The father of convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has died.
Lionel Dahmer was 87 years old, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
In 1991, the Akron Beacon Journal sat down with the elder Dahmer after his son’s crimes came to light.
He said he loved his son unconditionally, the newspaper reported.
“How could anyone be polite and kind and pretty normal otherwise and yet do these things unless they are extremely troubled and insane?” Lionel Dahmer told the Beacon Journal more than 30 years ago. He said his son “was not born a monster.”
Lionel Dahmer was born in a Milwaukee suburb on July 29, 1936. He attended the University of Wisconsin, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959. He and his wife, Joyce, married the same year and welcomed their son Jeffrey the following year.
After getting his master’s and doctorate degrees, Lionel Dahmer moved his family to Bath Township, Ohio, where he worked as a chemist for PPG Industries.
Lionel and Joyce Dahmer had rough times while Jeffrey Dahmer was growing up, with Joyce leaving her husband and older son in Ohio and moving back to Wisconsin in the summer of 1978.
That is the same year that Jeffrey Dahmer picked up 18-year-old Steven Hicks, who had been hitchhiking. He became the serial killer’s first victim when he was murdered in the Dahmer home on June 18, 1978.
In 1989, Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to five years probation for child molestation. Lionel Dahmer asked the judge to give his son the maximum sentence for the crime and get him treatment, writing to the judge, “This may be our last chance to institute something effective,” the Beacon Journal reported.
The court didn’t, and Jeffrey was again facing charges in 1991, this time for murder after admitting that he killed 17 men and boys over the years. He said he had murdered, dismembered and cannibalized his victims, TMZ reported.
He had been handed 15 life sentences, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Lionel Dahmer visited Jeffrey every month while he served his time before he was beaten to death in 1994, at the age of 34. The father even wrote a book about his son in 1994, admitting that as a father, he operated on “a level of obliviousness, or perhaps denial, that was scarcely imaginable” while raising Jeffrey.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Lionel Dahmer recorded his visits with his son, and at one time he could be heard telling the younger Dahmer, “I had weird thoughts too in my childhood. You’re just like me, Jeff. Amazing all the times that I should have been caught I never was. Nothing. Absolutely nothing is too great not to be forgiven.”
The tapes were streamed earlier this year on Fox Nation, Fox News Channel’s subscription-based service, under the title “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes.”
Still, Lionel told “Inside Edition” in 1992, of his son’s crimes, “I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with it. Nothing will ever be the same again. We will go on with life … but part of our minds can never forget this nightmare.”
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