'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story' : How the Serial Killer Was Caught

Netflix's new true crime series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story starring Evan Peters details Jeffrey Dahmer's gruesome murders and how he was caught

Photo: EUGENE GARCIA/AFP via Getty, Courtesy Of Netflix

Netflix is telling the terrifying true story of Jeffrey Dahmer with its new Ryan Murphy series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

Starring Evan Peters as the titular serial killer, the true crime drama follows Dahmer's numerous murders through the lens of his victims.

The series was first announced in March 2021 with the American Horror Story alum attached to lead, and is the latest in a series of projects to recount Dahmer's murders.

Dahmer raped, murdered, and dismembered at least 17 men and boys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, between 1978 and 1991, shocking the world with the extent of his crimes, including cannibalism and necrophilia.

While the series gives a closer look at his victims, it also highlights one victim who got away and played a significant role in Dahmer's eventual arrest.

Here's everything to know about how Jeffrey Dahmer was finally caught in 1991, including his arrest and sentencing.

What crimes did Jeffrey Dahmer commit?

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Dahmer committed his first murder in 1978, just three weeks after he graduated from high school, when he picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks and lured him back to his house. When Hicks attempted to leave, Dahmer bludgeoned Hicks with a 10-pound dumbbell before strangling him to death.

Following the murder of Hicks, Dahmer enrolled at Ohio State University, where he dropped out after one term as a result of his persistent alcohol abuse. He later enlisted in the United States Army where he received an honorable discharge, per The New York Times.

He returned to Ohio to live with his father and stepmother, where his heavy drinking continued. He was later sent to live with his grandmother in Wisconsin where he struggled to hold down a job and faced several arrests, including indecent exposure and disorderly conduct, according to Biography.com.

In November 1987, Dahmer killed again when he drugged a man named Steven Tuomi and seemingly attacked him during a blackout. He later admitted to having no recollection of Tuomi's murder. Following the murder of Tuomi, Dahmer began actively seeking victims to seduce and kill. By 1991, he had killed seventeen men and boys.

How was Jeffrey Dahmer caught?

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In July 1991, Dahmer approached three men offering them money to pose for nude photographs. A man named Tracy Edwards agreed and followed Dahmer back to his apartment, where Dahmer handcuffed him and held a knife to his chest telling Edwards he intended to eat his heart, as reported by ABC News.

Edwards was eventually able to escape by punching Dahmer and knocking him to the ground, allowing him to run through the unlocked front door. He was able to flag down two Milwaukee police officers, whom he led back to Dahmer's apartment.

When they arrived, the offers noticed an open drawer that contained Polaroid pictures of human bodies in various stages of dismemberment. Once Dahmer saw the Polaroid pictures, he tried to flee, but they overpowered him and cuffed him, per History.com.

Following his arrest ​​on July 22, Dahmer gave a detailed confession to police, confessing to "a total of 17 slayings," per AP.

What was Jeffrey Dahmer convicted for?

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After his confession, Dahmer was charged with four counts of first-degree intentional homicide on July 25, followed by eight more murder charges on Aug. 6 and three more on Aug. 22, bringing the total to 15 in Wisconsin, per AP.

In September 1991, Dahmer pleaded "innocent and innocent by reason of mental disease" but later changed his plea to "guilty but insane" in January 1992. As psychologist Dr. Holly Schiff told A&E True Crime, by choosing to plead insanity, "Dahmer had the burden to prove to the jurors [since 10 out of 12 must agree] that he was insane at the time of the killings." The network adds that if proven sane, he would be sent to prison, but if declared insane, "Dahmer would be sent to a state institution, from which he could later petition for release."

His trial began on Jan. 30, 1992, and closing arguments were given on Feb. 14, 1992. The following day, Dahmer was ruled to be sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time of each of the murders. He was convicted of 16 of the murders and sentenced to 16 life terms in prison.

How did Jeffrey Dahmer die?

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Though he was transferred to Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin after his sentencing, his time in jail didn't last long. On Nov. 28, 1994, he was bludgeoned to death by a fellow inmate. He was 34.

Since then, he has been the focus of various TV and film projects, including the 2002 biographical film Dahmer starring Jeremy Renner, the 2017 film My Friend Dahmer starring Ross Lynch, and most recently the TV series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story starring Peters.

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