Morbid mementos


Serial killer's property set to go on the auction block

May 8, 1996
Web posted at: 6:45 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Lisa Price

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -- If your life's dream is ownership of a famous serial killer's tools of the trade, your chance is coming soon. Bartering is already under way among parties interested in purchasing a part of the estate of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Depending on the outcome of current bargaining, a 300-piece collection of memorabilia owned by Dahmer may soon go on the auction block.

Among the macabre mementos: the vat in which he boiled his victims' bodies, the refrigerator where he stored their skulls, the hypodermic needles he used on his victims, and all the tools he used to separate the skin and decapitate the bodies.

Dahmer, beaten to death by a fellow prison inmate in 1994, was convicted in the deaths of 17 young men and boys whose bodies he mutilated and cannibalized. Tom Jacobson represents eight families who lost family members to Dahmer and who now want to cash in on Dahmer's instruments of death.

Robert Steuer is the collection manager for Dahmer's estate. "Within the guidelines that we're working within, these are items that we believe can make some money and I think it's appropriate to do so," he said. (77K AIFF sound or 77K WAV sound)


Janie Hagen and Rita Isbell, both sisters of Dahmer's victims, say that they are motivated not by greed, but rather by painful memories, still vividly recalled. They, like the other victims' families involved in the sale, believe they're entitled to any money generated from the sale of Dahmer's belongings.

"We're just supposed to sit back and let everybody make money off of Jeffrey Dahmer, and what do we get? We get nothing. I don't care what I have to do, if we don't do it, down the line, someone else is going to be making money off this," Hagen said. (153K AIFF sound or 153K WAV sound)


The Milwaukee business community, anxious to purge the city of any serial killer reputation, is trying to thwart the auction by offering to purchase the entire estate for $1 million. "The Dahmer episode needs to be closed, and the only way to do that is to acquire these items and permanently destroy them," said Michael Mervis of Mervis and Company.

Until they write the check, plans for the auction move ahead. Thomas Jacobson, the plaintiffs' attorney, likens the auction to the recent Onassis estate sale. "We know that $34.5 million came through Camelot," he said. "Now we've got Dahmer."


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