'My Friend Dahmer': The Education of a Serial killer

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and charged with murdering 17 people. The horrifying crimes involved rape, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism. Overnight, he became a media sensation, the subject of interviews and television specials and more than a few books.

Derf Backderf went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer. After Dahmer's death, he finally sat down to tell his story about what it was like to have Dahmer as a classmate in "My Friend Dahmer."

"The remarkable thing was that no one stepped up and said, 'Whoa, there is something really wrong with this guy, particularly the adults," says Backderf. "And nobody said a word. They just kept shoving him on figuring, I don't know, he'd be someone else's problem in a few years, and yeah, he was someone else's problem."

Backderf goes on to explain what Dahmer was like in school: "He was just kind of this fearless kid who would perform these various bizarre acts of weirdness: pretend he had cerebral palsy, throw fake epileptic fits in the hall or in study hall… For his part he remembers this time very fondly. It was very likely, sad to say, the best time of his life because he was the center of attention in a positive way, not the center of attention as he would later become."

"He was self-medicating himself, we know now through his own explanation… Morning bell you would smell the booze on his breath. He used to walk through the halls of the school with a styrofoam coffee cup like out of the coffee machine full of whiskey or scotch, walking right down the halls of the school."


Derf Backderf

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

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