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Who Killed Jeffrey Dahmer in Prison?

Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most notorious serial killers in modern American history. Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer murdered 17 young men and boys in truly horrific ways before he was eventually caught and imprisoned. However, Dahmer’s life came to an abrupt end in 1994 when he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. The shocking murder of this high-profile prisoner raised many questions about how it could have happened and who was responsible.

Background on Jeffrey Dahmer

To understand the events that led to Dahmer’s violent death in prison, it helps to know some background on his crimes and incarceration.

Dahmer’s Murders and Arrest

Jeffrey Dahmer committed the rape, murder, and dismemberment of 17 victims between 1978, when he was 18 years old, and 1991, when he was 31. His murders involved acts of necrophilia and cannibalism, with Dahmer preserving body parts of some victims to revisit later for sexual gratification. Dahmer evaded capture for years until one victim escaped and alerted police in 1991. When authorities searched Dahmer’s apartment, they uncovered one of the most gruesome crime scenes imaginable – body parts stored in the refrigerator and freezer, barrels of acid used to dissolve remains, and photographs of victims in various states of mutilation. Dahmer quickly confessed to the murders once presented with the evidence found in his apartment.

Conviction and Imprisonment

Dahmer stood trial in early 1992 and pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder. The court deemed him sane and sentenced him to 15 consecutive life terms, or a total of 957 years in prison. He was extradited to Wisconsin to serve his time, where he was incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. At the prison, Dahmer was kept apart from the general population due to the notoriety and heinous nature of his crimes. He spent two years confined to solitary or limited-contact housing before being slowly integrated into general population, where he eventually took a job as a janitor.

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The Murder of Jeffrey Dahmer

On the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer left his janitor job to conduct his normal cleaning duties in the prison gymnasium bathrooms. It was there that he crossed paths with inmate Christopher Scarver and the events were set in motion that would end Dahmer’s life just a few hours later.

Events Leading Up to the Attack

According to accounts, Scarver had become increasingly disturbed by Dahmer’s presence at the prison over the previous few months. As a convicted murderer himself, Scarver reportedly struggled with having to be incarcerated with someone like Dahmer, whose crimes were particularly gruesome and unsettling. On the morning of November 28, Scarver kept an eye on Dahmer until he was left alone in the gym bathrooms. When Dahmer entered a staff locker room, Scarver followed and confronted him, swinging a 20-inch metal bar from the weight room at his head.

Details of the Murder

Dahmer was severely bludgeoned by blows from Scarver’s makeshift weapon and died shortly thereafter. Scarver also attacked another inmate, Jesse Anderson, who was cleaning in the bathroom at the same time. Reports indicated that Dahmer’s head was crushed and splintered significantly by the blunt force strikes, which ultimately proved fatal. Prison staff arriving on scene discovered Dahmer and Anderson unconscious on the floor in pools of blood. They were pronounced dead shortly after being transported to the hospital.

Aftermath and Scarver’s Punishment

In the wake of the killings, Scarver reportedly returned to his cell undetected for several hours before eventually admitting to guards what he had done. He claimed God told him to attack Dahmer. Scarver already serving a life sentence for a previous murder, so he was sentenced to two additional life terms for killing Dahmer and Anderson. He remains incarcerated at a Wisconsin prison to this day. The murders highlighted questions about whether prison officials had done enough to protect Dahmer from other inmates. But many viewed Scarver’s deadly rage as a reaction that should have been expected given Dahmer’s horrific crimes.

Dahmer’s Killer: Christopher Scarver

To fully understand how and why Dahmer met his end, it’s worth learning more about Christopher Scarver, the man who beat him to death. What could have driven Scarver to murder Dahmer in such a brutal way?

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Scarver’s Background

Christopher Scarver came from a deeply troubled background which likely contributed to his propensity for violence from a young age. He grew up with an abusive father and spent time in foster care as a child. By adulthood, Scarver had been arrested multiple times for theft and making threats. In 1990, at age 25, he shot and killed a man during a robbery which earned him a life sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution. Scarver reportedly struggled with mental illness and psychotic episodes throughout his life.

Motivations for Killing Dahmer

As a fellow inmate, Scarver said he found Dahmer’s crimes, which involved cannibalism, deeply disturbing. Prison officials believe he grew increasingly agitated by Dahmer’s presence leading up to the fatal attack. Scarver allegedly saw an opportunity to act when he found Dahmer alone and used a weight room bar to beat him to death in an explosion of rage. He later told authorities that God had instructed him to kill the serial killer. Whether driven by mental illness, hatred of Dahmer’s acts, or divine voices, Scarver felt compelled to attack in that moment.

Life After Murdering Dahmer

Following Dahmer’s murder, Scarver was sentenced to two additional life sentences to be served consecutively. He remains in the Wisconsin prison system to this day, being transferred to various facilities over the past three decades. In 2015, Scarver reportedly assaulted staff members resulting in discipline and a new sentence of 36 years in solitary confinement. Now in his 50s, Scarver has had several requests for parole denied over the years. He is not eligible again until 2041, meaning he will likely live out the rest of his life in prison for his infamous role in killing Jeffrey Dahmer.

Lingering Questions About the Murder

While key details are known about how and why Christopher Scarver ended Jeffrey Dahmer’s life, some questions still remain about the shocking event nearly 30 years later.

Could the Murder Have Been Prevented?

Some faulted the prison for allowing Scarver access to Dahmer despite signs of Scarver’s mental instability. Others argued placing Dahmer in general population at all was irresponsible given the likelihood of retaliation. Prison officials, however, said precautions were taken and the incident could not have reasonably been foreseen. Regardless, the murder demonstrated how one lapse in security could have deadly consequences.

Were There Accomplices?

Rumors circulated that Scarver did not act alone and had help in coordinating his attack on Dahmer. However, authorities dismissed these theories for lack of evidence. Video footage apparently showed Scarver entering the locker room alone immediately before the killing. Still, some skepticism remains about how Scarver could have orchestrated the attack so effectively by himself.

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What Was Found at Dahmer’s Home After His Death?

Dahmer’s gruesome Milwaukee apartment where he committed most of his murders was demolished in 1992. But some morbid curiosities remained about what personal effects Dahmer left behind. Very little is known about the disposal of his estate. Any lingering items would have presumably been handled privately by family members wanting to avoid further spectacle around Dahmer’s name after his death.

Did Scarver Attack Other Inmates?

In addition to Dahmer, Scarver also lethally attacked inmate Jesse Anderson in the prison gym that morning. Some speculated whether Scarver may have been involved in other incidents while incarcerated. But reports indicate Scarver remained relatively nonviolent until that outburst in 1994 when he killed two notorious felons. He has not been definitively implicated in any other assaults on inmates during his decades behind bars.


Jeffrey Dahmer’s horrific murder spree ended only when he was captured, convicted, and sentenced to serve the rest of his days in prison. But his life was cut short after just two years behind bars when fellow inmate Christopher Scarver beat him to death with a weight room bar while left alone to complete his cleaning duties. Scarver, who came from a troubled upbringing, apparently felt compelled to kill Dahmer due to his resentment over the serial killer’s unspeakable crimes. While prison officials faced scrutiny over allowing the opportunity for violence, Dahmer’s bloodstained legacy all but ensured he would meet a violent end eventually, whether at the hands of the state through execution or a private citizen looking for personal vengeance. The socipathic killer and the disturbed inmate crossed paths with fatal consequences, leaving behind more questions than answers about security, motive, and what else may have transpired. Dahmer’s death provides a morbid epilogue to one of the most haunting killing sprees ever uncovered in modern true crime history.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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