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Serial Killer Dahmer Collects $12,000 from Pen Pals

March 6, 1994

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ One woman said she wanted to teach serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer about Jesus, so she sent him $350, along with some Bible literature.

Another woman sent $50 so that Dahmer could buy ″cigarettes, stamps and envelopes.″ And a 74-year-old nun sent $10 to reimburse Dahmer for postage on two art books that he mailed to her.

″He did awful things but way deep down he isn’t a mean kid,″ she said.

In all, Dahmer, who admitted killing and dismembering 17 men and boys, has received more than $12,000 from letter-writers around the world, according to prison records.

The gifts have come from as far away as South Africa and France, and include a $5,920 donation last year from a woman in London.

The money and letters are itemized in the files of Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, where the 33-year-old Dahmer is serving life sentences, The Milwaukee Journal reported in Sunday’s editions.

People who send Dahmer money represent ″a very sick group of people around the world that contribute for whatever reason,″ said Thomas Jacobson, who represents relatives of victims.

The relatives have obtained judgments against Dahmer worth more than $80 million, but Jacobson said his clients have so far received nothing.

It is ″an absolute travesty″ that Dahmer isn’t sharing his donations, Jacobson said.

Jeffrey P. Endicott, the Columbia warden, said no law forbids Dahmer from soliciting financial assistance, as long as he does not commit fraud. But prison officials have restricted Dahmer’s spending since November, when they learned of the unpaid judgments.

According to prison records, which show how much money an inmate receives and how he spends it, Dahmer received $11,000 in 1993. His parents were among the donors.

Besides the donations, Dahmer earned 24 cents an hour as a prison gymnasium janitor. He lost that job because he imitated a prison employee on the telephone. The incident kept him in solitary confinement for more than a month.

In late January, according to the latest records available, Dahmer’s assets were $4,284. He has bought magazines, comic books and cassette recordings - including Gregorian chants and sounds of humpback whales - through catalogs.

In addition to exchanging letters, prison records say Dahmer uses Bible study and dark humor to deal with penitentiary boredom, which he is quoted as calling ″a living death.″

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