police officers. When they arrived at Dahmer’s apartment, he allowed them in. They soon found some of the Polaroid photos he took of his dismembered victims, and he was quickly placed under arrest.
Daher was charged with 15 counts of first degree murder. He admitted guilt, but a trial was held to determine if he suffered from a mental defect as his defense team claimed. The jury found him sane and he was sentenced to multiple life sentences. He was then extradited to Ohio to face charges for his first murder. He pleaded guilty and received a 16th life. Dahmer was killed in prison in 1994.
The Oxford Apartments building where Dahmer lived and committed his atrocities was razed to the ground in 1992. It remains an empty lot.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The vacant lot where the Oxford Apartments once stood, is located at 924 North 25th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.