Jeffrey Dahmer: The Man, the Monster, and the Questions left Unanswered


Kami Huff, Staff Writer

Murderer. Monster. Wicked. So many words come to mind when the name “Jeffrey Dahmer” is mentioned. Everyone knows the name, and everyone has heard the horrendous story of his criminal span. However, not until recently has the public taken sincere time to think about the evil crimes of the Ohio-born man like never before.

While Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes took place decades ago, they have once again come to light as the Netflix documentary, Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story was released on September 21, 2022. Forensic science and criminal justice have intrigued me for years, so when I heard about the release of the television documentary, I immediately had to hop on the bandwagon and watch the show in front of everyone’s minds. Like many, watching Monster introduced emotions to me that I hadn’t felt for a long time. I had heard of Jeffrey Dahmer and his criminal activity before, but once I watched the documentary, my curiosity truly set off. I felt hurt, pain, and anger for the victims of Dahmer and it pained me to realize the failure of society that prolonged Dahmer’s arrest. Due to this, I fact-checked the overall strikingly accurate documentary and did my own research on the events that occurred.

The documentary followed Dahmer’s entire life from birth until the day he was murdered at a correctional center. For the first time ever, the series portrayed the victims of Dahmer as people instead of statistics. The stories through the victims’ eyes as well as Dahmer’s were told. I believe that this is what made the series so memorable for me and others. The series showed Dahmer’s tactics of convincing his victims to come home with him from the promise of money to intimate physical favors. The TV show also descriptively follows Jeffrey as he adapts his sickening killing methods and how they were traced back to his childhood. 

After Dahmer was convicted and his apartment as well as the house in Bath, Ohio was traced and investigated, it was discovered that Dahmer had taken the lives of seventeen men and boys, most of whom the documentary gave a heart-wrenching tribute story. The names and ages of each victim were: Steven Hicks (18), Steven Tuomi (28), Jamie Doxtator (14), Richard Guerrero (25), Anthony Sears (24), Ricky Beeks (33), Eddie Smith (28), Ernest Miller (24), David Thomas (23), Curtis Straughter (18), Errol Lindsey (19), Anthony Hughes (31), Konerak Sinthasomphone (14), Matt Turner (20), Oliver Lacey (23), and Joseph Bradehoft (25). Each victim story portrayed in the documentary pulled at viewers’ heartstrings, but one in particular still raises red flags in society today, and that was the story of Konerak Sinthasomphone.

Sinthasomphone’s life was short and ended horribly, but as portrayed in the documentary, there are many questions to be asked that will be left without a direct answer to the public about the situation. Both Konerak and his brother were taken advantage of by Dahmer, but only one brother got out alive. As the actor playing Konerak Sinthasomphone in the documentary talked about, Konerak’s brother was molested by Dahmer before Konerak became a victim. Dahmer was said to have been arrested after the attempted assault of Konerak’s brother. However, as displayed in the TV show, when Dahmer appears to Konerak promising money, Konerak realizes Dahmer is not in jail. 

Now, Sinthasomphone knew that Dahmer had assaulted his brother and recognized him, yet still went to Dahmer because he felt he needed the money. This brings about the first immediate question: Why would a fourteen-year-old risk his safety over money knowing exactly who the man was and that he was a criminal? Despite this, the events that followed made everything even worse. Like his brother, at first, Konerak managed to escape Dahmer. He made it outside of the apartment complex, but due to being drugged as Dahmer did to many of his victims, he was not fully comprehending the activity around him. He was found by neighboring women who tried to bring him to his senses. The TV show displays a middle-aged woman attempting to ask him his name and age. The cops were called, and at first, while watching, I thought that this was going to be where Dahmer was captured. 

Instead, Jeffrey Dahmer wanders from his apartment when he realizes Sinthasomphone escaped, and he finds the woman along with the mostly nude, severely drugged Konerak. Beside them were police officers, asking questions about the boy. The documentary shows one police officer asking, “What’s your name, son?” and another trying to wake him up. When the attempts fail, Dahmer speaks up from the shadows. “Why, that’s my boyfriend, sir. He’s just drunk and wandered away. He’s not a child. He’s nineteen.”

