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Why did Jeffrey Dahmer get kicked out of the army and how long was his sentence?

A Netfix true-crime documentary series has brought new interest in the Milwaukee Monster and his honourable discharge from the US military.

Jeffrey Dahmer honourable discharge

The horrific crimes of serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer have been brought back to light in recent weeks after the Netflix series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was released. Dahmer killed and dismembered 17 men and boys in Milwaukee but evaded detection for 13 years.

The first murder took place in June 1978, just three weeks after his high school graduation. However later that summer the then-18-year-old enrolled at Ohio State University. His brief time at college was characterised by persistent alcohol abuse, a theme that would continue into his next endeavour.

In January 1979 Dahmer enlisted in the United States Army and underwent training in Alabama and Texas. While stationed in Fort Sam, Houston he was reprimanded for being intoxicated.

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Later that year he was deployed to Baumholder, West Germany where his drinking would continue and caused his performance to deteriorate. He was discharged from the military in March 1981 due to repeated instances of alcohol abuse, with his superiors deeming him unsuitable for service as a result.

However they judged that his alcoholism was unlikely to be a problem once returned to civilian life and he was given an honourable discharge.

How long was Jeffrey Dahmer sentenced to in prison?

Although he is now thought to have killed 17 people, Dahmer’s 1992 trial culminated with him pleading guilty to 15 counts of murder in the state of Wisconsin, and a further one murder in Ohio.

He received 16 life sentences for the horrifying crimes, which equates to at least 957 years in prison by the standards of contemporary sentencing guidelines. He was not eligible for parole.

However while Dahmer was destined to spend the rest of his life behind bars, that would span little more than three years as he was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver in November 1994. Scarver, a fellow inmate at Wisconsin’s Columbia Correctional Institution, killed the 34-year-old after he had served just three years and four months in prison.

Dahmer’s crimes earned him a staggeringly long prison sentence, but his was far from the longest stretch ever issue in the United States. The most life sentences a convict has ever received is 161, the number given to Terry Nichols, the perpetrator of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.


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