Regarding Serial Killer Jeff Dahmer – and Including the Three Part Dahmer Series on Dr. Phil
The parents of Jeff Dahmer say they always called him “Jeff,” not “Jeffrey,” as the media always did, so I’ll try to remember to call him “Jeff” too.
I was in college, a 20-something college student, when news of police having found human remains in Dahmer’s apartment first broke.
I watched days of unfolding TV news coverage about Dahmer, as well as read about the case daily in the printed news paper of the city I lived in at the time.
(I was a little kid when the John Wayne Gacy story broke – I was a kid watching daily news coverage of that story.)
I’ve always been interested in psychology on and off over my life, and I took psychology courses when I was a college student (though I went on to get a degree and career in a totally different field).
I’m interested in learning why people behave as though they do, and with serial killers, that’s no exception.
When television shows and documentaries began airing again the last several months about Dahmer, I watched a lot of them.
I also watched all of the Netflix dramatization about Dahmer starring Evan Peters. I watched it twice.
The NetFlix show either omitted a few details here or there, and conflated a few real life people into one or two fictional characters, but the show, the overall picture it painted of Jeff, was pretty accurate – I think the show maker was striving combine being factual with being entertaining, or using art to make a point, so maybe a few details here or there were wrong, but my sense is that the overall story was fairly accurate.
I am not claiming to be a Jeff Dahmer expert, but I’ve read enough about the guy (including first-hand, 1990s era police, psychiatry examination, or court documents in pdf format), and seen enough news coverage (both then and now) to get an idea.
I’m not an expert on the matter, but I am also not an un-educated dunce.
Some of the newer Dahmer documentaries I’ve seen via streaming services, many of which seem to be British-produced, contain errors, as do some recent American internet based articles.
A few days ago, Dr. Phil, of the Dr. Phil television program, did a three part series about Jeff Dahmer on his show, and clips of most of those are on Dr. Phil’s You Tube channel, such as (Link): here, Dr. Phil Interviews Jeffrey Dahmer’s Father – Full Interview (14 minutes long).
There are more video clips than that on Dr. Phil’s You Tube from his Dahmer series, but I don’t feel like linking to them all right now.
Steven Hicks, Dahmer’s First Victim, Was Not Homosexual
One falsehood I keep seeing repeated on these documentaries and some of the online articles is that Dahmer’s first victim, Steven Hicks, was either a homosexual or willingly participated in homosexual sex acts with Dahmer.
Both claims are false.
Hicks was not homosexual, and he did not engage in consensual sex acts with Dahmer.
Dahmer even said, during the interview process (with either one of his defense attorneys or the police detectives, I don’t recall which), that in the course of getting to know Hicks, he clearly learned that Hicks was a hetero guy, which Dahmer said disappointed him, but even though Hicks was hetero, he was going to get what he wanted from Hicks regardless.
In some other interview or line of questioning, I remember Dahmer saying his obsession got to the degree he no longer cared if a man he found physically attractive was hetero-sexual or homo-sexual.
Even if a man was hetero, Dahmer said he didn’t care, that he would still try to drug the guy, knock him out through drugs, and fondle him.
But I periodically see recent Dahmer documentaries or online articles state that Hicks was gay – Hicks was NOT gay.
The only “sex” Dahmer had with Hicks was after Dahmer murdered Hicks – Dahmer admits after killing Hicks that he stood over Hicks’ body and masturbated to the sight of the dead body.
I don’t recall after that if Dahmer committed more sex acts with Hicks’ corpse or not, but regardless, Hicks was DEAD after Dahmer did anything sexual to him.
You can read a little more about Hicks here, if you like.
I am not saying it is acceptable for Jeff Dahmer to have killed homosexual men (which he did in fact later go on to do), because quite obviously, that was not okay or moral behavior.
I just cringe at inaccurate reporting about this topic (or any other topic). Journalists and television producers should get their facts correct, even if it’s merely a schlocky, cheaply made documentary they’re contributing to.
No Animal Abuse or Animal Cruelty
Some documentaries, shows, or online articles incorrectly state that Dahmer abused or tortured animals, which is false.
Some shows – such as Dr. Phil’s recent three part Dahmer series – implied at one point that Jeff Dahmer killed a dog and put the dog’s head on a pike.
That is false.
Unless Jeff was lying about the incident to police and later to his father, he did not kill the dog and then decapitate it;
he found the dog already dead and then decapitated it – which still is disturbing and disrespectful behavior, but he didn’t kill the dog in order to dissect the animal, which is the point.
Dahmer is the rare serial killer (similar to Dennis Nilsen) who apparently did not torture or hurt animals.
(I am open to new information on this topic, but again, from what I have read and seen over the years, Dahmer was not known to have engaged in torturing animals or killing them.)
However, Dr. Phil and his guest on the show, a lady (I forget her name) who is an ex psychiatric nurse and ex FBI profiler, kept incorrectly referring to Dahmer as having the Dark Triad (read more about that on Wikipedia) and as having the Macdonald triad.