Jesse Anderson, The Man Who Killed His Wife And Was Later Beaten To Death Alongside Jeffrey Dahmer

Published January 8, 2024
Updated June 6, 2024

On November 28, 1994, Jesse Anderson was murdered by Christopher Scarver while serving a life sentence in a Wisconsin prison for killing his wife.

In November 1994, news of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder made headlines across the nation. In fact, the story was so sensational that it overshadowed the death of the other inmate who was killed right alongside him, Jesse Anderson.

Jesse Anderson

FindAGraveJesse Anderson murdered his wife, Barbara, in 1992 — and was murdered himself two years later.

Anderson was serving a life sentence for murdering his wife when he was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver just moments after Scarver murdered Dahmer. Scarver later admitted that he killed Anderson because he thought he was racist.

According to Scarver, Anderson had defaced a painting of Martin Luther King Jr. made by another inmate. He had also tried to pin his wife’s murder on two Black men. So, when Scarver found himself alone with Dahmer and Anderson, he took the opportunity to kill them both.

Jesse Anderson spent two days on life support before succumbing to his major head injuries — which was exactly the way his wife had died two years earlier. The murderer had become the murder victim.

The Murder Of Barbara Anderson

Jesse Anderson was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1957. He was in trouble with the law several times when he was young, once for assaulting his stepfather, but he’d never committed any major crimes.

Anderson divorced his first wife, Debra Ann Eickert, in 1984 and married his second wife, Barbara, a year later. He and Barbara had three children together and were living in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Anderson was working as a commercial oil salesman, and Barbara was the president of the same company.

On April 21, 1992, patrons at a T.G.I. Friday’s near Northridge Mall in Milwaukee were astonished to discover a badly beaten and bloodied woman in the parking lot behind the restaurant. Barbara was found unresponsive beneath a pickup truck and was bleeding out from multiple stab wounds.

Anderson was lying a few feet away with four stab wounds to his chest and a knife in his hand. When paramedics arrived on the scene, Anderson told them a shocking story: He claimed two unidentified Black men had attacked the couple in a robbery gone wrong.

Jesse Anderson With His Family

University of South CaliforniaJesse and Barbara Anderson with their three children.

He gave the officers a Los Angeles Clippers cap and told them he had taken it off of one of the assailants along with the knife before they fled.

But the death investigation took a twist when a local university student told police that Anderson had bought the cap from him the day of the incident, according to the Chicago Tribune. Tommie Myles said he was at the Northridge Mall when he was approached by a man who offered to buy the Clippers hat from him. He positively identified the man as Jesse Michael Anderson.

Anderson had presented the hat to the police as supposedly belonging to one of the alleged assailants, creating a narrative that would turn their suspicions elsewhere. However, the truth quickly began to unravel.

Jesse Anderson Is Sentenced To Life In Prison

More incriminating evidence against Jesse Anderson surfaced when a military surplus store confirmed that Anderson had purchased the same type of knife used in the murder weeks earlier. It was the only store in Milwaukee selling that particular red-handled knife.

The truth was that the Andersons had been out enjoying a seemingly normal dinner together the evening of the murder. After the two had finished their meal at T.G.I. Friday’s and were walking back to their car, Anderson had attacked his wife unprovoked, stabbing her 21 times in the face and head. Police would later discover that his wounds were self-inflicted.

Two days after the stabbing, Barbara tragically died from her injuries. At her funeral, Anderson shocked family and friends when he appeared in handcuffs. The Milwaukee police had arrested him for the murder of his wife. Although Anderson never confessed to the killing, no Black suspects were ever identified in connection with the incident.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Wikimedia CommonsJesse Anderson was cleaning a bathroom with Christopher Scarver and Jeffrey Dahmer when Scarver fatally beat both men with a metal bar.

He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 60 years.

Prosecutors said that the 35-year-old salesman and family man had intentionally murdered his wife. During the investigation, it came to light that Anderson had called his wife’s insurance company a month before her death to inquire about her $250,000 policy.

Friends of Anderson had heard him complain on more than one occasion about his wife. He wanted the perfect marriage, and he was unhappy with the weight Barbara had put on after the death of her brother. The FBI reported that a letter was found in Barbara’s purse that she had addressed to her husband promising to try to lose weight if he could be more supportive in their relationship.

Despite the evidence against him, Anderson continued to maintain his innocence, stating, “I’ve been made a scapegoat in a farce that some people call a trial. In a fair and impartial trial, my innocence would have been proven.”

The Shocking Murder Of Jesse Anderson At The Hands Of Christopher Scarver

On Nov. 28, 1994, while serving his sentence at Columbia Correctional Institution, Anderson and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer were cleaning prison toilets with another inmate by the name of Christopher Scarver. Scarver was serving a prison sentence for the murder of his former boss during a robbery that occurred in 1990.

When all three prisoners were alone, Scarver began attacking the two men with a 20-inch metal bar he had stolen from the prison weight room. First, he fatally beat Dahmer in the head.

Then, he turned his attention toward Anderson and began striking him.

Christopher Scarver Mugshot

Wikimedia CommonsChristopher Scarver, the inmate who killed Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson.

Dahmer was pronounced dead one hour after being transported to the hospital. Anderson passed away two days later after medical professionals removed him from life support — the exact same way his wife had died two years earlier.

Scarver told police that he hated Dahmer and his eerie practice of crafting makeshift severed limbs from prison food. The serial killer reportedly used ketchup packets to simulate the appearance of blood, which disturbed his fellow inmates.

This unsettling behavior angered Scarver. On that day, while performing their cleaning duties in the prison bathrooms, Scarver saw the perfect opportunity to get rid of him.

Scarver’s decision to murder Anderson was fueled by his belief that Anderson was racist. It was well known that Anderson had tried to blame Black men for his wife’s murder. He had also been caught defacing a portrait of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

“There was a picture in the arts and crafts room that a prisoner had spent a lot of time painting, and he hung it up in that room to dry,” Scarver said, according to the New York Post. “[Anderson] painted a blood dot on [MLK’s] forehead as if it were a bullet wound.”

In the end, Jesse Anderson faced the ultimate justice for the cold-blooded murder of his wife, even if the news of his death barely made a blip in the media alongside headlines about Jeffrey Dahmer’s demise.

After reading about Jesse Anderson, learn about Tracy Edwards, the only victim who was able to escape from Jeffrey Dahmer. Then, go inside the tragic story of Konerak Sinthasomphone, Dahmer’s youngest victim. Finally, learn about Jeffrey Dahmer’s father Lionel and mother Joyce.

Rivy Lyon
True crime expert Rivy Lyon holds a Bachelor's degree in criminology, psychology, and sociology. A former private investigator, she has also worked with CrimeStoppers, the Innocence Project, and disaster response agencies across the U.S. She transitioned into investigative journalism in 2020, focusing primarily on unsolved homicides and missing persons.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Lyon, Rivy. "Jesse Anderson, The Man Who Killed His Wife And Was Later Beaten To Death Alongside Jeffrey Dahmer.", January 8, 2024, Accessed June 13, 2024.