5 People Who Knew Jeffrey Dahmer Describe What He Was Like

Here's vintage testimony from five people on what Dahmer was really like. 

Jeffrey Dahmer was one of America's most notorious serial killers. The legacy of the necrophilic cannibal has frightened and fascinated many for years. Although Dahmer's early life was not without strife, many failed to see the warning signs that would lead to his murderous habits. Dahmer eventually confessed to numerous killings after being caught, but few people can say they were truly close to the madman or really could understand his motives. Here's vintage testimony from five people on what Dahmer was really like. 

1. John "Derf" Backderf

Author of the graphic novel "My Friend Dahmer" (a film version of which is set to debut in theaters next month) describes his bizarre acquaintanceship with the young Dahmer while the two attended high school.

"We were friends from seventh grade until high school graduation... it was a crucial period in our adolesence where Dahmer was steadily marching inexorably towards the abyss... He got darker and darker and darker," says Backderf. "The drinking which was out of control (he was self-medicating to try to quell the voices that were pounding inside his skull) — it was a sinister time. For a while he amused us, he was a funny guy ... We pulled him into our social net ... but at a certain point we pushed him away."

2. Lionel Dahmer

Dahmer's father penned the book "A Father's Story" to describe the strange childhood of his son.

“There were the things he used to sustain life: a box of fish food. And the things he'd used to take it: a pair of nickel-plated handcuffs," he writes of his son.

3. Shari Dahmer

In an interview with Larry King, Shari Dahmer (Jeffrey's step-mother), had this to say about her husband's offspring: "[Dahmer's behavior] was not something anyone wanted to discuss because it was so abhorrent... He was sexually deviant. He obviously found satisfaction with something dead."

4. Joyce Dahmer

Joyce Dahmer, Jeffrey's biological mother, has since passed away. But before she died she offered the following insight in an interview: "He was a beautiful baby. He was a wonderful child who had always been loved ... I knew that I had done a good job as a parent. This had to come from something outside of Jeff."

5. Christopher Scarver

The prisoner who ultimately ended Dahmer's life revealed details about the notorious killer's behavior in prison. In an interview with the New York Post, Scarver said that Dahmer "crossed the line with some people — prisoners, prison staff. Some people who are in prison are repentant — but he was not one of them.”

A new Oxygen two-night event offers an in-depth look at the infamous serial killer with new and exclusive interviews from those closest to him, including parents Lionel and Shari Dahmer, who haven’t spoken about this case or their son publicly in over 20 years, and surviving victims Billy Capshaw and Preston Davis, who have decided to finally break their silence about what happened to them. Tune in to Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks for new exclusive interviews and revelations. 

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

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