Updated 6th May 2020. Part 11 of the Jeffrey dahmer series: Jeffrey Dahmers murder trial and sentencing. By helping the police, Dahmers trial didn’t last too long but held a hefty sentencing.
But before we dive into that. Below are the links to the first 10 parts.
Jeffrey Dahmers trial and sentencing.
July 25, 1991, Dahmer was charged with four counts of first-degree murder. By August 22, he had been 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.
Dahmer was not charged with the attempted murder of Tracy Edwards. Nor with the murder of Steven Tuomi. He was not charged with Tuomi’s murder because the Milwaukee County District Attorney only brought charges where a murder could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. As Dahmer had no memory of actually committing this particular murder. For which no physical evidence of the crime existed. At a scheduled preliminary hearing on January 13, 1992. Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder.
Jeffrey Dahmers murder trial charges and many diagnosis results.
“This has never been a case of trying to get free. I didn’t ever want freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself. This was a case to tell the world that I did what I did not for reasons of hate, I hated no one. I know I was sick or evil, or both. Now I believe I was sick. The doctors have told me about my sickness and now I have some peace.”
Jeffrey Dahmer on trial
Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder trial began on January 30, 1992. He was tried in Milwaukee for the 15 counts of first-degree murder, before Judge Laurence Gram. By pleading guilty on January 13 to the charges brought against him. Dahmer had waived his rights to an initial trial to establish guilt (as defined in Wisconsin law).
The issue debated by opposing counsels at Dahmer’s trial. Was to determine whether he suffered from either a mental or a personality disorder. The prosecution claiming that any disorders did not deprive Dahmer of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct. Or to deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses. The defense arguing that Dahmer suffered from a mental disease. Saying he was driven by obsessions and impulses he was unable to control.
Jeffrey Dahmers trial defence
Defense experts at Jeffrey Dahmers trial. Argued that Dahmer was insane due to his necrophilic drive. His compulsion to have sexual encounters with corpses. Defense expert Dr. Fred Berlin testified that Dahmer was unable to conform his conduct at the time that he committed the crimes. Because he was suffering from paraphilia or, more specifically, necrophilia.
Dr. Judith Becker, a professor of psychiatry and psychology. Was the second expert witness for the defense. Becker also diagnosed Dahmer with necrophilia.
The final defense expert to testify, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Carl Wahlstrom. Diagnosed Dahmer with borderline personality disorder. Schizotypal personality disorder, necrophilia, alcohol dependence, and a psychotic disorder.
The prosecution at Jeffrey Dahmers trialrejected the defense’s argument that Dahmer was insane. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Resnick testified that Dahmer did not suffer from primary necrophilia. Because he preferred live sexual partners as evidenced by his efforts to create unresistant, submissive sexual partners. devoid of rational thought and to whose needs he did not have to cater.
Another prosecution expert to testify, Dr. Fred Fosdel. Testified to his belief that Dahmer was without mental disease or defect at the time he committed the murders. He described Dahmer as a calculating and cunning individual. Able to differentiate between right and wrong. With the ability to control his actions. Although Fosdel did state his belief that Dahmer suffered from paraphilia. His conclusion was that Dahmer was not a sadist.
Final prosecution analysis at Jeffrey Dahmers trial.
The final witness to appear for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz. Who began his testimony on February 12. Dietz testified that he did not believe Dahmer to be suffering from any mental disease or defect at the time that he committed the crimes. stating, “Dahmer went to great lengths to be alone with his victim and to have no witnesses.”
He explained that there was ample evidence that Dahmer prepared in advance for each murder. therefore, his crimes were not impulsive. Although Dietz did concede any acquisition of a paraphilia was not a matter of personal choice. He also stated his belief that Dahmer’s habit of becoming intoxicated prior to committing each of the murders was significant, stating.
“If he had a compulsion to kill, he would not have to drink alcohol. He had to drink alcohol to overcome his inhibition, to do the crime which he would rather not do.”
Dr. Park Dietz
Dietz also noted that Dahmer strongly identified with evil and corrupt characters. From both Return of the Jedi and The Exorcist III. Particularly the level of power held by these characters. Expounding on the significance of these movies on Dahmer’s psyche and many of the murders committed at the Oxford Apartments.
Dietz explained that Dahmer occasionally viewed scenes from these films. Before searching for a victim. Dietz diagnosed Dahmer with substance use disorder, paraphilia, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Two court-appointed mental health professionals testifying independently of either prosecution or defense at Jeffrey Dahmers trial. Were forensic psychiatrist George Palermo and clinical psychologist Samuel Friedman.
Palermo stated that the murders were the result of a.
“pent-up aggression within himself. He killed those men because he wanted to kill the source of his homosexual attraction to them. In killing them, he killed what he hated in himself.”
Dr. George Palermo
Palermo concluded that Dahmer was a sexual sadist with antisocial personality disorder, but legally sane.
Friedman testified that it was a longing for companionship that caused Dahmer to kill. He stated.
“Mr. Dahmer is not psychotic.”
Speaking kindly of Dahmer, he described him as.
“Amiable, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor. Conventionally handsome, and charming in manner. He was, and still is, a bright young man.”
Dr Samuel Friedman
He diagnosed Dahmer with a personality disorder. Not otherwise specified featuring borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and sadistic traits.
Jeffrey Dahmers trial lasted two weeks. On February 14, both counsels delivered their closing arguments to the jury. Each counsel was allowed to speak for two hours.
Defense attorney Gerald Boyle argued first. Repeatedly harking to the testimony of the mental health professionals. Almost all of whom had agreed Dahmer was suffering from a mental disease.
Boyle argued that Dahmer’s compulsive killings had been a result of “a sickness he discovered, not chose.” Boyle portrayed Dahmer as a desperately lonely and profoundly sick individual. “So out of control. He could not conform his conduct any more.”
Following the defense counsel’s 75-minute closing argument. Michael McCann delivered his closing argument for the prosecution. Describing Dahmer as a sane man, in full control of his actions. Who simply strove to avoid detection. McCann argued that the act of murder was committed in hostility. Anger, resentment, frustration, or hatred, and that the 15 victims for whose murder he was tried. “died merely to afford Dahmer a period of sexual pleasure.” McCann further argued that by pleading guilty but insane to the charges. Dahmer was seeking to escape responsibility for his crimes.
Verdicts and Sentencing
On February 15, the court reconvened to hear the verdict. Dahmer was ruled to be sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time of each of the 15 murders for which he was tried. Although in each count, two of the 12 jurors signified their dissent.
On the first two counts. Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years. With the remaining 13 counts carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years. The death penalty was not an option for Judge Gram to consider at the penalty phase. As the State of Wisconsin had abolished capital punishment in 1853.
Upon hearing the sentencing at Jeffrey Dahmers murder trial. His father Lionel, and stepmother Shari. Requested to be allowed a ten-minute private meeting with their son before he was transferred to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage to begin his sentence. This request was granted and the trio exchanged hugs and well-wishes before Dahmer was escorted away to begin his sentence.
Three months after his conviction for 15 murders in Milwaukee. Dahmer was extradited to Ohio to be tried for the murder of his first victim, Steven Hicks. In a court hearing lasting just 45 minutes. Dahmer again pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment on May 1, 1992.
The next installment will be the final post of the Jeffrey Dahmer series.
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