JEFFREY DAHMER was very forthcoming — he volunteered details that may be difficult to hear. I began by asking what he wanted from the men he picked up:
“I had these obsessive desires and thoughts wanting to control them to… ah I don’t know how to put it, possess them permanently.”
And that is why you killed them?
“Right, right not because I was angry with them, not cause I hated them but because I wanted to keep them with me, and as my obsession grew, I was saving body parts such as skulls and skeletons.”
Jeffery Dahmer is recalling his monstrous past, almost two years ago in this little apartment in Milwaukee police discovered the grisly reminisce of one of the most horrible crime sprees in American history. Jeffery Dahmer, an unassuming chocolate factory worker, would eventually confess that he had seduced, murdered, and dismembered 17 young men, he even ate some of his victims’ body parts. He instantly became the center of worldwide media attention, a serial killer unmasked. There were protests and press conferences in Milwaukee, as people tried to understand how this could have happened in their midst. How did Jeffery Dahmer get away with murder after murder for 13 years? How did a boy born into a hard-working middle-class family turn into the worst kind of monster imaginable?
In this exclusive interview we put those questions to Jeffery Dahmer himself, we met with him at the maximum-security prison where is serving his sentence of 999 years. For the first time, he talks about his crimes and gives us a chilling look inside the mind of a serial killer.
“It’s a process it doesn’t happen overnight, when you depersonalize another person and view them as just an object, an object for pleasure instead of a living, breathing human being, it seems to make it easier to… ah… do things you shouldn’t do.”
The reason why Jeffery Dahmer was able to get away with his crimes was because of just what you are seeing here, Jeffery Dahmer is intelligent and articulate that is what makes him so frightening, but if you listen carefully to his words throughout this interview you realize it is a thin disguise.
You do sound like the kind of person who said to himself, this is wrong, I must stop.
“I always knew it was wrong, but after the first… the first killing was not planned, I was coming back from the shopping mall back in ’78. I had fantasies about picking up a hitchhiker and taking him back to the house and having complete control and dominance over him.”
The hitchhiker’s name was Stephen Hicks, he was just 18. Jeffery Dahmer took him to his parents’ house, where he strangled him with a barbell, he dismembered the body and hid it in a drainpipe. It was Jeffery Dahmer who gave those details to the police in his confession.
“No one, No one had a clue as to what was happening for over a decade.”
During that time Jeffery Dahmer joined the army and was sent to Germany, he was eventually discharged for a drinking problem and returned to Ohio, nine years after Stephen Hicks’s murder, the killing began again.
What happened to you in the nine years in-between that you were able to stop, that you were able to control yourself?
“There just wasn’t an opportunity to… ah… fully express what I wanted to do, there was just not the physical opportunity to do it then. And ah… I started when I moved to Milwaukee in ’81. I started reading pornography and going to the bookstores, which eventually lead to frequenting the gay bars. And then I, one time I brought this young man back to the hotel room, the Ambassador Hotel. I was just planning on drugging him and spending the night with him, had no intention of hurting him. When I woke up in the morning, he had a broken rib here, it was heavily bruised… apparently, I had beaten him to death with my fists.”
And you have no memory of it?
“I have no memory of it but that is what started the whole spree all over again.”
Dahmer said he snuck the corpse of his victim, Steven Tuomi, out of his hotel room in a suitcase, then he took it to his grandmother’s house where he cut up the body and put it in plastic garbage bags.
When you killed these men, afterward were you repulsed, were you upset?
“No, at the time it was it was almost addictive, it was almost a surge of energy I wouldn’t have to worry about any of their needs or anything I just had complete control of the situation.”
But Jeffery Dahmer was out of control, the urge to kill had overpowered him, as police later learned he wasn’t satisfied with his victims’ death, he wanted more.
Why did you photograph them?
“It was my way of remembering their appearance, their physical beauty… ah… I also wanted to keep them, and if I couldn’t keep them there with me whole, at least I felt I could keep their skeletons. And I even went so far as planning on setting up an altar with the ten different skulls and skeletons.”
And what was the purpose of the altar going to be?
“As a sort of memorial, a point where I could, I don’t know, it’s so bizarre and strange it’s hard to describe, a place where I could collect my thoughts and feed my obsession.”
When the bodies were still in your apartment, there was no time when you would see them and say, this is grotesque, what have I done?
“There were times, there were times… but the compulsive obsession with doing what I was doing overpowered any feelings of revulsion.”
This man with a quiet, almost shy, demeanor became a master manipulator who was able to lure strangers he met at gay bars to his apartment. He was even able to con the police into returning a 14-year-old boy to him after neighbors called 911, upset that the child was in the street naked and bleeding. Dahmer convinced the police that he and the boy were simply having a lovers quarrel.
Police: “It’s an intoxicated boyfriend of another boyfriend.”
Neighbor: “How old was this child?”
Police: “It wasn’t a child, it was an adult.”
After the police left, Jeffery Dahmer murdered that boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone.
One man said he had a near-fatal encounter with Jeffery Dahmer.
“He wanted to take some pictures of my back. He hit me with a rubber hammer on my neck.”
