‘Conversations with a Killer’: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Lawyer Wendy Patrickus Tried to Prevent His Death in Prison

Wendy Patrickus was Dahmer’s lawyer and the person who collected the tapes heard in Netflix‘s Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes. Before his death in November 1994, Patrickus tried to change Dahmer’s mind about a decision that ultimately got him killed. Find out how. 

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead regarding Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.]

Wendy Patrickus, the lawyer who represented Jeffrey Dahmer during his trial for murder in the early 1990s
Wendy Patrickus and Jeffrey Dahmer in court as seen in ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes’ | Netflix

Jeffrey Dahmer ‘wanted death for himself’ 

“This has never been a case of trying to get free,” Dahmer’s final statement began at the end of his trial. “Frankly I want to death for myself.” He continued: 

“I hated no one. I knew I was sick or evil or both. Now I believe I was sick. I take all the blame for what I did. I’ve hurt many people. I’ve hurt my mother, father, and stepmother. I love them all so very much. I hope that they will find the same peace I am looking for.” 

Jeffrey Dahmer, ‘Conversations with a Killer’

Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive terms of life imprisonment in a state with no death penalty. He went to the Columbia Correctional Facility in Wisconsin, where he hoped he would be able to do something with plants.

Upon his arrival, Dahmer went on suicide watch in a single cell instead of the general population bullpen. Having to be alone bothered Dahmer, and he eventually requested to change his situation.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s lawyer tried to prevent his move to gen pop 

After a year in solitary, Dahmer consulted with Patrickus about a change. “I can’t do this anymore,” he told his legal counsel. “I can’t just sit in isolation. If I can’t interact with other people, that’s going to be worse than if I died.” Then Dahmer asked to be put in general population, which Patrickus was very much against. 

“Jeff, you know you’re going to be dead shortly?” Patrickus warned Dahmer of his decision. “Everybody had such strong, strong views and opinions about his actions,” she tells cameras in the Netflix docuseries. “We don’t need any further loss of life.” 

As recorded on their interview tapes, Dahmer told Patrickus: “I’ve always been one who needs stimulation, mental stimulation. I just don’t have the patience that I should.” 

Patrickus had a hard time leaving the prison that day. “Please don’t do this,” she remembered saying to Dahmer. “You’re not gonna make it.'” 

Jeffrey Dahmer died the same way he killed his first victim Steven Hicks 

Dahmer was murdered by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver on Nov. 28, 1994. Scarver used a barbell from the exercise room to beat Dahmer to death. According to authorities, Dahmer did not resist the attack. 

There is a lot of irony in the way Dahmer died. He killed his first victim, Steven Hicks, in June 1978 by strangling the 18-year-old with a barbell. Dahmer then dismembered the body and hid it in a drain pipe. 

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Contrary to popular belief, Dahmer’s death was not an inside job or a conspiracy within the prison. Even still, some think Dahmer’s death was a set up due to the lack of patrol on him the day he died. 

Jeffrey Dahmer’s parent’s response to his death

In an interview, Dahmer’s father Lionel spoke about his son’s death. He first heard of the news from his wife and was devastated to learn his son “passed away.” Dahmer’s mother, Joyce, said in another interview: “Although he was a killer, he could not defend himself.” 

Like the Dahmer family, Patrickus was upset about Dahmer’s death. As she said in Conversations with a Killer: “You can’t help but become close to someone you spend that much time with.” 

Wendy Patrickus is still a lawyer today

According to her LinkedIn page, Patrickus has been practicing law since 1988. Today, she owns and operates her own practice, the Law Offices of Wendy A. Patrickus.

Watch Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes exclusively on Netflix.