On. Nov. 28, 1994, the notorious necrophiliac and cannibalistic murderer Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered by another inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institute in Portage, Wis.
Dahmer was found guilty in 1991 of 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 15 life terms - one of the harshest sentences ever imposed in Wisconsin's legal history. Dahmer met his fate along with inmate Jesse Anderson at the hands of Christopher Scarver, who beat both of the men to death while they were on unsupervised work detail.
Dahmer's remains were cremated and, because of an argument between his parents, were divided in half between his birth mother Joyce, and his father and stepmother, Lionel and Shari.
Many of Dahmer's haunts had become as infamous as the murders he committed, making a return to normalcy very difficult, particularly for the families of his victims. In fact, the Oxford Apartments, where Dahmer had lived and committed the murders, were ultimately demolished because of the great notoriety surrounding the case.
Here, NBC Correspondent Dawn Fratangelo recalls covering Dahmer's murder and the sense of hope it seemed to instill in the community scarred by his infamy:
Jeffrey Dahmer's macabre murder spree shook the country, the world even, and especially the folks of the Midwest. The neighborhood where he lived in Milwaukee and the bars where he would prey on young boys and men became notorious landmarks. I remember the NBC News crew going out of its way to show me the landmarks the first time I traveled with the crew to Milwaukee.
"That's where Jeffrey Dahmer used to hang out," the cameraman said.
I was with that same crew as we drove to Portage, Wis., to cover the breaking news that Jeffrey Dahmer had been killed in prison. The crew had covered his trial and sentencing. I had not since they took place before I became the correspondent in our Midwest bureau in Chicago. But during the few hours it took to get to the prison, local talk radio made it clear how the Midwest felt about Dahmer's fateful ending. Maybe -- they were saying on the radio -- the infamy would end.
The atmosphere around the prison did not reflect the frenzy surrounding Dahmer's murder or the ones he had committed. In fact, the landscape was bucolic almost -- rolling, rural hills and a pretty, white clapboard house were just across the road from the neatly structured brick prison. How odd, I remember thinking. What a long way from the hell that Dahmer had created in his apartment-turned-dungeon.
Information soon trickled out that an inmate had killed Dahmer and another notorious convict housed in the maximum-security prison. The three had been part of a work crew apparently left unmonitored by guards for 20 minutes. That raised eyebrows, leading some to believe the killing was allowed to happen. The inmate accused was a black man. Many of Dahmer's victims had been minorities or the underprivileged. The other convict killed had falsely accused a black man of the murder he was actually responsible for. And so it seemed "prison justice" had prevailed inside the walls.
Some of the family members of Dahmer's victims voiced vindication, satisfaction and relief. After a few days -- the talk radio chatter about Dahmer grew fainter. And I kept thinking about that atmosphere and landscape surrounding the prison: quiet, calm, peaceful. It seemed to reflect what the Midwest so wanted to return to. The nightmarish reign of Jeffrey Dahmer was over.