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Crime News Serial Killers

Why Did Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer Keep His Victims' Bodies?

Jeffrey Dahmer kept his victims after he killed them for sexual satisfaction, as the serial explained to his attorneys in Netflix's "Conversations With a Killer." 

By Gina Tron
The Jeffrey Dahmer Case, Explained

It’s no secret that Jeffrey Dahmer kept the remains of his victims, or at least parts of them, around after he killed them. But, why?

Dahmer, who pleaded guilty to 15 deaths, had admitted to killing 17 men and boys, many of whom were Black and gay, between 1978 to 1991. When he was arrested, following the escape of his final victim Tracy Edwards, police found body parts of victims all over Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment.

The serial killer was known for his sexual attraction to the remains of his victims. In fact, he kept all his victims after they died so he could perform sexual acts on their corpses, the Associated Press reported

Judith Becker, a defense psychologist, testified during Dahmer’s insanity trial that he got a sexual thrill from even eating body parts of the victims.

″Periodically, he would take portions out of the freezer and cook them,″ she testified during his insanity trial. ″While he ate, he would become sexually aroused.″

RELATED: These Are The Chilling Crime Scene Photos From Jeffrey Dahmer's Apartment

Before he moved into the now-demolished apartment where he was arrested, Dahmer lived with his grandmother and kept a male mannequin in the bedroom with him for sexual purposes. He was also known for drugging men at gay bars, including ones who survived, so he could sexually assault them while they were unconscious.

During his trial, Becker also testified that Dahmer used a drill to perform brain surgery on some of his victims. The purpose was to transform them into “sexually pliant ‘zombies,’ but [he] strangled them when he realized they might leave,” according to the Associated Press.

Jeffrey Dahmer G

Dr. Kenneth Smail, a forensic psychologist, noted in Netflix’s Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes” that Dahmer would use sleeping pills to render his victims asleep. In the docuseries, Dahmer admitted in newly played tapes that he killed victim James Doxtator, 14, at his grandmother's house because he didn’t want him to leave. He said he wanted to “keep” the teen. He murdered him before sexually defiling the corpse for multiple days.

Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist for the prosecution in Dahmer’s case, stated in the docuseries that “what corpses, mannequins, and unconscious people all have in common is they don’t make demands, they don’t complain, and they don’t leave.”

He emphasized, “For Dahmer, that’s the big one.”

In “Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes,” audio tapes reveal that Dahmer blamed his actions on "a constant feeling of emptiness, and not being able to find anything in life that really gave me a sense of happiness, peace, or fulfillness.”

Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences in prison in 1992 but did not serve much of it — two years later, he was bludgeoned to death in prison by a fellow inmate while he was cleaning toilets near a workout room. He was 34 when inmate Christopher Scarver, 25, attacked him with an iron bar.

For more on Jeffrey Dahmer, watch the Oxygen special "Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks."