Money in the mail: Pen pals have sent Dahmer $12,000

Published Mar. 7, 1994|Updated Oct. 6, 2005

One woman said she wanted to teach serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer about Jesus, so she sent him $350 along with some Bible literature.

Another woman sent $50 so that Dahmer could buy "cigarettes, stamps and envelopes."

In all, Dahmer, who admitted killing and dismembering 17 men and boys, has received more than $12,000 from letter-writers around the world, according to prison records.

The money and letters are itemized in the files of Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, where the 33-year-old Dahmer is serving life sentences, The Milwaukee Journal reported in Sunday's editions.

People who send Dahmer money represent "a very sick group of people around the world that contribute for whatever reason," said Thomas Jacobson, who represents relatives of victims.

Prison officials said Dahmer can solicit donations if he does not commit fraud. Records show he has spent all but $4,284 of his take, mostly on mail-ordered magazines, comics and cassettes, including Gregorian chants and whale sounds.

Spray or sticks: Study determines pepper spray is safer despite deaths

A blast of pepper spray remains the safer alternative to a well-swung nightstick, according to a study of cases where subjects died after being sprayed. The International Association of Chiefs of Police examined 22 deaths of suspects subjected to pepper spray and found the spray was not a factor in the deaths.

Pepper spray contains a cayenne pepper extract in an oil base. It restricts breathing and is used by police to subdue unruly suspects.

The study, part of a larger examination paid for with a $240,000 Justice Department grant, covered 1990 to 1993. It has not been released, but John Granfield, a former police chief who supervised the research, discussed the findings in an interview last week.

Granfield said 30 cases were found through news reports, information from the association's 13,000 members and other sources.

According to the study, most deaths occurred instead from "positional asphyxia," meaning that police restrained the suspects in a way that restricted their breathing, Granfield said. This is also a common cause of death in cases not involving pepper spray, he said.

Despite the findings, civil libertarians in California have urged police to suspend use of the sprays until further research is complete.