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Jeffrey Dahmer Was Not Insane

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1st October 2022
Jeffrey Dahmer Was Not Insane
Jeffrey Dahmer was found to be legally sane (Getty).

The Claim

Jeffrey Dahmer was insane. 

Emerging story

Social media users have recently widely shared claims purporting that the American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was insane. 

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be misleading. 

In 1992, a jury found Jeffrey Dahmer to be legally sane and convicted him for a series of gruesome murders.


Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal

Jeffrey Dahmer, the American serial killer, and sex offender, was born on May 21, 1960. Between 1978 and 1991, the now notorious Dahmer raped, murdered, and dismembered 17 males. Dahmer was also found guilty of necrophiliac sex offenses and cannibalism.

On July 22, 1991, Tracy Edwards, one of Dahmer’s victims, managed to escape and alert the local police.  

When the police searched Dahmer’s apartment, the police found human remains, including severed heads. After he was arrested, Dahmer confessed to committing 17 murders. 

Despite his confession, Dahmer pleaded not guilty only to change his plea to “guilty but insane.”

Was Dahmer Insane?

During Dahmer’s trial, several psychiatrists analyzed the serial killer’s behavior and motives. 

Dr. George Palermo, a psychiatrist appointed by the court, mentioned that Dahmer suffered from antisocial personality disorders, but he did not meet the legal definition of insanity.

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Photo Description: Media reports after Dahmer’s trial (New York Times).

The forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Elliott Dietz also pointed out signs of sanity, which manifested in Dahmer’s careful avoidance of unprotected sexual intercourse.

On February 15, 1992, 10 out of 12 jurors found Dahmer to be legally sane. Judge Laurence C. Gram sentenced Dahmer to 15 consecutive life terms in prison.

In 1994, Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate at Wisconsin’s Columbia Correctional Institution. The inmate, Christopher Scarver, confessed that he killed him because of his provocative remarks about cannibalism.

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”

The claim is being shared after the release of the hit series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” by the popular streaming platform “Netflix.” Despite the contradictory criticism it has garnered, the show has set a new record as Netflix's most-watched new series during the first week of its release.

The show, starring Evan Peters as Dahmer, was watched for 196.2 million hours during its first week, and became the number one TV show on Netflix in more than 60 countries.

While some viewers criticized the show for overly humanizing Dahmer, others praised it for exposing the institutional racism of the police.

Some of the family members of Dahmer’s victims also criticized the show for reviving their trauma.


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