Meet Christopher Scarver — The Man Who Killed Jeffrey Dahmer

Published September 2, 2022
Updated October 4, 2022

Christopher Scarver didn't like Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes. So on November 28, 1994, in Columbia Correctional Institution, he did something about it.

On November 28, 1994, Christopher Scarver, an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, was assigned to clean the prison’s gymnasium with two other inmates. One inmate was named Jesse Anderson. The other was the infamous cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

It was then that Christopher Scarver killed Dahmer by beating him to death, leaving him battered and bloody on the floor. Scarver also fatally beat Anderson. Then, he walked back to his cell. When a guard asked him why he was back so early, Scarver said, “God told me to do it. You will hear about it on the 6 o’clock news. Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead.”

Indeed, news of Jeffrey Dahmer’s death spread quickly across America. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many people celebrated the demise of the notorious serial killer. And it soon became clear that the story of how Jeffrey Dahmer died was almost as gruesome as the crimes he himself committed.

Why Christopher Scarver Was In Prison

Christopher Scarver

Wikimedia CommonsChristopher Scarver’s mugshot, taken in 1992.

Christopher Scarver — the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer — was born on July 6, 1969, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After he dropped out of high school and his mother kicked him out of the house, Scarver secured a position through the Youth Conservation Corps program as a trainee carpenter.

A program supervisor allegedly told Scarver that once he completed the program, he would become a full-time employee. But that never happened.

On the first day of June in 1990, a disgruntled Scarver went to the office of the training program. Steve Lohman, a former boss, was working there. Scarver said that the program owed him money and demanded Lohman give it to him. When Lohman only gave him $15, Scarver fatally shot him.

The man who later killed Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested soon after shooting Lohman. He was found sitting on the stoop of his girlfriend’s apartment.

During Scarver’s trial, a police officer testified that Scarver had told the arresting officers he planned to turn himself in because he knew what he did was wrong, according to The New York Times. And in 1992, Christopher Scarver was convicted and given a life sentence behind bars.

That same year, the “Milwaukee Cannibal” made headlines as a jury sentenced him to 15 terms of life imprisonment for his grisly crimes.

The Capture Of The Milwaukee Cannibal

Jeffrey Dahmer's Death

EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty ImagesBetween 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer murdered at least 17 young men and boys, some of whom he cannibalized.

Jeffrey Dahmer was never destined to have an easy time in prison. In retrospect, some would argue that Jeffrey Dahmer’s death was a certainty from the moment he walked inside the correctional facility.

His crimes had been covered by virtually every major news outlet across America, and his name had become synonymous with cannibalism.

The serial killer ultimately pleaded guilty to murdering 17 young men and boys. And the condition in which police found the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer — dismembered, preserved, and prepared for consumption — made him no less a source of revulsion to prison inmates than to the rest of the country.

Then, too, there was the fact that he was gay and had raped his young male victims, a crime that carried a particular stigma behind bars.

In short, though the judge had spared Dahmer from death row (the state of Wisconsin prohibits capital punishment), a prison term of any length was truthfully a death sentence for the Milwaukee Cannibal.

The only remaining question was when he would die.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s Life In Prison

Solitary Confinement Cell

Jobs for Felons Hub/FlickrA solitary confinement cell, like the one where Jeffrey Dahmer spent his first year in prison.

Before that fateful day in 1994, Christopher Scarver had only watched Jeffrey Dahmer from afar. And he didn’t pay much attention to the cannibal.

After all, Dahmer’s first year in the Columbia Correctional Institution had been a quiet one. He was kept, with his consent, in solitary confinement, minimizing the impact of his presence on the other inmates.

But after a year of isolation, Dahmer was restless. He reportedly told family members that he didn’t care what happened to him. Having become a born-again Christian, he was prepared to repent and meet his maker.

So Dahmer left solitary and joined prison life. But according to Scarver, the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal wasn’t repentant at all.

