Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl wrote this article in 2015 about Christopher Scarver, the inmate who killed Jeffrey Dahmer in prison in 1994. Scarver, 21 years after the killing, said he did it because Dahmer taunted inmates by shaping his food into body parts.
After 21 years, we have stopped caring exactly why Jeffrey Dahmer was killed in prison by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver.
Milwaukee's infamous serial killer is long dead and gone, and Scarver needs to live 1,000 more years to even come close to his parole date.
Done and done.
But Scarver was back in the news last week, telling the New York Post a brand-new tale of why he beat Dahmer to death in 1994, and for good measure also killed Jesse Anderson, a Town of Cedarburg businessman who stabbed his wife to death near Northridge and tried to blame it on young black men.
Scarver, in a federal prison in Colorado, now says he had come to hate Dahmer because he taunted other inmates by turning his food into the shapes of severed body parts, and then adding ketchup to look like blood.
So that's it. Dahmer the cannibal had to die because he played with his food.
Gerald Boyle, who defended Dahmer at trial, doesn't believe it. Neither does Steven Kohn, who represented Scarver.
"It's ridiculous," Boyle told me.
Boyle served on a governor's commission that investigated the murders of Dahmer and Anderson. As part of that duty, he went to a federal prison in Missouri, along with Kohn, to interview Scarver in June of 1995, six months after the two slayings.
At that time, Scarver never said a word about Dahmer taunting anyone in prison or joking about his crimes, Boyle and Kohn said.
"He told me he had a hit list of five guys who he did not feel were worthy of the word murderer because of who and how they killed," Boyle said.
Boyle came away from the investigation convinced that guards at Columbia Correctional Institution did not intentionally leave Scarver alone with Dahmer and Anderson in an exercise area so that he could kill them. In the Post article, Scarver said the guards helped make it happen, but he refused to elaborate.
Kohn said nothing in the public record supports what Scarver says in the new article. He recalls that Scarver said in the interview with Boyle that Dahmer and Anderson had murdered for unacceptable reasons, and that it was humiliating to be in the same work detail with them.
The Post, a tabloid drawn to sensational news, included what it says are morgue photos of Dahmer. On the day the Scarver item ran, other most popular stories included "UFO buzzing NYC" and "This couple has the loudest sex in NYC."
I covered both the Dahmer and Anderson cases for The Milwaukee Journal, as well as the murder case that sent Scarver to prison. There was testimony that Scarver believed he was a million years old. He also professed to be the son of God. So he may be prone to embellishment.
"Dahmer was such a milquetoast. He would never have done that stuff," Boyle said. "He killed people, but he didn't taunt people. I never saw him do anything that would lead me to believe that he would mimic the deaths that he caused. I just don't believe that."
The Post ran a follow-up article quoting a Madison pastor, Roy Ratcliff, saying Dahmer would tell prison guards, "I bite," and then laugh. Ratcliff also said Dahmer put up a sign in his cell that said: "Cannibals anonymous meeting tonight."
Boyle told me none of this was ever mentioned when the commission talked to prison officials.
Ratcliff baptized Dahmer in prison and presided at his memorial service. In 2006, I wrote about his book, in which he said he believed Dahmer was in heaven.
When I contacted him again about the Post article, Ratcliff said he was quoted accurately, but admitted he never saw the sign and did not hear any of this from Dahmer. "These are stories guards told me," he said.
Maybe the truth of any of this doesn't matter much. We all like a provocative tale, right?
Still, I'm not buying what Christopher Scarver is peddling.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Dahmer killer Scarver said the serial killer taunted inmates with food