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Officer says he noticed nothing unusual about Dahmer

By
JERRY SMITH

MILWAUKEE -- Witness after witness Tuesday testified that confessed serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer seemed normal and cooperative when confronted with problems or situations.

Two police officers fired for their handling of an encounter with Dahmer last May, the manager of the killer's apartment building and a carpet cleaner were among the witnesses who testified Dahmer did nothing to raise their suspicions.

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Dahmer, 31, a former chocolate factory worker, has confessed to killing and dismembering 17 young men and boys and has pleaded guilty but insane to 15 of the murders. He faces life in prison if the Milwaukee County jury finds him sane but will be treated at a mental institution if he is found insane.

The sanity trial is in its third week.

Officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish described their May 27 encounter with Dahmer and a 14-year-old Laotian boy Dahmer killed after talking the officers into putting the youth back into his hands.

'Mr. Dahmer remained calm and forthright through the entire investigation,' Balcerzak said. 'He was clean shaven, clean dressed and his clothes were not in disarray.'

Gabrish testified Dahmer appeared to be 'a normal individual.' He said Dahmer was 'polite and gave us no reason to suspect anything of him at all. He was very cooperative with us.'

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Though Balcerzak said he smelled nothing unusual in Dahmer's apartment even though there was a corpse in the bedroom, Gabrish said he did detect an odor.

'I equated (it) to that of a bowel movement or somebody had just gone to the bathroom,' Gabrish said.

Balcerzak, Gabrish and a rookie patrolman were sent to Dahmer's block to investigate reports of a naked boy in the street. Over the protests of neighbors, Dahmer persuaded the officers to return the boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, to him.

He told police the youth was 19, was drugged, did not speak English and had been Dahmer's roommate for three weeks. He later told psychiatrists he had drilled holes in the youth's head before the encounter with police in an effort to create a zombie and killed him shortly after the officers left.

Dahmer served a year in prison for sexually assaulting Sinthasomphone's brother in 1988.

Sopa Princewill, the manager of Dahmer's apartment building, said Dahmer's apartment was well kept.

'His apartment was probably the neatest I had seen,' Princewill said.

He said the other tenants complained a number of times about the smell coming from Dahmer's apartment. Princewill said whenever he confronted Dahmer about the problem, Dahmer was able to explain it away.

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James Poetz, the owner of a carpet cleaning company Dahmer hired in November 1990 and again in June 1991, testified he was unable to remove a 2-foot-by-3-foot stain on the carpet in Dahmer's bedroom. Dahmer said the stain was chocolate but Poetz said he thought it was red wine or blood.

Poetz described Dahmer as 'rather quiet' and a 'regular normal person.'

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