On July 22, 1991, 32-year-old Tracy Edwards flagged down two Milwaukee police officers and informed officers that he’d been attacked by a man in the nearby apartment, which they accompanied him to. When the officers got to the apartment, a man named Jeffrey Dahmer invited the policemen in. While inside the apartment, officers quickly found Polaroids which depicted human bodies in various states of dismemberment. Dahmer was quickly arrested.
Four severed heads were found in his kitchen, as was a torso and two human hearts. Seven skulls were found in his bedroom. Various other body parts were also found within his home. Dahmer later said he was intending to use the bones as an “altar.”
In reference to the recovery of body parts and artifacts at Dahmer’s home, the chief medical examiner later stated: “It was more like dismantling someone’s museum than an actual crime scene.
On July 23, 1991, Detective Patrick Kennedy began questioning Dahmer over the evidence found at his apartment. Dahmer waived his rights to an attorney during the interrogation. Over the following two weeks, Det. Kennedy and, later, Detective Patrick Murphy conducted over 60 hours of interviews and Dahmer confessed to having murdered 16 young men in Wisconsin since 1987, and one victim in Ohio back in 1978.
Dahmer said of his post-arrest candor: “I created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it.”
Dahmer admitted to performing necrophilia with several of his victims’ bodies and confessed to recently having consumed the hearts, livers, biceps, and portions of thighs of several victims.
Of his increased compulsion to kill towards the end, Dahmer said, “It was an incessant and never-ending desire to be with someone at whatever cost. Someone good looking, really nice looking. It just filled my thoughts all day long.”
On July 25, 1991, Dahmer was charged with four counts of murder. By August 22, he was charged with a further 11 murders committed in the state of Wisconsin. On September 14, investigators in Ohio, having uncovered hundreds of bone fragments in woodland behind the address in which Dahmer had confessed to killing his first victim, formally identified two molars and a vertebra with X-ray records of Steven Mark Hicks. Three days later, Dahmer was charged by authorities in Ohio with the murder of Steven Hicks.
At a preliminary hearing on Jan. 13, 1992, Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder. As a result, he went to trial to determine whether or not he suffered a mental or personality disorder. The prosecution, lead by Michael McCann, maintained that any disorders he had did not deprive him of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or the ability to resist his impulses. Meanwhile, the defense argued his mental disease made him unable to control his impulses.
Dahmer’s trial presided over Judge Laurence Gram, began on January 30, 1992. He was tried in Milwaukee for the 15 counts of murder.
Defense attorney Gerald Boyle brought in defense experts that argued that Dahmer was insane due to his necrophilic urges. forensic psychiatrist Dr. Carl Wahlstrom diagnosed Dahmer with a variety of mental disorders, including borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, necrophilia, alcohol dependence, and a psychotic disorder. The trial lasted two weeks.
On February 15, the jury ruled that Dahmer was sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time he committed each of the 15 murders. On the first two counts, Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years. The remaining 13 counts carried a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years. The State of Wisconsin had abolished capital punishment in 1853 and therefore the death sentence was off the table.
Three months after being found guilty in Milwaukee, Dahmer was extradited to Ohio and tried for the murder of his first victim, Steven Hicks. Dahmer again pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment on May 1, 1992.
Dahmer served at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin. He was in solitary confinement for his first year due to concerns for the notorious killer’s physical safety. After a year in solitary, Dahmer consented to being moved to a less secure unit.
On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution. He died of severe head trauma.