Dahmer's Belongings Destroyed
Jun. 27, 1996
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Belongings of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer including ``tools of death'' he apparently used to torture and kill many of his 17 victims have been destroyed, a civic group said today.
The belongings were destroyed Wednesday, the day after Columbia County Circuit Judge Daniel George approved their release to the Milwaukee Civic Pride Fund, spokesman Michael Mervis said.
The fund's leader, real estate magnate Joseph Zilber, said in a statement that his intent was that ``these tools of death be permanently destroyed.''
Among the items in Dahmer's estate were utensils he may have used to cannibalize victims, saws and blades and a refrigerator where police found human heads.
Families of some of Dahmer's victims had earlier obtained a court order turning the items over to them. They had planned to auction them and take the proceeds as compensation for their pain and suffering.
Zilber was horrified at the thought of a grisly auction of Dahmer's things, so he raised $407,225 to buy the objects from the family members.
Dahmer, a former Milwaukee chocolate factory worker, confessed to killing, dismembering and in some cases cannibalizing 17 young men and boys before his 1991 arrest at his Milwaukee apartment. He was bludgeoned to death by another inmate in state prison in November 1994.
Mervis said Dahmer's effects were destroyed out of state at a Waste Management Inc. site.
``No one will ever be able to find them again,'' he said.
Mervis said the collection and destruction of the items was videotaped and photographed, but the pictures will not be made available to the public.
``Yesterday was a very difficult and long day. But when it was over, it was clearly over,'' he said.
Robert Steuer, the attorney named by the judge to represent the estate, said he had turned over to Zilber's group Wednesday items that Dahmer had with him at the Columbia Correctional Institution when he was slain by another inmate there.
Mervis said the group also obtained Wednesday items that had been held by the Milwaukee Police Department since Dahmer's arrest.
The items from both locations were then taken away in a Waste Management truck, he said.
Janie Hagen, the sister of Dahmer victim Richard Guerrero, was among several members of victims' families who attended the news conference announcing destruction of the belongings.
``I'm glad it's over with, but it's not over for my family. The memories will always be there,'' she said.
The inventory of items includes many _ but not all _ of Dahmer's possessions. Several other people have come forward since Zilber's offer was made public, claiming that they, too, have items that once belonged to the serial killer.
Tom Jacobson, a lawyer who represents eight of the families, said Wednesday that he is donating his fees of nearly $29,000 to Wisconsin charities in memory of Dahmer's victims.
``The intent from the very beginning was to bring some measure of compassion to the victims' families to aid them in recovering for their terrible loss,'' he said. ``This effort was from the very first about justice.''
The 11 families who had filed claims earlier will receive $32,500 each from the money provided by the civic group, Jacobson said.