Example Of Case Study About Jeffrey Dahmer

Published: 2021-06-22 00:37:32
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Serial killers are always an interesting study and the United States has had its fair share of these, especially in the last century. The case selected for analysis here is Jeffrey Dahmer who killed a large number of underage boys after having lured them and had sex with them. It remains one of the most compelling cases of recent times not least due to the fact that Dahmer himself was murdered while serving out a life term in prison a few years after he was convicted (Purcell, 2006).
Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who murdered a huge number of men in a spree which went on for at least a decade from 1978 to 1991 although there was a nine year hiatus in his killings. His method was nearly always the same, picking up some young male prostitute or under age individual from the kerb, having sex with him and then killing him. Dahmer’s methods were various but he chiefly employed bludgeoning and strangulation as his murdering tools.
Later on Dahmer dismembered the bodies he killed and neighbours noticed terrible smells coming from the apartment in which he lived in. He was eventually reported and found out and sent to trial after a large number of bodies were exhumed from his backyard and garden. He received 15 life terms but was eventually murdered in prison himself in 1994 (Bardsley, 2010).
The murders were varied in nature and were not primarily focused on racial considerations either. Interestingly there were various episodes where Dahmer could have been caught but which went by the wayside due to lack of police co-operation and sheer indifference. (Bardsley 2002), explains how two girls who reported Dahmer’s case were completely ignored by the police and this shows a lack of sensitivity to take on credible evidence.
The police were also at fault in several other aspects. Mostly when they had tips that Dahmer was carrying out serial killings and his neighbour’s reports of odours, they actually failed to take the matter further showing some insensitivity towards the victims as well as the general investigation as a whole.
The bodies and forensic evidence
Extensive investigations into the bodies which were found at Dahmer’s flat demonstrated that most of them had been dismembered terribly with most of the flesh burned away. The fact that Dahmer kept skulls and bones as trophies was also an intriguing factor which led the prosecution to submit detailed evidence and points which revealed that he murdered at will and without any sort of racial discrimination.
The defence did not have much leeway to observe what could be done to refresh the case and to at least spare Dahmer the death penalty. Nothwitstanding all this, the jury actually took some of the evidence into consideration when actually sparing Dahmer the death penalty although he was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms on the basis of the overwhelming forensic evidence.
Jeffrey Dahmer:
Dahmer was a troubled child and his childhood was singularily affected by this in the way he carried out his crimes. Notwithstanding all this, there can never be any justification for what he eventually did
In his first murder at the age of 18 in the summer of 1978, the pattern with which he would continue to commit crimes, the fact that he killed on impulse. He picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks and offered to drink with him after which Hicks attempted to escape but he was eventually kept against his will and murdered (Bardsley, 2010).
The fact that there was a considerable gap between the first murder of Hick’s and Dahmer’s second murder is also instructive as it means that Dahmer was not absolutely a murderer from the start and he took considerable time to began his crimes again. What went on in those intervening nine years is rather debatable as it could be that there were other victims but these were not known or were never found.
After a number of other killings, Dahmer moved to a now infamous apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991 where he embarked on another savage spree of killings with four more murders that eventually led to his discovery. The case offered ample opportunity for crime scene analysis with considerable forensic psychiatry and profiling. The bodies were identified through questioned document examination and crime scene processing. However there was also ample use of forensic photography in the case. Several bodies were identified through a painstaking process of forensic identification.
It was also easy to prove that Dahmer was a murderer as he killed on impulse and the overwhelming amount of evidence presented showed that he really killed at will. It is interesting also to note that Dahmer’s family was also supportive of him in various aspects and this also meant that at the end he received some backing from them too (Jaeger, 1991).
The vast amount of forensic evidence presented at the trial also showed that Dahmer was guilty and this was hardly difficult for the jurors to ascertain at the end of the day. Of course there always remains a certain level of doubt on how proceedings were to go about but this was one of the few cases in American criminal history where such overwhelming evidence was available (Dvorchark, 1991).
The fact that Dahmer drew his victims from a variety of racial backgrounds also indicates that there was no racial bias in his victim makeup. One may also observe that the defence took up this argument in favour of Dahmer who was clearly deranged at the time of the killings and was also severely disturbed mentally. However the jury did not accept a plea of insanity thus condemning Dahmer to a lifetime of jail terms although this was actually cut short by Dahmer’s murder inside jail.
Post-Dahmer aftermath
As in all serial killers, Dahmer was eventually spoken about and idolized after his death. In fact his esate was worth millions by the time he died and there was also a substantial movement for this estate to be sold to help pay compensation for his murder victims. One can also comment that the similarity to other crimes such as the Wineville Chicken Coop murders in California in the 1930’s helped keep the case alive for a long time after Dahmer’s death.
Dahmer’s staid and seemingly unimpressed pose throughout his trial also served to turn public opinion against him and this perhaps was one of the major sticking points in his defence who always had their work cut out for them. However, the overwhelming amount of evidence available also served its purpose as this easily convicted Dahmer on one case whilst the others were pretty clear cut anyway (Roy, 2002).
The Dahmer case teaches us a lot about how serial killers can remain untraced for a long time and is an eye opener over the vulnerability of some to turn to murder with frightening rapidity.
References:
Purcell, Catherine E.; A. Arrigo, Bruce (2006). The Psychology of Lust Murder: Paraphilia, Sexual Killing, and Serial Homicide. Academic Press. p. 77. ISBN 012370510X.
Roy, Jody (2002) M. Love to Hate NY: Columbia Univ. Press, 2002; pp. 102 et seq.
Bardsley, Marilyn (2010). Jeffrey Dahmer, Serial Killer and Cannibal, More Murders, More Arrests. TruTV.com. TruTV Crime Library. Retrieved 2012.12.15
Bardsley, Marilyn (2010). Jeffrey Dahmer, Serial Killer and Cannibal, The Killing Binge. TruTV.com. TruTV Crime Library. Retrieved 2010-12.15.
Bardsley, Marilyn (2010). Jeffrey Dahmer, Serial Killer and Cannibal, The Body in the Bedroom. TruTV.com. TruTV Crime Library. Retrieved 2010-12.15.
The Little Flat of Horrors (1991), TIME Magazine, 5 August 1991
Jaeger R (1991); Massacre in Milwaukee; Badger Books, New York, (Print)
Dvorchak R (1991): The Milwaukee Massacre, New York, Dell Books (Print)
Schwartz A E (1992): The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: The Secret Murders of Milwaukee's Jeffrey Dahmer: New York: Citadel (Print)

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