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Notorious sex offender and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 men between from 1978 to 1991. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms, and then murdered by a fellow prison inmate in 1994.
Aileen Wuornos - Full Episode (43:53)
Richard Speck - Full Episode (44:27)
A short biography of Jeffrey Dahmer, one of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century. His crimes included luring victims into his home and strangling them before dismembering their bodies.
The full episode of "Biography: Aileen Wuornos."
Richard Speck massacred eight nurses in Chicago in 1966. BIO explores his life of crime and examines his trial.
Gary Ridgway was a serial killer in the mid 1980's. Several women were murdered near Seattle in the Green River. Ridgway cruised the strip and lured prostitutes and runaways to their deaths.
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Necrophilia is generally associated with issues of exercising control over victims. Dahmer developed these rituals as he progressed, experimenting with chemical means of disposal, and he also consumed the flesh of his victims. He attempted crude lobotomies, drilling into victim's skulls while they were still alive, injecting them with Muriatic acid to see whether he could extend his control to the living. Most of these victims died instantly,
but he claimed that one victim had survived for a number of days in a zombie-like state, with limited motor function.
He was careful to select victims on the fringes of society, who were often itinerant or borderline criminal, making their disappearances less noticeable, and his likelihood of capture that much less. There have been claims that he was racially motivated, as most of his victims were African-American. However, it is equally likely that his victims were simply part of the demographic among residents of the poor neighborhood in which Dahmer lived, and not carefully selected.
This racial motive did, however, figure largely in the case of his 13th victim, a 14-year-old Laotian boy who was, coincidentally, the younger brother of the boy he had been convicted of molesting three years earlier.
On May 26, 1991, Dahmer's African-American neighbor, Sandra Smith, called the police to report that a young Asian boy was running naked in the street. When the police arrived, the boy was incoherent, and they accepted the word of Dahmer, a white man in a largely poor African-American community, that the boy was his 19-year-old lover who had had too much to drink, over the protestations of Smith and her daughter, who could clearly see that the boy was terrified of Dahmer. Smith's subsequent enquiries, through the local authorities, were also not taken seriously.
The police escorted Dahmer and the boy home and, clearly not wishing to become embroiled in a homosexual domestic disturbance, took a cursory look around before leaving. Once the police left the scene, Dahmer strangled the boy and proceeded with his usual rituals. Had they conducted even a basic search, police officers would have found the body of Dahmer's 12th victim decomposing in the bedroom, and enough photographic evidence to immediately arrest the serial killer.
Dahmer's luck finally ran out on July 22, 1991, when two Milwaukee police officers picked up Tracy Edwards, a young African-American man who was wandering the streets with a handcuff dangling from his wrist. They decided to investigate the man's claims that a "weird dude" had drugged and restrained him, and arrived at Dahmer's apartment, where he calmly offered to get the keys for the handcuffs.
Edwards claimed that the knife Dahmer had threatened him with was in the bedroom and, when the officer went in to corroborate the story, he noticed photographs of dismembered bodies lying around, which included one of a head in the fridge. He shouted to his colleague to restrain Dahmer, who fought back fiercely, but was nevertheless subdued.
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Many of the most horrifying acts of violence are committed by serial killers. Always looking for next victim, these murderers kill again and again, never fully satisfied by their bloody deeds. Their twisted motivations—and even more twisted techniques—land the people in this group among the most frightening criminals in history.
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