How did Jeffrey Dahmer die and how old was he? The murderer from Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Find out how the notorious serial killer met his end

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in an orange prison jumpsuit
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Events from the years he spent alive are highly documented, but what about his brutal death? This article contains distressing information, please read with caution... 

The despicable crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer have been catalogued in various films and documentaries, as the world remains intrigued about what could cause a man to act in the way he did. The latest Jeffrey Dahmer story on Netflix in docuseries form, has again piqued interest in the life and crimes of the Milwaukee Cannibal. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, depicts events through the lens of Dahmer’s victims, rather than the man himself - series creator Ryan Murphy wanted the focus to be on devastation caused to them and their families, which is a different take on events than previously brought to screens. Events surrounding his death are less spoken about, as we delve into exactly how Jeffrey Dahmer died, and how old he was at the time.

Interest is also high in exactly what Jeffrey Dahmer did to get caught-  we have this covered, and it's quite a story. Plus viewers are seeking information on where Tracy Edwards is now - the only victim of Dahmer's to escape.

How did Jeffrey Dahmer die? 

Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death on November 28, 1994 by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Facility in Wisconsin. Scarver bludgeoned Dahmer to death and the cause of death was recorded as severe skull and brain trauma.  

Scarver was serving a 25-year-sentence for armed robbery and murder, and he and Dahmer arrived at the Colombia Correctional Facility at the same time. Dahmer had spent the first year of his sentence in isolation, as the nature of his crimes put him at risk of harm from other inmates. He was later deemed safe to enter the general population, but not long afterwards in July 1992, an inmate attempted to slash his throat with a plastic knife. Believing this to be an isolated incident, staff continued to let Dahmer stay with the other 622 inmates in the general population. 

Why did Christopher Scarver kill Jeffrey Dahmer?

Scarver reportedly murdered Dahmer because of the way he taunted other inmates. According to Style Caster, Dahmer was known for fashioning food to look like dismembered limbs and putting them in places he knew would take them by surprise. 

Shocked by Dahmer’s unrepentant behaviour, Scarver initially tried to stay away from him, although reportedly kept newspaper clippings detailing his crimes. Scarver was one day placed on toilet cleaning duties with Dahmer, and concealed a metal bar from the prison gym in his clothing beforehand. He spotted an opportunity when the two were left unsupervised, and murdered his fellow inmate.  

In an interview, Scarver said, “I asked him if he did those things ’cause I was fiercely disgusted. He was shocked. Yes, he was. He started looking for the door pretty quick. I blocked him”. With two swings of the bar aimed at Dahmer’s head, his skull was crushed and he died one hour after arriving at hospital. Scarver’s final words on the violent incident were “He ended up dead. I put his head down”. 

How old was Jeffrey Dahmer when he died? 

Jeffrey Dahmer was 34-years old when he died on May 15, 1995. He had been sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment in 1992, and served almost three years before he was beaten to death. 

Scarver and Dahmer were not alone when Scarver bludgeoned Dahmer in the toilet block - fellow inmate Jesse Anderson was also with them. Scarver took the metal bar to Anderson, killing him also. According to iNews, Dahmer remained completely silent during the attack, and when questioned further about his motives, Scarver simply said “God told me to do it”. He was sentenced to two further terms of life imprisonment for the murders of Dahmer and Anderson. He is currently imprisoned at the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado.

When was Jeffrey Dahmer arrested? 

Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested on July 22, 1991. His confession came in the early hours of July 23, 1991, following Polaroids of dismembered bodies being found at his apartment, and a severed head in his refrigerator. 

Throughout the following weeks, Dahmer was interviewed for 60 hours, and refused to have a lawyer present during questioning. He easily admitted to all 16 murders he was later convicted for, his first dating back to 1978. He had no memory of the murder Steven Tuomi, after waking up next to his dead body in a hotel room - he was not therefore convicted of this murder. 

He also reported an upturn in the rate of his murders in the weeks leading up to his arrest, and agreed that his desires had grown out of control. On February 15, 1992, Dahmer was found guilty of his crimes, and began his sentence immediately. In his closing statements to the court, Dahmer conceded that he’d never again be free, acknowledging that he didn’t want to be, and at this stage wished for his own death.

What was Jeffrey Dahmer diagnosed with?

Jeffrey Dahmer was diagnosed with paraphilia, necrophilia, partialism, alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder, personality disorder with obsessive-compulsive and sadistic components, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder

According to Penn State University, borderline personality disorder affects the way sufferers think and feel about themselves and others. This causes problems with self-image, managing emotions and behaviour, and often leads to unstable relationships. Schizotypal personality disorder is characterised by severe social anxiety, disordered thinking, paranoid ideation, and transient psychosis with unconventional beliefs. Sufferers are often unable to maintain close relationships and avoid forming them.

Police mugshots of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders resulting in abnormal thought and perception. Dahmer displayed many symptoms of these disorders throughout his childhood, and those who analysed him concluded that his childhood issues, alcoholism, and homosexuality at a time it was unacceptable when it wasn’t accepted, compounded his issues. They pointed out that he might not have been entirely responsible for his actions, although he was certified sane at the time of his trial. 

What did Jeffrey Dahmer’s dad say about him? 

Jeffrey Dahmer's dad, Lionel Dahmer, reiterated he only saw Jeffrey as shy growing up, and was never concerned about his behaviour. 

Speaking on Larry King Live, he did admit that he was away from the family a lot pursuing his studies and career, and failed to notice Dahmer’s obsession with roadkill and hurting animals. He said “If I had known about the roadkill ... I would have done something immediately. Intervened. Don't disregard shyness. Things can be fermenting in that young mind. Dig. ... I wasn't tuned to that ... in the '50s and '60s, especially with men, you weren't really taught to be a psychologist”.

Lionel Dahmer has taken part in many TV show interviews to discuss his son, each time maintaining his shock at what his son became. He initially laid blame with Jeffrey’s mother Joyce, arguing that she took prescription drugs while pregnant and spent hours at a time ignoring Jeffrey. She refuted these allegations and counter argued that Jeffrey had been very much loved as a child, and she too didn’t ever notice any red flags in her son’s behaviour. 

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.