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Psychiatrist: Dahmer suffered from 'cancer of the mind'

By JERRY C. SMITH

MILWAUKEE -- An expert on sexual disorders testified Monday admitted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer suffered from a 'cancer of the mind' and was overpowered by the urge to kill.

Dr. Fred Berlin, director of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the former chocolate factory worker knew right from wrong but was unable to stop himself.

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Dahmer, 31, has confessed to killing and dismembering 17 young men and boys and has pleaded guilty but insane to 15 of the slayings. He also has said he ate body parts of some of his victims.

If Dahmer is declared insane by the jury, he will probably spend the rest of his life in a maximum-security mental institution. If declared sane, he goes to prison for life. If the jury declares Dahmer insane on at least one, but not all, of the 15 murder counts, he would go to the hospital until he is judged to be no longer dangerous. If that day ever came, he would go to prison for the rest of his life.

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Deputies have been shackling Dahmer to a wheelchair to move him between his Milwaukee County Jail cell and the courtroom.

Testimony resumes Tuesday.

Berlin was the first of what is expected to be a series of psychiatrists testifying about Dahmer's sanity.

He said Dahmer suffers from a type of sexual deviation called necrophilia, the desire to have sex with a dead body.

In response to a question from defense attorney Gerald Boyle, Berlin said Dahmer's fascination could have driven him to kill and dismember his victims.

'One of my patients in describing the disorder called it a 'cancer of the mind.' It's a broken mind,' Berlin said.

Berlin said he thinks Dahmer 'was fighting very hard not to give into these urges.'

'This is a love sickness,' Berlin said. 'He wanted to sustain a relationship with these people.'

Berlin said Dahmer's illness worsened with time.

'He was responding to these sick cravings,' Berlin said. 'These urges were overpowering him.'

Berlin admitted, however, Dahmer was able to control himself when the situation called for it.

'If a policeman was at his side, might you expect Mr. Dahmer to control his conduct?' Boyle asked.

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'I would think if a policeman were standing there, watching, he would be able to control his behavior,' Berlin said.

'(But) I think when he's left to his own resources, that he is, as a result of his mental disease, lacking substantial capacity, and, therefore, has not been able to simply walk away from this on his own,' said Berlin, who described Dahmer as a 'homicidal necrophiliac.'

'I believe he's got a genuine psychiatric affliction.'

Earlier, police Detective Dennis Murphy read the remainder of Dahmer's 179-page confession into the court record and said Dahmer never appeared psychotic or incoherent during questioning.

Murphy told Assistant District Attorney Carol White that Dahmer confessed to killing for gratification and that he never rambled or seemed out of touch during questioning.

'Dahmer stated that in between the killings he was involved in numerous one-night stands with several males,' Murphy said.

'Is it true he killed only those males he had feelings for or was attracted to?' Boyle asked.

'Yes,' Murphy said.

Earlier testimony detailed how Dahmer drugged, strangled and dismembered his victims, in some cases even eating parts of them.

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