(WJW) — Jeffrey Dahmer had just graduated from high school in Ohio when he killed his first victim, an 18-year-old Coventry Township man.
Dahmer, the depraved serial killer known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, who raped, killed, dismembered and cannibalized his victims, admitted to 17 murders over 13 years — the first of which happened near Akron, in Dahmer’s childhood home along West Bath Road in Bath Township.
The Wisconsin-born Dahmer moved to the Summit County home with his parents at 8 years old, according to Ohio History Connection.
Netflix’s latest true crime docuseries, “Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes,” debuting Oct. 7, “uses never-before-heard audio interviews between Dahmer and his defense team to answer the big question: Why was Dahmer, who had been convicted of sexual assault of a minor in 1988, able to avoid suspicion and detection from police as he stalked Milwaukee’s gay scene for victims, many of whom were people of color?” according to Netflix companion site Tudum.
“The three-part docuseries not only delves into the killer’s warped psyche but also examines police accountability through a modern-day lens.”
Dahmer’s Ohio slaying
Dahmer killed and dismembered 18-year-old Steven Mark Hicks, of Coventry Township, on June 18, 1978, not long after Dahmer graduated from Revere High School in Richfield.
That morning, Hicks was hitchhiking when friends picked him up and brought him to the former Chippewa Lake Park in Medina County.
″We spent the day together. When we got ready to leave, Steve said he would meet us … but he never showed up. Someone said he was thumbing home,″ one of Hicks’ friends told the Associated Press in 1991.
Dahmer picked the man up, enticing him back to his West Bath Road home with beer. When Hicks tried to leave, Dahmer choked and beat him to death with a barbell rod. He cut up his body and pulverized the remains with a hammer, scattering them around his home, AP reported.
“I didn’t want him to leave,” Dahmer said.
After Dahmer confessed to the killings, he told investigators how to find the remains. He pleaded guilty to Hicks’ death in a Summit County court in 1992. Prosecutors said Dahmer was brought back to Ohio so Hicks’ family could express their emotions, AP reported.
Dahmer’s past — and death
Dahmer had a troubled childhood and started drinking in his early teens.
″He was tortured and lost at a very early age,″ Martha Schmidt, who knew Dahmer in high school, told AP in 1991.
″His behavior was always on the edge. He seemed to cry out for help, but nobody paid any attention to him at all.″
Neighbors said Dahmer preserved animal remains in jars with formaldehyde and even kept a little cemetery of animal corpses, with skulls placed atop grave markers.
Dahmer briefly attended Ohio State University but failed out in his first semester. He then joined the military. He was discharged for drinking four years later, AP reported.
Not long after, he moved to Wisconsin, where he killed most of his 17 victims in his 13-year spree. After admitting to the slayings, he was sentenced to 15 life sentences totaling more than 900 years in prison.
Dahmer was processed at Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton before being sent to Wisconsin to serve his sentence, according to AP.
He was beaten to death in 1994 by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver, who said he was “disgusted” by Dahmer’s killings.
“Some people who are in prison are repentant — but he was not one of them,” Scarver told the New York Post.
Dahmer’s Ohio home
Dahmer’s West Bath Road home was most recently sold in 2005 to a musician, Summit County auditor records show, and it continues to be a private residence. The owner declined an interview with FOX 8 for this article.
A true crime obsession
The lurid details of Dahmer’s murders have inspired true crime films and TV shows for years.
“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” a Netflix drama featuring Evan Peters in the titular role but told from his victims’ perspectives, premiered on Sept. 21 and quickly shot to the top of the streaming service’s charts.
“My Friend Dahmer,” a 2017 film based on the account of one of Dahmer’s high school classmates, was filmed in northeast Ohio.