The Charged Life interview series is hosted by #1 best-selling author Brendon Burchard, who sits down with a variety of experts and high-performers in different fields to discover their secrets to thriving in their personal and professional lives.
Type: Talk Show
Runtime: 10 minutes
The Charged Life - Jeffrey Dahmer - Netflix
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer (May 21, 1960 – November 28, 1994), also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, was an American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder, and dismemberment of 17 men and boys from 1978 to 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism, and the permanent preservation of body parts — typically all or part of the skeleton. Although diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder, Dahmer was found to be legally sane at his trial. Convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he had committed in Wisconsin, Dahmer was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment on February 15, 1992. He was later sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment for an additional homicide committed in Ohio in 1978. On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
The Charged Life - Trial - Netflix
Two court-appointed mental health professionals—testifying independently of either prosecution or defense—were forensic psychiatrist George Palermo and clinical psychologist Samuel Friedman. Palermo stated that the murders were the result of a “pent-up aggression within himself [Dahmer]. He killed those men because he wanted to kill the source of his homosexual attraction to them. In killing them, he killed what he hated in himself.” Palermo concluded that Dahmer was a sexual sadist with antisocial personality disorder, but legally sane. Friedman testified that it was a longing for companionship that caused Dahmer to kill. He stated, “Mr. Dahmer is not psychotic.” He spoke kindly of Dahmer, describing him as “Amiable, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor, conventionally handsome, and charming in manner. He was, and still is, a bright young man.” He diagnosed Dahmer with a personality disorder not otherwise specified featuring borderline, obsessive-compulsive, and sadistic traits. The trial lasted two weeks. On February 14, both counsels delivered their closing arguments to the jury. Each counsel was allowed to speak for two hours. Defense attorney Gerald Boyle argued first. Repeatedly harking to the testimony of the mental health professionals—almost all of whom had agreed Dahmer was suffering from a mental disease—Boyle argued that Dahmer's compulsive killings had been a result of “a sickness he discovered, not chose.” Boyle portrayed Dahmer as a desperately lonely and profoundly sick individual “so out of control he could not conform his conduct any more.” Following the defense counsel's 75-minute closing argument, Michael McCann delivered his closing argument for the prosecution, describing Dahmer as a sane man, in full control of his actions, who simply strove to avoid detection. McCann argued that the act of murder was committed in hostility, anger, resentment, frustration, or hatred, and that the 15 victims for whose murder he was tried “died merely to afford Dahmer a period of sexual pleasure.” McCann further argued that by pleading guilty but insane to the charges, Dahmer was seeking to escape responsibility for his crimes. On February 15, the court reconvened to hear the verdict: Dahmer was ruled to be sane and not suffering from a mental disorder at the time of each of the 15 murders for which he was tried, although in each count, two of the 12 jurors signified their dissent. On the first two counts, Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years, with the remaining 13 counts carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years. The death penalty was not an option for Judge Gram to consider at the penalty phase as the State of Wisconsin had abolished capital punishment in 1853. Upon hearing of Jeffrey's sentencing, his father Lionel and stepmother Shari requested to be allowed a ten-minute private meeting with their son before he was transferred to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage to begin his sentence. This request was granted and the trio exchanged hugs and well-wishes before Dahmer was escorted away to begin his sentence. Three months after his conviction for 15 murders in Milwaukee, Dahmer was extradited to Ohio to be tried for the murder of his first victim, Steven Hicks. In a court hearing lasting just 45 minutes, Dahmer again pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment on May 1, 1992.
The trial of Jeffrey Dahmer began on January 30, 1992. He was tried in Milwaukee for the 15 counts of murder before Judge Laurence Gram. By pleading guilty on January 13 to the charges brought against him, Dahmer had waived his rights to an initial trial to establish guilt (as defined in Wisconsin law). The issue debated by opposing counsels at Dahmer's trial was to determine whether he suffered from either a mental or a personality disorder: the prosecution claiming that any disorders did not deprive Dahmer of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses; the defense arguing that Dahmer suffered from a mental disease and was driven by obsessions and impulses he was unable to control. Defense experts argued that Dahmer was insane due to his necrophilic drive - his compulsion to have sexual encounters with corpses. Defense expert Dr. Fred Berlin testified that Dahmer was unable to conform his conduct at the time that he committed the crimes because he was suffering from paraphilia or, more specifically, necrophilia. Dr. Judith Becker, a professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, was the second expert witness for the defense; Becker also diagnosed Dahmer with necrophilia. The final defense expert to testify, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Carl Wahlstrom, diagnosed Dahmer with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, necrophilia, alcohol dependence, and a psychotic disorder. The prosecution rejected the defense's argument that Dahmer was insane. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Resnick testified that Dahmer did not suffer from primary necrophilia because he preferred live sexual partners as evidenced by his efforts to create unresistant, submissive sexual partners devoid of rational thought and to whose needs he did not have to cater. Another prosecution expert to testify, Dr. Fred Fosdel, testified to his belief that Dahmer was without mental disease or defect at the time he committed the murders. He described Dahmer as a calculating and cunning individual, able to differentiate between right and wrong, with the ability to control his actions. Although Fosdel did state his belief that Dahmer suffered from paraphilia, his conclusion was that Dahmer was not a sadist. The final witness to appear for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, began his testimony on February 12. Dietz testified that he did not believe Dahmer to be suffering from any mental disease or defect at the time that he committed the crimes, stating: “Dahmer went to great lengths to be alone with his victim and to have no witnesses.” He explained that there was ample evidence that Dahmer prepared in advance for each murder, therefore, his crimes were not impulsive. Although Dietz did concede any acquisition of a paraphilia was not a matter of personal choice, he also stated his belief that Dahmer's habit of becoming intoxicated prior to committing each of the murders was significant, stating: “If he had a compulsion to kill, he would not have to drink alcohol. He had to drink alcohol to overcome his inhibition, to do the crime which he would rather not do.” Dietz also noted that Dahmer strongly identified with evil and corrupt characters from both Return of the Jedi and The Exorcist III; particularly the level of power held by these characters. Expounding on the significance of these movies on Dahmer's psyche and many of the murders committed at the Oxford Apartments, Dietz explained that Dahmer occasionally viewed scenes from these films before searching for a victim. Dietz diagnosed Dahmer with substance use disorder, paraphilia, and schizotypal personality disorder.
The Charged Life - References - Netflix