“I desensitized myself to it.”
Those are the chilling worlds of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, aka the "Milwaukee Cannibal," as he spoke to Inside Edition about how he managed to commit his heinous crimes in a rare jailhouse interview in 1993.
During his reign of terror between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer killed 17 men and boys, keeping some of their body parts in freezers inside his home. Many of his murders involved necrophilia and cannibalism. He was eventually arrested in 1991 when a victim escaped.
Dahmer, who worked inside a chocolate factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was an unassuming employee, the last person people would suspect of being a serial killer.
But he hid his dark side well.
“I had these obsessive desires to wanting to control them … possess them permanently,” Dahmer told Inside Edition. “As my obsession grew, I was saving body parts such as skulls and skeletons.”
Dahmer killed his first victim, a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks, when he was 18 years old. He dismembered Hicks’ body and put it in a drain pipe. It was the start of a 13-year obsession with killing.
He said he targeted his victims “not because I hated them or because I was mad at them but because I wanted to keep them with me.”
Soon after killing his first victim, Dahmer enrolled at Ohio State University, but he dropped out after just one term. His father urged him to enlist in the Army shortly after, where Dahmer served until 1981. He was given an honorable discharge.
Following his time in the service, Dahmer bounced around the country for a bit, living in Miami Beach, Ohio, and rural Wisconsin before eventually settling in Milwaukee.
“I always knew that it was wrong, but the first killing was not planned,” Dahmer told Inside Edition. “No one had a clue to what was happening for over a decade.”
When he moved to Milwaukee he said he began reading pornography and attending gay bars where he would pick up men and bring them to a hotel or his apartment and kill them. He said he would drug his victims before taking advantage of them, then later commit his murders.
He said he was never repulsed or upset by killing and dismembering his victims, claiming instead he found it to be “addicting.”
As time went on, he began tasting his victims. At first, Dahmer said, it was “because of curiosity,” but then later it grew into the idea of “wanting them to feel a part of me.” Dahmer claimed he once even snuck a victim’s head once into the chocolate factory where he worked.
“I kept the mummified head and skull of one of my victims in a carrying case in my locker at work,” he said. “That is how strong the compulsion was. That is how strong the desire was.
"I wanted to keep the person with me.”
Dahmer was caught in 1991 after he brought a man named Tracy Edwards to his apartment with the intention of killing him. Edwards managed to escape Dahmer’s clutches and ran to police for help.
“He was listening to my heart because he told me at that point he was going to eat my heart,” Edwards told the court during Dahmer’s 1992 trial.
Dahmer admitted to each of his killings. Police discovered freezers full of body parts in his apartment.
“There was no point in trying to hide my actions anymore,” Dahmer told Inside Edition of why he confessed. “The best route was to help the police identify all of the victims and make a complete confession.”
After his arrest, there was outcry in Milwaukee when citizens protested and asked for answers as to why and how someone could go on killing for so long in their city.
In 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death in prison while serving 16 life sentences.