It was nearly midnight on July 22, 1991.
Police officers Rolf Mueller and Robert Rauth were doing their routine rounds in downtown Milwaukee, when a distressed man flagged down their patrol car.
Tracy Edwards, 32, was petrified and rambling about a "crazy dude" who had held a knife to him and threatened to cut out his heart and eat it. He also had a handcuff hanging from one wrist.
Edwards led them to Flat 213 of the nearby Oxford Apartments, site of the claimed attack. The officers were unconvinced. Wasn't it more likely this was a domestic row between gay lovers? At first glance, there was nothing alarming about the thin blond man who opened the door to the police officers and politely allowed them in. But, although his flat appeared clean and tidy, a putrid odour hung in the air.
After explaining they had received a complaint, Officer Mueller looked around. In the bedroom he found a butcher's knife and a bundle of Polaroid snaps. They showed naked young men in various pornographic poses.
Mueller was experienced and not easily shocked. But, as he flicked through the photos, his revulsion grew. This was depravity as he'd never encountered it. There were more pictures of the same boys lying dead, then of corpses cut into pieces. The setting for most of the photos was the very room he stood in - although one particularly gruesome shot had been taken in the kitchen area.
Ordering Rauth to restrain the owner, Mueller hurried to the fridge. Opening the door, he cried out. On the bottom shelf was a severed head.
A search of the flat found another three human heads in the freezer, along with human organs and bags of human flesh. Skulls were stored in boxes, cabinets and shelves. A large plastic drum contained other body parts, and in a cooking pot were decomposing hands and genital organs. In all, the remains of 11 victims were found.
From the moment of his arrest, Jeffrey Dahmer, 31, never denied the murders. Under interrogation, he said he had killed 17 males and admitted to perverse and evil acts.
For years, Dahmer had been enticing young men from gay bars back to his home by offering them money to pose naked for him.
Then he would drug and kill them and have sex with their dead bodies before cutting them into pieces.
At his trial, a psychological evaluator repeated how Dahmer had reported mutilating the corpse of his ninth victim, David Thomas.
"He said he kept the body for one or two days," she recalled. "Then he, quote-unquote, 'slit open his belly'. He said he took pictures."
Depraved Dahmer, who served two years in the US Army before being discharged for drunkenness aged 21, drilled holes into the sides of his victims' heads and injected them with acid to turn them into "living zombies."
Chillingly, Dahmer said he ate body parts. "It made me feel they were a permanent part of me," he said. "And it gave me sexual satisfaction."
The man who would shock the world grew up in an unremarkable, middle class Wisconsin family. But aged eight, Jeffrey was already showing an obsession with dead animals. His father Lionel, a chemist, recalled his son nailing dead frogs, cats and dogs to trees. The boy also kept squirrel and chipmunk skeletons in the shed.
Dahmer admitted that by his teenage years he was drinking heavily and having recurring fantasies about picking up a handsome male hitchhiker.
At 18, shortly after his parents divorced, Jeffrey did just that. His father had moved out and his mother and younger brother were away. Jeffrey had the family home to himself.
The hitchhiker he came across was Stephen Hicks, 19. After offering him a lift, Dahmer invited Stephen back to the house. But when, after drinking beer, Stephen said he had to go, Dahmer hit him over the head with a barbell before choking him to death.
He later said, "The guy wanted to leave. …