In prison, some crimes will land the perpetrator in trouble with the general populace. Jeffrey Dahmer knew that his transgressions made him a target in prison, so he requested solitary confinement. However, after a year of isolation, Dahmer grew restless and rejoined prison life. Dahmer told his mother that he didn’t care if something happened to him.
The first attempt on Dahmer’s life came from Osvaldo Durruthy, an inmate who slashed the serial killer’s throat with a modified razor. Dahmer survived, suffering minor superficial wounds.
In late November 1994, Christopher Scarver attacked Jeffrey Dahmer with a steel pipe, smashing in his skull and leaving him for dead. Dahmer was pronounced dead an hour after the brutal assault.
Scarver said he was repulsed by Dahmer’s lack of remorse
In April 2015, Scarver said he was repulsed by Dahmer’s alleged impenitence. Scarver claimed that Dahmer taunted prisoners and staff by fashioning body limbs from food and covering them with ketchup to mimic blood. Christopher said:
“He would put them in places where people would be. He crossed the line with some people – prisoners, prison staff. Some people who are in prison are repentant – but he was not one of them.”
Scarver’s account was supported by Madison pastor Roy Ratcliff, who said prison guards had opened up to him about mockery from Dahmer. The serial killer allegedly joked ‘I bite’ and hung a ‘Cannibals Anonymous Meeting’ poster in his cell.
However, Gerard Boyle, Dahmer’s defense attorney, disputed the assertion that Christopher taunted people. Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Boyle described Dahmer as ‘such a milquetoast.’ He added:
“He killed people, but he didn’t taunt people. I never saw him do anything that would lead me to believe that he would mimic the deaths that he caused. I just don’t believe that.”
Dahmer becoming a born-again Christian after studying the Bible and accepting baptism suggests that he’d started reforming, casting doubt on Scarver’s assertion that Dahmer showed no remorse.
Scarver stayed away from Dahmer, who, according to Christopher, was often accompanied by a guard. The duo finally crossed paths on the morning of 28th November 1994 during bathroom cleaning duty. Scarver and fellow inmate Jesse Anderson provoked Scarver by poking him in the back.
“I couldn’t tell which had done it,” Scarver said. After the unattended trio split up, Scarver, armed with a metal bar, confronted Dahmer about his crimes in the staff locker room. Christopher said:
“I asked him if he did those things ’cause I was fiercely disgusted. He was shocked. Yes, he was. He started looking for the door pretty quick. I blocked him. He ended up dead. I put his head down.”
Christopher might have felt duty-bound to kill Jeffrey Dahmer
To fully grasp why Christopher might have felt duty-bound to kill Dahmer, we need to go back to the crime that sent Scarver to prison.
Scarver was a school dropout who enrolled in a Conversation Corps job program as a carpenter trainee. Supervisor Edward Patts promised him full-time employment after completing the program, but Patts was fired before hiring Christopher.
The site manager, John Feyen, refused to employ Christopher. Scarver turned to alcohol and marijuana abuse, leading to his eviction from his girlfriend’s mother’s house. Scorned, Scarver acquired a gun and went to the training program office in early June 1990 to exact revenge.
Scarver found Feyen with Steven Lohman, another worker. He ordered Lohman to lie on the floor and demanded money from Feyen. John said he only had $15 in his wallet; Scarver responded by shooting Lohman in the head. “Now, do you think I’m kidding?” Christopher said.
Feyen wrote Scarver a check worth $3,000 and escaped. Scarver told arresting officers that he planned to turn himself in because he’d done wrong. He blamed the crime on supernatural voices that told him he was the son of God and that he was ‘the chosen one.’
After killing Dahmer and Andersen, Christopher told prison authorities that he was executing another order from the divine. According to the Chicago Tribune, Scarver said he ‘was simply submitting to the will of God and that he was simply a tool used by the spirit.’
“God told me to do it,” Scarver allegedly said. “You will hear about it on the 6 o’clock news. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead.” Scarver entered the courtroom for his trial softly singing ‘let love be the light’ and ‘this old world is cold.’
Alternate theories claim the killings were racially motivated and prison guards assisted Scarver
After Scarver’s arrest, he stated he’d been a victim of racism. “Nothing white people do to blacks is just,” Scarver said. According to psychiatrist William Crowley, Scarver thought Feyen denied him a job because he was black. Crowley said in court: “He began to brood about it. He felt that there were racial overtones involved.”
Jeffrey Dahmer’s killings had raised racial tensions in Milwaukee. Most of his victims were black or Hispanic and from the minority LGBT community. Anderson, imprisoned for the murder of his wife, had pinned the murder on two black men.
Feelings of racial injustice might have inspired Scarver to kill Dahmer. However, prison officials said there was no evidence suggesting Dahmer and Anderson’s killings were racially motivated.
If we are to believe Scarver’s claims, Dahmer was unpopular even with prison staff. Some people allege that prison officials facilitated Dahmer’s murder by leaving him and Scarver unattended.
A prison guard speaking to WISN said the three guards supposed to be watching Dahmer abandoned their posts. One guard was missing, the other was ‘jamming to music’ and talking on the telephone, and the last one was in a back office when Scarver attacked Dahmer.
“They [prison officials] had something to do with what took place. Yes,” Scarver said. However, Scarver refused to elaborate out of fear for his safety. He explained:
“I would need a good attorney to ensure there would not be any retaliation by Wisconsin officials or to get me out of any type of retaliatory position they would put me in.”
Authorities denied that anyone else was involved in the killings. “There is no evidence of criminal involvement by anyone other than Mr. Scarver,” Mark Bennett, Columbia County District Attorney, said.