Dahmer Gets 15 Life Terms for Serial Murders
Serial killer Jeffrey L. Dahmer was sentenced Monday to 15 consecutive life terms in prison after relatives of his victims called him a devil and Dahmer told the judge: “I know society will never be able to forgive me.”
Dahmer was stone-faced and spoke in a low monotone as he described his crimes not as acts of hate but the work of a sick man.
“I take all the blame for what I did,” he said.
Moments before, nine relatives of Dahmer’s victims, many wearing picture pins of their loved ones, described the pain they have suffered because he killed, butchered and had sex with the corpses of their family members.
Rita Isbell, the hysterical sister of victim Errol Lindsey, shouted “Satan!” at Dahmer and screamed: “Jeffrey, I hate you!” as she lunged toward him, shaking her fist and shouting obscenities. She was led away.
A jury decided Saturday that Dahmer, 31, was sane when he killed 15 young men and boys he lured to his home. Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane.
The former chocolate factory worker confessed to 17 slayings since 1978 after his arrest last July. He was not charged in one Milwaukee death because of lack of evidence.
Dahmer is to stand trial in an Ohio slaying case and then return to Wisconsin to serve his sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. He will have a cell to himself with a window at the modern, maximum security prison, which houses 575 of the state’s most violent criminals.
“I hope God has forgiven me,” Dahmer said. “I know society will never be able to forgive me. I know the families of the victims will never be able to forgive me for what I have done. I promise I will pray each day to ask for their forgiveness when the hurt goes away, if ever. I have seen their tears, and if I could give my life right now to bring their loved ones back, I would do it. I am so very sorry.”
Under Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Laurence C. Gram Jr.'s sentence of consecutive life prison terms, if Dahmer gained parole in one sentence, the next sentence would automatically take effect. The prosecutor in the case said Dahmer would not be eligible for parole for 936 years.
Later Monday, Dahmer was taken to the Columbia facility, located about 80 miles from Milwaukee.
Gerald P. Boyle, Dahmer’s lawyer, said no appeal was planned.
Dahmer, making his first public statement about the slayings, told Gram he did not seek freedom by pleading insane, but understanding.
“I wanted to find out just what it was that caused me to be so bad and evil,” he said. “The doctors have told me about my sickness, and now I have some peace.
“I didn’t ever want freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself.”
Wisconsin has no death penalty.
Dahmer said he has turned to God since his arrest.
“I should have stayed with God,” he said. “I tried and I failed, and created a holocaust.”
As Dahmer spoke, his victims’ relatives, seated in the courtroom gallery, leaned forward, straining to hear his words.
“I feel so bad for what I did to those poor families, and I understand their rightful hate,” Dahmer said. “I have seen their tears and if I could give my life right now to bring their loved ones back, I would do it.”
Earlier, Dahmer sat emotionless as relatives described their loss.
“Jeffrey Dahmer has erased a million future memories for me of my brother,'W. Smith, brother of victim Eddie Smith, said as he read brief statements from each of Eddie’s 12 brothers and sisters.
“Jeffrey Dahmer, you have become a hero for a few, but you have become a nightmare for so many more,” said Stanley Miller, uncle of victim Ernest Miller. “Did you ever think this was someone’s son?”
Dahmer’s three-week sanity trial included testimony from police and psychiatrists who described how the serial killer’s urges to have sex with the dead led him to drug, kill and dismember his victims.
Dahmer said he would not contest civil lawsuits some victims’ families have filed against him, seeking any profits he might make by selling his life story.
“If there is ever any money, I want it to go to the victims’ families,” he said.
In his statement, Dahmer also said that two police officers who were fired after authorities learned they had led a naked, bleeding boy back to Dahmer’s apartment in May were not to blame.
Dahmer told police after his arrest that he killed 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone shortly after the police officers left.
“In light of what was learned at the trial, I am hopeful that it will become clear that the officers are not to blame,” said Kenneth J. Murray, the lawyer for Joseph P. Gabrish and John A. Balcerzak, the fired officers. “Dahmer was an incredible con man.”
Testimony during Dahmer’s sanity trial indicated Dahmer had contact with several law enforcement and mental health officials during the time several of the killings took place, but he was never detected.