Jeff Dahmer funeral: What the serial killer requested to happen to his dead body


Jeffrey Dahmer's dad went to court to make sure his wishes were honoured
Jeffrey Dahmer's dad went to court to make sure his wishes were honoured

Jeffrey Dahmer didn't give a second thought for the funerals of the 16 young men he killed, but he had very particular ideas for his own.


In a document titled 'My Last Will and Testament', he wrote: "Upon my death I wish for the body to be cremated as soon as possible. I do not want a funeral ceremony to be performed before or after the cremation. No open casket. No headstone or marker."


The final requests of the serial killer, whose killing spree lasted from 1978 until 1991, became public knowledge in 1995 when his dad, Lionel, went to court to stop his estranged wife from donating their son's brain to science. Unsurprisingly, there were scientists and psychologists across the US desperate to get their mitts on the cannibalistic necrophile's grey matter.



After his death, Jeffrey Dahmer's mum Joyce had demanded that the vital organ was removed and studied to prevent future murderers in their tracks, a request which horrified Lionel. The warring pair, whose marriage disintegrated when Jeff was a child, had each been awarded half of his ashes after he was cremated. When the body was incinerated his skull was empty, his brain remaining "under lock and key" in a jar of formaldehyde at Wisconsin State University.


On October 3 1995, at judicial hearing about what to do with the brain, Lionel clashed with Joyce's lawyer.



Lionel, who was on speakerphone, said: "I think I probably summarised the main point of disregarding Jeff's instructions in his last testament, and I feel that that should take precedent. It's not a matter, I feel, of whether I do or don't want scientific study. I personally have strong feelings regarding the nonefficacious [uneffective] character of that proposal. But that's neither here nor there. I feel - I feel that the main point is what his last wishes were, and to violate that would be legally wrong... But I want to emphasise at this moment the compliance with his last testament, as for anyone."


Paul Fennig, representing Joyce, replied that Lionel had already broken Dahmer's final wishes by having a memorial service for him despite his explicit request that there be no marker of his death.


He responded: "If I can refer to his last testament. Page two of his Will, paragraph 4, he stated, 'Upon my death I wish for the body to be cremated as soon as possible. I do not want a funeral ceremony to be performed before or after the cremation. No open casket. No headstone or marker.' If you will recall, Mr. -- Mr. Dahmer saw to a memorial service within days of the death of Jeffrey. And if he wants to go literally, he violated what he is now claiming would be a violation of the intentions of the decedent. So I think that's close to being doublespeak."


Unphased, Lionel said: "Okay. As to the funeral service, it was a private memorial service for my immediate family. And if he wants to argue to that point and seize upon that point, then he may want to prosecute me regarding that. But we are talking about the disposal of the wishes of Jeff for cremation of his body. The brain is part of his body. That's all."



The Hon. Daniel S. George summarised: "I recognise the statement of the wishes of Jeffrey Dahmer. It was contained in a document entitled his Last Will and Testament. And although it is not technically a legal will from the standpoint of disposition of any of his property, it's not officially been admitted to probate. In fact, there was a stipulation and agreement by all parties that it wouldn't constitute a legal will of sorts with any sort of dispositive effect on what to do with his remains. Nonetheless, it is an expression that the Court gives some consideration to of the deceased's wishes as to what's to be done with his body."


Later that year, he ruled that Dahmer's brain also be cremated.