On May 23, 1989, Dahmer's lawyer Gerald Boyle and Assistant D.A. Gale Shelton presented their arguments to Judge William Gardner. Shelton wanted a prison sentence of at least five years. "In my judgment it is absolutely crystal clear that the prognosis for treatment of Mr. Dahmer within the community is extremely bleak... His perception that what he did wrong here was choosing too young a victim, — and that that's all he did wrong, — is a part of the problem... He appeared to be cooperative and receptive, but anything that goes below the surface indicates that the deep-seated anger and deep-seated psychological problems that he is unwilling or incapable of dealing with."
Three psychologists examined him and concurred that Dahmer was manipulative, resistant and evasive. Hospitalization and intensive treatment was recommended.
Boyle, the defense attorney argued that Dahmer was sick and needed treatment, not prison. He praised the fact that he had held a job. "We don't have a multiple offender here. I believe that he was caught before it got to the point where it would have gotten worse, which means that it is a blessing in disguise."
Dahmer himself spoke in his own defense, blaming his behavior on alcoholism. He was articulate and convincing, for someone who had secretly murdered several men by that time. "What I have done is very serious. I've never been in this position before. Nothing this awful. This is a nightmare come true for me. If anything would shock me out of my past behavior patterns, it's this.
"The one thing I have in my mind that is stable and that gives me some source of pride is my job. I've come very close to losing it because of my actions, which I take full responsibility for... All I can do is beg you, please spare my job. Please give me a chance to show that I can, that I can tread the straight and narrow and not get involved in any situation like this ever again... This enticing a child was the climax of my idiocy... I do want help. I do want to turn my life around."
A marvelous performance by a true psychopath! The judge fell for it, stayed his sentence, and put Dahmer on probation for five years. He was ordered to spend one year in the House of Correction under "work release," which allowed him to go to work during the day and return to the jail at night.
After ten months, the judge granted him early release, despite a letter from Dahmer's father urging him not to release him until he received treatment. He went to stay with his grandmother in early March of 1990, but his stay there was conditional upon him finding his own place to live.
On May 14, 1990, Dahmer moved to 924 North 25th Street, Apartment 213, and the killing began in earnest.
During the following fifteen months, Dahmer went on a killing binge that cost twelve men their lives. The pace of Dahmer's murders accelerated to a frenzy in May-July of 1991 when he was killing almost at a rate of one man a week. All but three were black; one was white, one was Laotian and one was Hispanic. Most, but not all, were homosexual or bisexual. The youngest was Konerak, age fourteen, and the oldest was thirty-one. Many of the victims lived what police call "high-risk" lifestyles. Most of the men had arrest records, often for very serious crimes, like arson, sexual assault, rape, and battery. The listing below appears in Anne Schwartz's The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough:
- Edward Smith June, 1990
- Ricky Lee Beeks July, 1990
- Ernest Miller Sept., 1990
- David Thomas Sept., 1990
- Curtis Straughter Feb., 1991
- Errol Lindsey April, 1991
- Anthony Hughes May 24, 1991
- Konerak Sinthasomphone May 27, 1991
- Matt Turner June 30, 1991
- Jeremiah Weinberger July 5, 1991
- Oliver Lacey July 12, 1991
- Joseph Bradehoft July 19, 1991
Dahmer's ritual for luring, murdering and disposing of his victims was usually the same. He invited the men to his apartment to watch sexually-explicit videos or to pose for photos. He crushed up his prescribed sedatives and served them in drinks. Once drugged, Dahmer strangled them with his bare hands or with a leather strap. He frequently had sex with the corpses and later masturbated on them.
Before any cleanup began, Dahmer reached for his Polaroid to capture the entire experience so that he could remember each and every murder. Then he cut open their torsos. He was fascinated by the color of the viscera and sexually aroused by the heat that the freshly-killed bodies would give off. Finally, he would dismember the men, photographing each stage of the process for future viewing pleasure.
He disposed of most of the bodies, experimenting with various chemicals and acids that would reduce the flesh and bone to a black, evil-smelling sludge, which could be poured down a drain or toilet.
Some parts of the bodies he chose to keep as trophies, frequently the genitals and heads. The genitals were preserved in formaldehyde. The heads were boiled until the flesh came off. Once the skulls were bare, he painted them with gray paint to look like plastic.
By Marilyn Badsley