Who was Jeffrey Dahmer? Netflix series focuses on cannibal serial killer

·3-min read
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story premiered on Netflix on September 21  (Netflix)
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story premiered on Netflix on September 21 (Netflix)

New on Netflix this month in the true crime genre is Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, brought to you by Ryan Murphy, who explores the life of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

In this limited series, American Horror Story actor Evan Peters stars as the famous serial killer, often referred to as the “Milwaukee Cannibal” or the “Milwaukee Monster”. Jeffrey Dahmer committed the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His victims were predominantly black males.

Here is everything you need to know about the American serial killer and sex offender’s life.

Who was Jeffrey Dahmer?

Dahmer was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a teletype machine instructor and a chemist. Different sources reported that Dahmer was neglected as a child, this has not been confirmed but there seems to be no doubt that there was tension in the home. His mother was known to have regular arguments with her husband and their neighbours. She suffered from depression and had attempted suicide in the past, and his father was away studying for much of his childhood. Dahmer’s parents eventually got divorced when he was 18.

Dahmer was an “energetic and happy child” until hernia surgery he underwent aged three. At school, his teachers said he was quiet, and one teacher recollected that she had detected early signs of abandonment.

Dahmer was interested in dead animals from an early age, specifically animal bones, something thought to have begun when he saw his father removing animal bones from beneath their home. He started collecting insects and the skeletons of small animals, such as squirrels, and would preserve them in jars of formaldehyde. His father showed him how to bleach and preserve animal bones, and Dahmer started to collect road kill so he could dissect them and add more bones to his collection.

At high school, Dahmer was an outcast. He drank heavily and called alcohol his “medicine” to classmates. His teachers reported that he started throwing fake fits and mocking people with cerebral palsy.

Dahmer had a brief relationship with another boy as a teenager, but his parents weren’t aware he was gay. He later admitted he fantasised about dominating a submissive male partner, and that these fantasies had started to involve dissection.

What crimes did Jeffrey Dahmer commit?

Dahmer had been arrested multiple times across his life, once for groping a young boy.

He later committed the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism, and the permanent preservation of body parts. His victims were predominantly black men.

In 1992, Dahmer was jailed for life. He was unable to convince the jury that his cannibalism and necrophilia were the result of madness, despite being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and a psychotic disorder. He was given 15 consecutive life sentences and told he would never be eligible for parole.

His trial included some of the most gruesome evidence ever heard in a US courtroom. In his statement to the court, Dahmer said: “I never wanted freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself. I knew I was sick or evil or both.

“Doctors have told me about my sickness and now I have some peace. I know how much harm I have caused. I feel so bad for what I did to those poor families.”

Dahmer was later sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment for an additional homicide committed in Ohio in 1978.

Dahmer died on November 28, 1994, after being beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

He fatally struck Dahmer twice over the head with a metal bar after growing unnerved by the killer, whom he claimed would fashion severed limbs out of prison food and drizzle them with packets of ketchup as blood.