Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pleasure Serial Killers

Pleasure (or Hedonistic) killers are, as the name suggests, people who kill for fun or for satisfaction.  There are three subgroups in this classification: lust killers, thrill seekers and for-profit killers. Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the “Monster,” is an example of a lust killer.
Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 21, 1960. His father was an analytical chemist and, as a child, Jeffrey was fascinated with dissecting dead animals. By the time he was in his teens, he was an alcoholic and a loner. He dropped out of college and his father forced him to enlist in the Army. He was discharged after two years because of his heavy drinking. Not wanting to face his father, he moved in with his grandmother and lived there for six years. When he was arrested for exposing himself in public, his grandmother asked him to move out.
Dahmer was first arrested when he was caught fondling a thirteen year old boy in Milwaukee. He was sentenced to one year in a work release camp and, after serving ten months, he was released on probation for his good behavior. That’s when his killing spree began.
He committed his first murder when he was eighteen; the victim was a nineteen year old hitchhiker. For the most part, his victims were boys of Asian and African descent. His murders were gruesome! He tortured, forced sodomy and dismembered his victims, removing their limbs. He also practiced necrophilia (having sex with dead bodies) and cannibalism.
There was talk that a teenaged boy, taken by Dahmer to his house, almost escaped. Allegedly, he wandered into the streets without clothes and with Dahmer in close pursuit. Police found the boy and took him back to Dahmer’s house where Dahmer told him the boy was his partner. Unfortunately, the police believed him and, in spite of noticing a weird smell there, they left without investigating. Soon after, the boy was killed and Dahmer kept his skull as a souvenir.
Dahmer’s rein of terror lasted from 1978 to 1991. He was finally apprehended when a would-be victim escaped and alerted the police. He was convicted of fifteen murders and sentenced to fifteen life terms. He then expressed remorse and wished that he too would die. His wish was granted when he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate and died of severe head trauma.
In his will, Dahmer requested that his body be cremated but his mother wanted his brain to be preserved so that medical researchers could study it. His father didn’t agree and Dahmer’s parents went to court. In 1995, a judge ruled that his will be upheld and Jeffrey Dahmer’s body (and brain) were cremated.
Do you agree with the judge’s decision or with Dahmer’s mother?


  1. I think they should have kept the brain for study, though I doubt there would be much to learn from it. No matter how vile, I suspect choices are still choices. Dahmer knew what he was doing - he was a rational actor who desired something irrational, and he was willing to act on his desires.

    1. William,
      I agree with you and, no matter how vile his acts were, he did leave a will with his death preferences - not that he deserved to have his wishes honored but still. . . . where would we draw the line on respecting a person's last wishes?

  2. I have to be honest. Considering the things he did, I wouldn't care what his last wishes were. I'd like to be able to say he was probably mentally ill and couldn't help himself, but I can't because the things he did were so horrible. My heart breaks for his young victims.

    1. Marja,
      Not only his victims but their families. How horrible would it be to know that someone you loved had died by his hand?

  3. That is a hard question. Studying his brain might have lead to some insight on his behavior, but to refuse a dying request might be considered unethical. If even his parents were split on the question, how can we answer it?

  4. So true, Catherine. Thanks for stopping by.