This is my first college assignment, to diagnose Jeffrey Dahmer, while stationed onboard the USS Whidbey Island. Beware going forward if you want to spare yourself some of the details of his actions.
Based on the studies of more than one hundred psychologists, psychiatrists, other doctors, and the testaments of Jeff himself this was the diagnosis that I concluded.
He was well-spoken, intelligent, and very calm when it came to dealing with his parents in his childhood or the police at 15. Most serial killers have a history of childhood abuse, head trauma, or fetal alcoholism. The only things Jeff suffered from were two or three moves to accommodate his dad’s job. His dad used to work late to avoid turmoil at the home. His mother was high-strung and her father’s alcoholism deeply affected her life.
The earliest demented memory that Jeff’s dad can remember is when they moved to a new place when Jeff was 4. He was pulling out dead animals from under the porch and Jeff loved the sounds they made. At 3 and 4 years old he used to get really bad ear and throat infections, but his parents and teachers say he was a normal, healthy child whose birth was the occasion of great joy; a happy, bubbly youngster who loved stuffed bunnies and his dog named Frisky.
His dad claims the single happiest moment of Jeff’s life had to be when they released a bird back into the wild that they had caught and nursed back to health. Between his tenth and fifteenth years, Jeff became more isolated, reluctant to change, and going to school frightened him. His dad had shyness as a child and hoped it was something Jeff would grow out of. His conversation turned into barely audible one-word responses. His fantasies began to overwhelm him. The dead in their stillness would become the primary objects of his growing sexual desire. These kinds of notions made him feel separated from all that was normal and acceptable.
He had average grades in school, played tennis, and worked on the school newspaper. His classmates considered him a loner and an alcoholic, but he did manage a prom date. His parents got a divorce when he was almost 18. Jeff was born in May of 1960. Jeff’s dad drove him to Ohio State University in the fall of 1978 where he attended one semester. He stayed drunk and flunked out. In January of 1979, Jeff joined the army and got stationed in Germany. A few years later they discharged him for alcoholism.
The offenses got worse as his alcoholism and emotional problems intensified. By incredible coincidence, in September of 1988, he paid a Laotian boy $50 to pose for some pictures. That’s all that came of it. In May of 1991, he killed that boy’s younger brother after he tried to run away and the cops intervened. Quote “–pride is my job, I do want help,” and the judge believed it. A marvelous performance by a true psychopath! He went to live with his grandma from time to time otherwise he lived in apartment 213. Both places he found to be great to perform his rituals.
He would meet a guy at a gay bar then offer him money for photos and to drink beer and watch videos afterward. If he could get them to agree he would take them back to his place. He would take pictures of every step. He would have sex with them alive, during death, and then with their dead corpse. When in court for all these murders it took two detectives taking turns reading his 160-page confession of his 13-year killing spree. The youngest of his victims was 14 and the oldest being 31. Most of his murders were between midnight and 4 am.
He would dismember the body when he was done with it and kept the genitals in formaldehyde or would clean the skin off the skull and paint it gray to look like plastic. He was sexually aroused by the heat that the freshly killed body would give off. Jeff claimed he ate their flesh because he believed that they would come alive again in him. He tried various seasonings and eating human flesh gave him an erection. Control was an all-important issue; he could not tolerate rejection or abandonment. He did not want to please his sexual partner but have oral and anal sex with them alive or dead.
He also practiced lobotomies and Satanism. He wanted to create a shrine featuring all his victim’s leftover body parts. He believed that they had special powers that would help him socially and financially. Psychologists examined him and concurred that he was manipulative, resistant, and evasive. He would masturbate in front of the skulls for gratification. They also concluded that his sexual and mental disorders prevented him from understanding the nature of his crime. His dad came to realize that all his son was — was a liar, alcoholic, thief, exhibitionist, and a molester of children. He thought of his son as a ruined soul with a conscience that had died inside.
On July of 1992, Jeff pleaded guilty but said he was insane. The jury found him guilty and sane. He knew what he was doing and told the court he was glad he had been caught. He couldn’t believe that a human could do the things he had done and caused so much pain. He was sentenced to 957 years in prison. Genetics is gaining ground over behaviorism in explaining why people become criminals and that may be the only explanation in Jeff’s case.
He wanted death for himself so he took it out on other people. Jeff felt he never had enough remorse. He had unwanted notions to do the things he did. He repeated his actions to try to gain joy or remorse, but neither came. His last month he had decided to move but couldn’t decide what to do with the bodies. He figured this was the end and began to kill sloppily. I diagnose him with a very severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Due to his unwanted thoughts to kill people who recurred over and over and his actions that seem strange and unreasonable against his will to carry out such rituals in a distinct manner.
Another way to look at this was to say he was carrying out God’s work. He said he read the Bible and in some cases, Satan or another form thereof used to take over people’s soul and he lost control. Some of the guys he killed lived dangerous lives of larceny, arson, assault, rape, etc. and perhaps he felt he was cleansing the Earth. He got gratification from masturbating in front of their dead, clean skulls as a way of saying, “I win!”
His dad went to court in October to fight for his son’s brain. In Jeff’s will, he wanted to be cremated, including his brain. The courts wanted it for scientific studies, to compare his brain with normal brains and those of other serial killers. Jeff had his skull crushed in November of 1994 by a black delusional schizophrenic who believed he was the Son of God. Jeff was pronounced dead at 9:11 am. His brain was cremated in December by order of the judge.
Even if studies had been conducted, I believe the only thing they would have found would have been a more developed central core, the part of the brain that controls basic functions of all vertebrates. He was more animal in a human body.
In conclusion, my final diagnosis is that he had more distinguished mammal characteristics, believed he was doing God’s work, and had a very severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. His brain functioned just fine but he thought on a different level as do people who invent telephones and microchips for cars.
*I left the paper as original as possible but spelling and grammar were corrected.