What did Jeffrey Dahmer do? A look back at the infamous story

Even Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer in a new Netflix series, had to do some research on the notorious figure

jeffrey dahmer mugshot
(Image credit: Curt Borgwardt/Sygma via Getty Images)

What did Jeffrey Dahmer do? 

Netflix is revisiting the tragic string of crimes in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, where Evan Peters steps into the lead role. Though everyone is familiar with the killer's name, they might not necessarily be aware of specifics—even Peters admits to doing research before getting into character. 

"I watched that [Dahmer's 1994 interview with Stone Phillips] and then proceeded to read biographies," the actor revealed to Netflix. "It was so jaw-dropping that it all really happened that it felt important to be respectful to the victims, to the victims’ families, to try to tell the story as authentically as we could."

For those who are learning about the true crime story by way of a Netflix binge, here's what you need to know.


What did Jeffrey Dahmer do?

Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey's father, described his eldest son as reclusive and shy as a young boy in his memoir, A Father's Story. Despite all the horrible events that unfolded, he admitted on Larry King Live, "I loved him very deeply."

According to History.com, Jeffrey Dahmer was responsible for the murder of at least 17 men throughout a 13-year period. His victims were primarily young, gay African Americans that he brought back to his home, where he offered to take their nude photos in exchange for compensation. Once he succeeded in luring them into his house, Dahmer would drug and kill his victims, then mutilate and, at times, cannibalize them.

Who did Jeffrey Dahmer kill?

Though Dahmer is believed to have killed at least 17 men between 1978 and 1991, some suspect he is responsible for even more deaths that have gone unsolved. The names of his confirmed victims are as follows: 

  • Steven Hicks, 18
  • Steven Tuomi, 18
  • James Doxtator, 14
  • Richard Guerreo, 22
  • Anthony Sears, 24
  • Raymond Smith, 32
  • Edward Smith, 27
  • Earnest Miller, 22
  • David Courtney Thomas, 22
  • Curtis Straughter, 17
  • Errol Lindsey, 19
  • Anthony Hughes, 31
  • Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14
  • Matthew Turner, 20
  • Jeremiah Weinberger, 23
  • Oliver Lacy, 24
  • Joseph Bradehoft, 25

How was Jeffrey Dahmer caught?

When Tracy Edwards was running down Milwaukee streets handcuffed, authorities stopped to question what had happened, though they initially did not believe his claims that a man had tried to kill him...until they ventured to Dahmer's apartment. 

Once there, the serial killer almost talked his way out of any sort of punishments, until Polaroid photos of dismembered bodies were discovered and he was arrested. Once cops were able to take a deep dive into his home, they uncovered human remains—bodies decomposing in chemicals, heads in the refrigerator and skulls on top of computers. 

In the Netflix series, we learn about Dahmer's neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, who tried excessively to turn him in to police, but to no avail. One evening, Cleveland, her daughter, Sandra Smith, and her niece, Nicole Childress, saw a young, confused boy running out of Dahmer's apartment naked. Dahmer convinced police that the boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, was his boyfriend and an alcoholic—all of it was a "misunderstanding."

"We tried to give the policemen our names, but he just told us to butt out," Smith told AP of the crimes back in 1991. "I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want our names. I said, 'What are you going to do about this? This is a boy."

How did Jeffrey Dahmer die?

Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive sentences. He served them at Columbia Correctional Institute, where he was killed by another inmate, Christopher Scarver, while cleaning. 

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix. The three-part docu-series, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, will arrive on Netflix on October 7.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.