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Psychiatrist: Dahmer Got Sexual Gratification From Autopsy Video

February 13, 1992

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Jeffrey Dahmer watched a real-life autopsy on the video ″Faces of Death″ for sexual self-gratification before slaying his second victim, a psychiatrist testified today at the serial killer’s insanity trial.

Dr. Park Dietz said Dahmer, after dabbling in spiritual and satanic worship, had begun exploring the gay scene and pornography when he rented the video and became enthralled with a male corpse it showed.

″He was good looking. He was totally naked,″ Dietz quoted Dahmer as saying. ″I don’t know why I happen to have a fascination with that.″

Dahmer knew killing was wrong, Dietz said, quoting the defendant as saying, ″I don’t think anybody can kill somebody and think it was right.″

Dahmer, who has admitted killing and dismembering 17 young men and boys, has told police he strangled most of his victims, had sex with corpses, slit the bodies from sternum to toe and cut off the flesh.

The 105-minute videotape, which has generated controversy across the nation, shows ″autopsies, dismemberment, physical cruelty, human combustion and electrocution,″ its package says.

Dahmer, who killed his first victim in 1978 in Ohio, watched the video before he met his second victim in 1987, Dietz said. But Dahmer said he didn’t get ideas about killing or dismemberment from watching the video, Dietz said.

″The thoughts were already in my head,″ Dietz quoted Dahmer as saying.

Dahmer has pleaded guilty but insane to 15 Milwaukee County slayings. If the jury finds he was sane at the time of the slayings, he will go to prison; if insane, to a mental hospital.

Dietz, who is expected to be the last prosecution witness, testified Wednesday that Dahmer planned to erase all evidence of his grisly murders by dissolving the body parts in a vat of acid.

But he passed out drunk and a man he had picked up at a shopping mall fled his apartment with handcuffs dangling from one wrist.

″That pretty much spelled the end of things,″ Dietz quoted Dahmer as saying.

The defense contends an uncontrollable sexual attraction to corpses drove the 31-year-old former chocolate factory worker to kill.

But District Attorney E. Michael McCann argued that Dahmer’s plan to dispose of the bodies and move out of his apartment shows that he knew his actions were wrong.

″This man could have walked away from his apartment building without a trace of physical evidence. He had the capacity to do that,″ McCann said. ″We may have never known what happened to those 17 people.″

Dietz testified in 1982 that John Hinckley was sane when he shot President Reagan. The jury acquitted Hinckley by reason of insanity.

On Wednesday, Dietz testified for the prosecution that Dahmer suffered a variety of sexual disorders but was not uncontrollably driven to kill to satisfy his desires.

Dahmer said he planned to get rid of all the body parts in his apartment and go live at a Salvation Army shelter because he had been fired for excessive absenteeism about two weeks before his July 22 arrest and could no longer pay his rent, the psychiatrist testified.

Dahmer bought a 57-gallon industrial drum and planned to fill it with acid and water to destroy the body parts, Dietz said. Once the bones and flesh turned to mush, he planned to flush it down the toilet, the witness said.

The psychiatrist said Dahmer debated whether to keep the 11 skulls - ″some of his favorite items, these keepsakes, or take a very big risk of being detected for all these serious crimes.″

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