He was lucky to escape because by then, the killing had almost become routine.
Before you went out to pick up a man, was there any kind of ritual you went through?
“I go to the nightclubs, drink, watch the striptease shows and if I didn’t meet anyone at the bars I would go to the bath clubs and meet someone there…offer them money and go back to the apartment. Have a few drinks. I have the sleeping pill mixture already prepared, the person would drink it, fall asleep and that’s when they would be strangled.”
Watching the movie Exorcist 3 was also part of his ritual, it put him in the mood for murder.
“I felt so hopelessly evil and perverted that I actually derived a sort of pleasure from watching that tape.”
Did you like feeling evil?
“No, no I didn’t, but I tried to overcome the thoughts and it worked for a while, but eventually I gave in.”
While Jeffery Dahmer may say things today that make it seem like he understands what went on in his mind, he does not. All he can do is tell you what happened, but he cannot stop whatever it is that drove him to kill in the first place.
Do you still feel those same urges do you still feel that compulsion that obsession?
“Ah… I wish I could say that it just left completely, but no, there are times when I still do have the old compulsions.”
And as we continue, Dahmer talks about how his obsessions became more and more out of control.
With monsters like Jeffery Dahmer, it is important to know how they think, and how they operate. Dahmer is an intelligent man, someone who could live just about anywhere.
Jeffery Dahmer said as time went on, his mind became more and more warped, and yet he was clever enough to continue to elude police and lure young men to his apartment.
“I started having these obsessive thoughts when I was about 15 and 16 and they got worse and worse.”
What were your fantasies about?
“They were sexual fantasies of control, power, complete dominance… they became reality.”
Was there pleasure in that fantasy?
“There was excitement, fear, pleasure all mixed together.”
Jeffery Dahmer fulfilled his fantasies by murdering and dismembering 17 young men. In time, his desires became more extreme, his deeds more grotesque. Listening to him talk about the most unnatural things in the most matter of fact of ways, that’s when you realize that none of it has touched him.
“I was branching out, that’s when the cannibalism started. Eating of the heart and arm muscles was a way of making me feel that they were a part of me. At first, it was just curiosity and then it became compulsive, then I tried to keep the person alive by inducing a zombie-like state by injecting first a dilute acid solution into their brain, or hot water, and it never did completely work.”
Could someone like you be stopped, could you be helped?
“No, I was dead set on going with this compulsion. It was the only thing that gave me any satisfaction.”
He became so warped by his evil impulses, that he even took a victim’s head to work with him at the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory.
“I kept the mummified head and skull of one of the victims in a carrying case in my locker at work.”
Were you almost flaunting it?
“Yes, but that’s how strong the compulsion was, that’s how bizarre the desire was, I wanted to keep something of the person with me.”
Jeffery Dahmer exhibited some disturbing behavior early on, he began drinking heavily as a teenager, dropped out of college, was arrested for indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, and fondling a 13-year-old boy. Tragically, one of his murder victims would be that boy’s brother.
Do you know what started it, is there any kind of incident you can remember?
“To this day, I don’t know what started it, and the person to blame is sitting right across from you, that’s the only person, not parents, not society, not pornography… those are just excuses.”
His macabre 13-year crime spree finally ended when Tracey Edwards bought the police to the infamous apartment. Like the others, he had gone there with the promise of money.
(Tracey Edwards) “He was listening to my heart, cause he told he was gonna eat my heart at that point. I hit him and I ran.”
What was the turning point for you that made you suddenly realize that you did something terribly wrong, something you should be sorry for?
“It was the night of the arrest, I have no memory of what happened during the 6 hours before the last victim ran out of the apartment. I heard a knock on the door and the police were there with the last victim. They asked me where the key was to the handcuffs. I… ah… my mind was in a haze, and sort of pointed to the bedroom and that’s where they found the pictures and they yelled, “Cuff him!” I was handcuffed and it was just the realization, there was no point in trying to hide my actions anymore, the best route was to help the police identify all the victims and just make a complete confession.”
When it was revealed that most of the victims were black or homosexual, people in Milwaukee were incensed. Many felt that was why he went after them and why the police didn’t care when their families reported them missing.
10 of your 17 victims were black, were they racially motivated crimes?
“It was not racially motivated, it was not a sexual preference, it was just to find an obsession with the best looking young man I could find.”
While you just heard him say that his sexual preference had nothing to do with the killings, he has not come to terms with his homosexuality.
“Never understood it, there is no use trying to fight it cause I couldn’t rid myself of it, it was too powerful and persistent.”
Do you dislike it?
“Yes, it caused a lot of problems … for me, a lot of conflicts and unanswered questions.”
The conflicts remain with him and so do his compulsions, but in prison, he finally cannot act on his savage desires.
If you were out on the street now, would you still be committing the crimes?
“If this hadn’t happened, there is no doubt I probably would be, I can’t think of anything that would have stopped me.”
They don’t know how it feels
To be thrown away.
They don’t know how it is
To be led astray.
From such abandonment– by Christopher J. Scarver, the inmate who murdered Dahmer in 1994
To this steel and cement,
Hell is the result
Regardless of the intent.