Lazy cops, psycho inmates and Jeffrey Dahmer

The latest in my ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ series – taken from The Great Courses’ Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works (Lecture 29: Forensic Psychology/Psychiatry)

In 1991, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer chased his drugged, escaped, 14-year-old victim onto the street where he located him trying to seek help from passing police. Dahmer calmly convinced the police that the teenager was his 19yo boyfriend and that they were having a drunken spat. Despite the boy’s begging, Police sent all the neighbours back inside and handed him back to Dahmer who killed him, raped him and ate much of him that evening.

That poor, poor kid. Those lazy, lazy cops.

After he was caught and tried for the 15 murders he’d committed, effective prosecution saw Dahmer’s ‘insanity plea’ thrown out and Dahmer sentenced to 1000 years in prison where he ended up being beaten to death by a man who claimed to have heard voices demanding he kill Dahmer.

I find it interesting that, after 14 proficient and ‘invisible’ murders in his perfectly suburban apartment surrounded by other people, the teenager should first escape onto the streets and (just a few weeks later) another victim got out, too. This time the police took him more seriously and returned with him to Dahmer’s apartment where mountains of evidence (in body parts, pictures and butchery equipment) were discovered and he was busted.

Maybe Dahmer got (new) kicks from letting his victims run only to return them to hell. Or from having them handed back by the police. Maybe he just liked the acceptance of a destroyed soul more than the defiance of a terrified one.

One final Dahmer point, in all his years of vicious, cold-blooded cruelty and plain old freakzoid-ism, Dahmer never hurt an animal. He was a great lover of creatures and took exceptional care of multiple pets in his life. Small mercies, I guess.