Scarver claimed that Dahmer would use prison food and ketchup to replicate bloody severed limbs as a means of taunting the other inmates.

Christopher Scarver also said that he witnessed a few heated interactions between Dahmer and other prisoners. Once, a fellow inmate named Osvaldo Durruthy tried to slash Dahmer’s throat with a razor in front of guards.

Dahmer wasn’t seriously hurt, and he continued to participate in regular prison activities — until November 28, 1994, when there were no guards.

How Jeffrey Dahmer Died At The Hands Of Christopher Scarver

Prison Where Christopher Scarver Killed Jeffrey Dahmer

Wikimedia CommonsThe Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, where Jeffrey Dahmer and Christopher Scarver were once held.

Christopher Scarver would later say he was provoked that day while he, Dahmer, and Anderson were cleaning the gymnasium. Either Dahmer or Anderson poked him in the back, and then they both snickered.

So Scarver took a 20-inch metal bar off a piece of exercise equipment. He cornered Dahmer near a locker room and pulled out a newspaper clipping from his pocket, with a detailed account of the cannibal’s horrific crimes. And thus began the confrontation that ended with Jeffrey Dahmer’s death.

“I asked him if he did those things ’cause I was fiercely disgusted,” Scarver said in an interview with the New York Post. “He was shocked. Yes, he was… He started looking for the door pretty quick. I blocked him.”

With no guards around, 25-year-old Christopher Scarver struck 34-year-old Dahmer over the head twice with the metal bar and smashed his head against the wall. According to Scarver, Dahmer did not fight back. Instead, he seemed to accept his fate. Scarver then bludgeoned Anderson to death.

Dahmer was found still alive, but barely. He was taken to the hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead. The cause of Jeffrey Dahmer’s death was blunt force trauma that had been delivered in a brutal fashion by Scarver.

Though Scarver soon claimed that God had told him to carry out the attack, some believe his real motive had to do with the fact that Dahmer had mostly preyed on Black victims. While Scarver had also killed Anderson that day, many were quick to point out that Anderson was a white man who had tried to blame two Black men after he murdered his own wife.

Who Killed Jeffrey Dahmer

Steve Kagan/Getty ImagesA local newspaper reporting how Jeffrey Dahmer died at the hands of Christopher Scarver.

But prison officials said there was no evidence that Scarver’s murders of Dahmer and Anderson were racially motivated. And Scarver himself seemed to express far more anger about Dahmer’s lack of remorse for his crimes. “Some people who are in prison are repentant,” Scarver said, years after Jeffrey Dahmer’s death, “but he was not one of them.”

After the murder of Jeffrey Dahmer, Christopher Scarver received two additional life sentences. He was then transferred to several different prisons after the attack. Currently, Scarver is housed in the Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado, according to The U.S. Sun.

Scarver later claimed that the prison guards at Columbia Correctional Institution left him alone with Dahmer on purpose because they wanted to see Dahmer dead and they knew Scarver didn’t like him. But no one was likely prepared for how Jeffrey Dahmer died and the brutality behind it.

Though the crime was intentional, the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer had complained of delusional thoughts he was having in prison. Prison doctors have conducted over 10 evaluations regarding Scarver’s mental state.

Christopher Scarver has his own theory, which involves the food that he was eating in prison. “Certain foods I eat cause me to have a psychotic break,” he said, adding, “Bread, refined sugar — those are the main culprits.”

More recently, Scarver has taken to poetry, even publishing a book from prison in 2015 titled God Seed: Poetry of Christopher J. Scarver. The Amazon summary describes the collection as such: “A poetic vision of the world as seen through prison walls. Christopher’s poetry describes his journey from despair, to hope, from mistrust to finding the good in others.”

But no matter the path his life takes from here, Christopher Scarver will forever be remembered as the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer.


After learning about Christopher Scarver and how Jeffrey Dahmer died, go inside the horrific full story of Ted Bundy. Then, read about more of the worst serial killers to ever walk the Earth.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.