From there, what happened next was gut-wrenching. Without any true proof, investigation, or attempt to hear from Konerak himself, the police officers escorted Sinthasomphone right back to the harm of Dahmer’s apartment where a body of one of the victims lay in the same room the one officer “took a look” in. From a simple photograph of Konerak shown to the cops by Dahmer, the police officer left Konerak there without a second care.

As a viewer, questions swirled through my mind, questions that may never be answered. Why didn’t they ask for better identification? How could they possibly believe that he was nineteen? Was it solely due to racism that it didn’t matter? How did they not recognize the smell of rotting flesh? Whatever the answers to the questions in mind are, one thing is for certain: society failed Konerak Sinthasomphone, despite the pleas of the women at the corner in Milwaukee that knew he was in danger.

The series started out illustrating how Dahmer was captured. The final attempted victim was thankfully never killed and he escaped and brought the police to Dahmer’s apartment, where the reveal finally took place, despite one Milwaukee woman’s desire for the apartment to be investigated earlier: Glenda Cleveland. Why wouldn’t they believe her and take a look around? Despite racism being a factor, we may never know. Shortly before Dahmer’s apartment was raided by the cops, the TV show introduces a new neighbor: Dean Vaughn. There is a short scene where he is welcomed to the complex and meets Dahmer, but after that, he disappears.

After doing research, I discovered that the true story is just the same. Shortly after moving in, Vaughn was found strangled in his apartment. They could never trace an individual responsible for Dean’s death, and it is still a Milwaukee cold case today. As a curious individual, I ask, Was Dean Vaughn Jeffrey Dahmer’s eighteenth victim but there simply wasn’t enough time before being convicted for Dahmer to claim him like the others? Seeing as though the case is still unsolved after decades, we may never know the answer. That’s certainly something to be spooked about this October. 

Towards the end of the documentary, there are scenes that show Dahmer coming to repentance for his actions and even proclaiming his new Christian beliefs that he encountered while in prison. In one interview with Dahmer, he states, “I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.” Therefore, according to the Christian Bible, if he was being sincere, Dahmer is in Heaven. As a Christian, I have multiple emotions regarding this scenario. Many people of the Christian belief across the country have begun to discuss the topic of Dahmer making it into Heaven. The titles on Google are still constantly updating with new opinions on the matter being published. 

My first question was, How could a man like Jeffrey Dahmer make it to the arms of Jesus? That was until I took the time to recognize the Christian idea of grace. If he was sincere in his proclamation, Dahmer accepted Jesus into his life, just like millions of others of the Christian belief across the world. According to God’s grace, he receives the same acceptance into Heaven as anyone else who believes. 

Now, this does not say that his actions here on Earth were at all acceptable. He was a truly evil man with a psychological stance that I myself will never comprehend. However, I believe that sin is strong, but Jesus’s forgiveness is stronger. Still, the questions stand, Was Jeffrey Dahmer sincere about what he proclaimed? Did he simply just want to feel better about himself? Again, the answer we will never know. 

No matter what one’s opinion is on the topic of religion and Dahmer’s proclamation, it’s important to recognize that Jeffrey Dahmer pleaded guilty to his actions and did not try to make up stories about what happened. The series on Netflix even shows Dahmer lying on the ground, pinned by cops, as he states, “I should be dead for what I’ve done.” So, why did he do what he did if he did feel it was wrong? What was in his mind, his emotions? I will ask myself that forever.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a twisted individual with one of the darkest and evilest brains in history. His ability to brainwash young men and boys will likely always be a mystery to society. Our hearts will forever ache for those who reached out because they had a feeling about Dahmer yet their voices were silenced. As a whole, Dahmer’s case was a cry for help that we as people have to stop being so blind. The world outside is scary, and it could be just around the corner. Will Jeffrey Dahmer’s name and the horrible things he did ever be forgotten? To this question, there actually is an answer. Jeffrey Dahmer will be infamous for the rest of eternity.