Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the popular American serial killers who confessed to mutilating and brutally murdering bodies of 17 victims yet he plead not guilty on the grounds of insanity.
Background of the Case
On 21 August,1991, he was accused of committing 15 crimes two of which were first degree murder and rest were first degree intentional homicide. He was accused of habitual criminality involving public misconduct and exposure to molestation of a minor and children.
Psychological Issues Involved in the Case
Jeffrey Dahmer has subject to psychological and psychiatric researches that aimed that were used as a defense for committing murder and paraphillas. He was deemed insane by the jury and was held to be suffering from mental disorder and had psychiatrist who testified that he was not suffering from insanity (Fox & Levin, 2013). He was fully aware of the misconduct and the wrongs that he was committing and had an opportunity to control his behavior but he consciously decided to mutilate and murder his victims. Both the defense and prosecution presented testimonies before the court regarding a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant. The defense argued that he could control his paraphillic urges but the prosecution argued that he had a choice but he consciously committed the wrongs.
Outcome of the Prosecution
The defendant’s actions were considered as illegal as per the Wisconsin Statutes under section 940.01 which held that he was guilty of causing death of another person with the intention to kill the person (Palermo & Bogaerts, 2015). Capital punishment as abolished in 1953 in Wisconsin and since the insanity ground was not acceptable the defendant was sentenced to 975 years in prison. If Dahmer as tried in the state of Idaho the insanity defense would not have an option for his defense as it was abolished in 1982 in Idaho. The Idaho legislature ICJI 704C would have charged him with first degree murder long ago if he was tried in Idaho.
Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (2013). Overkill: Mass murder and serial killing exposed. Springer.
Palermo, M. T., & Bogaerts, S. (2015). The dangers of posthumous diagnoses and the unintended consequences of facile associations: Jeffrey Dahmer and autism spectrum disorders. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 59(14), 1564-1579.