MILWAUKEE -- A jury found Saturday that Jeffrey Dahmer was sane when he killed, dismembered and, in some cases, ate 15 young men and boys -- meaning the admitted serial killer will be sent to prison for life.
The jury of seven men and five women, who were chosen by lot Friday from a panel of 14 who heard the case, deliberated nearly five hours before returning the verdict.
Dahmer had admitted drugging, strangling and dismembering 17 young men and boys and pleaded guilty but insane to 15 of the murders. The jury was deciding on his sanity. If he had been found insane he would have been sent to a mental institution for treatment.
But the panel, which got the case late Friday afternoon but did not begin deliberations until Saturday morning, voted 10-2 in the case of each murder to find the former chocolate factory worker sane. Under Wisconsin law, only 10 of the jurors need agree for a verdict to be valid.
'He wanted to tell the world the story, one way or the other, so he could put an end to this being a racial or hatred kind of crime,' Dahmer lawyer Gerald Boyle told a news conference following the verdict.
'I knew I had an uphill struggle. I did and I failed. The fact of the matter is I wanted him studied.'
Boyle said he warned Dahmer before the verdict was returned that he did not think their defense had been successful.
Dahmer took the verdict quietly, showing no emotion. Boyle said Dahmer thanked him for trying.
Boyle predicted Dahmer will be sentenced Monday to 15 consecutive life terms with no hope of parole. He will be incarcerated at the maximum security prison in Portage.
Judge Laurence C. Gram Jr. read the verdict to a packed courtroom. The reading was punctuated by gasps and cries from relatives of the victims.
Gram polled the jury on each count. The jurors were asked whether Dahmer suffered from a mental disease when he committed the murders and if so whether he knew what he was doing was wrong or whether he could 'conform his conduct to the requirements of law.'
Most of Dahmer's victims were young black men but he told the psychiatrists and psychologists who interviewed him that race played no role in his selection of victims. Only one of the 12 jurors was black.
The verdict came following 12 days of testimony, highlighted by the stories of three young men who escaped from Dahmer's clutches.
Theresa Smith, the sister of victim Ed Smith, praised District Attorney E. Michael McCann for his handling of the case.
'I want to thank God, thank Mr. McCann, thank the jury, for bringing in justice for us,' said Shirley Hughes, the mother of victim Tony Hughes.
'This man was not insane. He was not insane.'
'I'd like to thank God. I've been praying every night that he would not be found insane,' said Louis Rios, a relative of victim Ernest Miller. 'This man was a liar and conniver. He went through the justice system too many times and this time he was caught.'
McCann said he was gratified by the verdict and said it proved Dahmer knew what he was doing when he committed the murders.
Much of the evidence in the case revolved around the testimony of mental health experts who split 4-3 over whether Dahmer was sane when he committed the murders. Two experts appointed by the court sided with the prosecution in saying Dahmer was legally sane at the times the murders were committed.
Only one of the experts described Dahmer as psychotic but all agreed he was a sexual deviate and knew what he was doing was wrong.
In his closing arguments Friday, Boyle described his client as a 'steamrolling killing machine' and 'a runaway train on a track of madness.'
'This is the most desolately lonely human being imaginable,' Boyle said. 'And the only time he could have companionship was when he created all these tragedies.'
McCann, however, implored the jury not to forget the victims.
'Ladies and gentlemen he's fooled a lot of people. Please, please don't let this murderous killer fool you,' McCann said.