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Weapons associated with Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeff owned a .357 Magnum Revolver which he kept under his pillow at his grandmother’s house.  He used this gun for target practice.  His grandmother later found it and talked to his father, Lionel about removing it as she wanted it out of her house.  Jeff was extremely upset when his father took the gun away.  Jeff never used guns to commit any murders.

The M16 rifle is the standard issue weapon of the US Army.  When Jeff joined as a PFC (Private First Class), he was issued the M16 and according to FBI and Army files, he was considered a “sharp shooter,” meaning his abilities with the M16, as well as other ballistic weapons, were excellent.

Jeff used a barbell in his first killing, which was spontaneous and unplanned.  In 1978 at the age of 18, Jeff picked up a hitchhiker (Steven Hicks) and took him back to his house in Bath, Ohio.  After hanging out, drinking and smoking pot, Steven said he needed to leave; Jeff refused to let him do so.  They wrestled briefly before Jeff grabbed a barbell and hit Steven over the head, killing him.  Some sources indicate that, in addition to hitting Hicks over the head, Jeff also used the barbell to strangle Hicks.  Patrick Kennedy would later comment that it seemed very interesting to him that Jeffrey himself was killed with gym equipment - much in the same manner as his first victim, Steven Hicks.

Jeff used Halcion (Triazolam) pills crushed into rum and cokes to render victims unconscious before strangling and dismembering them.  Jeff experimented with finding the appropriate dose required to knock someone unconscious over the course of several years by trial and error.  He would drug various men at bath houses throughout Milwaukee and Chicago; on at least one occasion he used too much of the sedative, causing one man to overdose.  His membership privileges at that particular bathhouse were revoked as a result.

Muriatic acid is the historic name of hydrochloric acid (HCl) which is an extremely strong and corrosive acid (as an aside: stomach acid is composed completely of hydrochloric acid and has a pH of around 1 to 2; the body has several mechanisms in place to prevent auto-digestion).  Muriatic acid, which can be purchased from chemical supply stores, is a solution of mainly HCl and water and has industrial uses such as for “pickling” metal (removing rust), pH control and neutralization, and household cleansing.  Jeff used the muriatic acid for two purposes: (1) to dissolve flesh from bone and (2) to dissolve brain tissue in living victims.  In the process of removing flesh from bone, Jeff used the method of boiling skulls in water and Soilex (a cleaning agent, usually used to remove tarnish from silver), which gave his apartment that notoriously bitter and pungent smell.  To remove flesh from the dismembered torsos, Jeff used the infamous blue 57 gallon drums filled with muriatic acid and left the bodies to dissolve over the course of several days, again contributing to the small apartment’s reputation for being distinctively malodorous.  Whatever sludge the flesh and acid mixture produced would later be flushed down the toilet, leaving only the skeleton behind.

In attempts to make “living sex zombies,” Jeff drilled holes into the heads of at least three victims (Jeramiah Weinberger, Konerak Sinthasomphone, and Eddie Smith) while they were unconscious.  Jeff’s aim was to perform a type of lobotomy, wherein he would drill into the frontal lobe and dissolve those portions of the brain related to personality and autonomy.  Using anatomy books and the medical knowledge gained through the Army’s medic training courses, Jeff used a power drill to bore a small hole into the victims’ skulls, where he could then inject boiling water or hydrochloric acid directly into the brain through a syringe.  These experiments did not work; they were either immediately fatal, or would lead to the victim going into a coma and dying a few days later.

A large hunting knife was used to dismember all the bodies, including the first victim, Steven Hicks.  Tracy Edwards (Jeffrey’s would-be 18th victim) claimed that Jeff held him at knife-point and threatened to eat his heart.  These claims were later found to be suspect as there were several inconsistencies in Edwards’ version of that night’s events.  It seemed highly unlikely to several of the (criminal) profilers, detectives and psychologists that Jeff would have told Edwards he was going to eat his heart outright, as Jeff never made his intentions known to any of the victims before - it just wasn’t part of his modus operandi.  The wielding of the knife also came into question; some sources claim that it was actually Edwards who held Jeff at knife-point, having managed to grab hold of it during the struggle immediately before escaping the apartment.  In any event, most sources cite Edwards’ version of the story as being basically true.