Dahmer detectives talk about serial killer's confession

CREATED Jul 18, 2011

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MILWAUKEE - Patrick Kennedy knew right away something was wrong when he walked into Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment on that hot, sticky summer night in 1991.

“As soon as we walked into the foyer you could smell dead bodies or dead body,” said Kennedy. “Most police officers know that smell.”

It would be the first of a series of startling, gruesome discoveries.

“When are you starting to realize there's something really creepy going on inside this apartment?”, asked TODAY’S TMJ4 Reporter Charles Benson. “Well immediately!”, said Kennedy.

Officers in the apartment told Kennedy to check out Dahmer's refrigerator.

“So I walked over and looked in the refrigerator and when I opened the refrigerator there was a, in a box, this freshly severed black male's head with his eyes and his mouth opened looking at me.”

As the hours passed, police would find more heads and more disturbing details about Jeffrey Dahmer. They were in the early stages of unraveling the sick mind of a serial killer.

Dennis Murphy was home in bed when he got the early morning call to report to work.

“He says come in right away we've got a homicide we've got ten heads in the apartment and I thought they were screwing with me so I hung up they called me back and said no we're not,” remembers Dennis Murphy.

Murphy was the rock solid veteran detective, Kennedy, the rookie.  For the next six weeks, they would spend just about every waking hour talking with Dahmer.

Charles Benson asked Kennedy: “When Dahmer first told you all this stuff do you believe him?”

“No, not originally, because the first thing he said was when I tell you what happened you'll be famous and I said: ‘Yeah, right!’

And right he was. Dahmer confessed to multiple murders within hours after being taken into custody . 

Charles Benson asked Murphy, “You've looked into the face of a lot of killers. What did you see when you looked into Jeffrey Dahmer?”

“I saw a lonely person,” said Murphy. "He was cold, he was cunning. Everything he did was planned.”

And he remembered every detail. Four days after Dahmer started talking, Detectives Kennedy and Murphy had solved 17 murders.

“He knew exactly within the day, when he picked the people up, when he killed them where he threw the evidence or bones,” said Murphy.

Benson asked Kennedy, “He is giving detail on how he has dissected people?”


“Eating people?”

“Right! Sometimes while we are having lunch or breakfast with him,” said Kennedy.

But occasionally the conversation would change from the bizarre to the very bland.

“After we talked to him about the murders we would talk about common ordinary life and then we got into his lifestyle,” said Murphy.

Benson asked, “Did he understand common, ordinary life?”

“Oh yeah,” said Kennedy. “That's was the thing about him. I mean if you talked to him again you would not get the idea that he was crazy. He was so much like me and you it was scary.”

Murphy stayed in touch with Dahmer over the years. He visited him in prison to follow up on other cases.

Police had fielded hundreds of claims from people who thought Dahmer might have killed their loved one.

None panned out.

Murphy will never forget what Dahmer told him the last time they talked.

Benson asked Murphy, “He predicted his own death in prison?”

“He told me he was going into general population and he would be dead in six months,” said Murphy.

In November 1994, 5 months after that conversation - Dahmer was beaten to death.

Benson asked Murphy, “And he told you if he ever got attacked in prison he wouldn't fight back?


"He wanted to die?"