Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the worst but also most impressive serial offenders the U.S. has seen in the past 50 years. If nothing else, a Netflix series has brought his case back into the consciousness of many people who were unfamiliar with his actions, murders, sentence and demise. The focus today is still on the question for his actions. Besides the pure kidnappings, rapes and murders, it went as far as cannibalism. He ate many of his victims in one way or another. According to him, the reasons were mainly about loneliness and the desire to be in contact with his victims.
Dahmer killed, preserved and ate some of his victims
Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer committed at least 16 murders. Whether that is the actual number or there were victims who could not be found and attributed to him is still disputed today. The perpetrators were exclusively men, some of whom had not yet reached the age of majority. He met many of his victims in the gay scene of Milwaukee and Ohio in general. His typical modus operandi was to lure the victims to his apartment, make them compliant with drugs and then kill them. Not in all cases, sexual intercourse was also involved.
After his arrest, not only did the investigation of his deeds begin, but also the search for a motive. Here, Dahmer’s own statements are available as well as the psychiatric reports that were made about him in the course of the proceedings. According to his own testimony, which was also partially confirmed later by the experts, Dahmer suffered primarily from loneliness. He came from a broken home, his mother had abandoned him in his youth, and his father rarely showed any serious interest in his son. Early on, therefore, he was looking for a group of which he could become a part and for friends in general.
Dahmer, who was himself homosexual, had chosen an overwhelming number of victims of color. Nevertheless, he later emphasized that he had not been concerned with the sexuality of the men, nor with their skin color, but had chosen them primarily because of their attractiveness. Moreover, it could be established during the trial that he apparently tried to perform forms of lobotomy on some of the victims in order to create a zombie friend for himself who would not leave him. This also matched the testimony as to why he ate parts from some victims – again, he emphasized that he wanted to prevent the men from leaving him again so he could keep them with him.
Jeffrey Dahmer: Psychiatric report and assessment of motives for the crime in court
The psychiatric reports were primarily concerned with the loneliness Dahmer referred to. According to his own statements, after a sexual partner left his apartment again, he always felt a sense of emptiness and loneliness. He tried to prevent this, on the one hand, by anesthetizing his victims and, on the other hand, by conducting experiments later on so that he could possibly keep them with him as mindless slaves. According to his own statements, he was drunk during most of the murders, because otherwise he would not have been able to carry out the corresponding acts. Beyond that, however, he acted purposefully and methodically: most of his victims traveled alone, were chosen beforehand, and the murders happened on weekends so that he had enough time to remove any traces.
He took his fascination in keeping some parts of the corpses from some films and wanted to build an altar for himself from the heads. Until the end, however, Dahmer emphasized that the murders should have always been only a means to keep people with him and not to lead them lonely anymore. This was later also recorded as the most important motive by psychologists in their assessment of Dahmer’s motives.