How did Jeffrey Dahmer die? What happened to the killer convicted of 17 gruesome murders.

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Jeffrey Dahmer killed for more than a decade, a saga that ended in the early 1990s. So why do we still care so much about the serial killer today?

Netflix’s "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," is the sixth Dahmer project and came under fire for its graphic nature. It also spent a significant amount of time in Netflix’s top spot for most-watched content. Experts previously told USA TODAY a love of true crime has made us “so intrigued by horror and crime that we forget that not all of it is fictional.”

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 boys and men in a 13-year period.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 boys and men in a 13-year period.

Who was Jeffrey Dahmer?

Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer who killed 17 boys and men from 1978 to 1991. His murders, which involved necrophilia and cannibalism, are immortalized because of their gruesome nature.

Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but later moved to Bath Township, Ohio, where he would commit his first murder. Growing up in Ohio, Dahmer attended Bath Elementary, Eastview Junior High and Revere High School, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. A former classmate described him as a “class clown, but not in a wholesome sense,” and that he would do “bizarre”  things “just for the shock value.”

Dahmer was fascinated with animal bones as a child and used to use acid to scrape the meat off dead animals, his stepmother told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1991. He also said he became obsessed with a jogger in the area and thought about attacking him with a baseball bat.

He killed his first victim, 18-year-old Steven Hicks, at his childhood home in 1978 days after graduating high school. Just after the murder, he was pulled over by officers for swerving. He had garbage bags with Hicks’ remains in his backseat, though Dahmer convinced the officers to let him go. He stored the body and disposed of it two years later. Police found remains buried at the property in their 1991 search.

He was enrolled in Ohio State University but eventually dropped out, moved away from home and joined the military. He was discharged from the Army in 1981 because of alcoholism.

He moved in with his grandmother in 1982 and said he killed two men at her house between 1985 and 1988.

Dahmer was arrested and convicted of second-degree sexual assault in 1988 for assaulting the brother of one of his future victims, which has been “regarded as a horrifying coincidence.” Judge William Gardner received significant criticism for his leniency in sentencing Dahmer to a year in a Milwaukee correctional facility. Dahmer’s father, Lionel, petitioned Gardner to keep Dahmer there longer so he could receive treatment for alcohol abuse and other urges, which he didn’t receive during his one-year stay.

Dahmer was on parole for those charges when police found parts of 11 bodies in his apartment in 1991 after 32-year-old Tracy Edwards escaped Dahmer’s apartment and led police back to the scene.

Fact vs. fiction: What's real, what's not in 'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story'

How many people did Dahmer kill?

Dahmer killed 17 people, targeting mostly gay men and boys of color. His two youngest victims were 14 years old.

Some family members of Dahmer’s victims spoke out after the release of Ryan Murphy’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” criticizing the Netflix series for centering Dahmer and not his victims.

“If you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show,” Eric Perry, the cousin of Errol Lindsey tweeted in September 2022. “It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”

"DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" stars Evan Peters as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
"DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" stars Evan Peters as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

These are the names of Dahmer’s victims:

  • Steven Hicks, 18

  • Steven Tuomi, 28

  • Jamie Doxtator, 14

  • Richard Guerrero, 25

  • Anthony Sears, 24

  • Ricky Beeks, 33

  • Eddie Smith, 28

  • Ernest Miller, 24

  • David Thomas, 23

  • Curtis Straughter, 18

  • Errol Lindsey, 19

  • Anthony Hughes, 31

  • Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14

  • Matt Turner, 20

  • Jeremiah Weinberger, 23

  • Oliver Lacy, 23

  • Joseph Bradehoft, 25

Read our full story about the lives and legacies of the 17 victims here.

What happened to Jeffrey Dahmer?

Dahmer confessed to 15 killings and drew a map for police as they searched his childhood home for the remains of his first victim. He was sentenced to 15 life sentences (936 years) in February 1992 and then a 16th after he pled guilty to his first murder.

The only murder he was not charged with was Steven Tuomi's. Dahmer said he believed he killed Tuomi at the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee, but couldn’t remember the details. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge.

He was beaten to death in prison on Nov. 28, 1994, by fellow prisoner Christopher Scarver.

How old was Jeffrey Dahmer when he died?

Dahmer was 34 years old when he was killed. He died just two years after beginning his time at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Wisconsin. If he was alive today, Dahmer would be 63 years old and still serving his 16 life sentences.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What happened to Jeffrey Dahmer after he confessed to 17 murders