December 12, 2006
Dumb and Dahmer
The Reverend Roy Ratcliff, who baptized necrophiliac cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in a prison bathtub, thinks the serial killer would have made a fine evangelist:
He murdered 17 young men and boys in a sexually driven orgy of necrophilia and cannibalism. Then, in prison, Jeffrey Dahmer found God.
Now the minister who presided over his jailhouse baptism and conversion says Dahmer’s 1994 beating death at the hands of a fellow inmate while serving multiple life sentences cut short a faith-spreading mission Dahmer would have carried to others behind bars had he lived.
“He was growing (in faith) and he would have been a great influence on other inmates. He would have had a tremendous impact,” said the Rev. Roy Ratcliff, a Church of Christ minister who baptized Dahmer in a prison whirlpool tub in May 1994.
The baptism took place about five months before Dahmer and another inmate were killed at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin by a third pris-
oner who clubbed them to death while they were on a bathroom cleaning detail.
The good reverend probably didn’t see that coming:
Ratcliff, who has recounted his months with Dahmer in a newly released book, “Dark Journey, Deep Grace” (Leafwood Publishers), says the 34-year-old serial killer who killed 17 people between 1978 and 1991 was not the target of the kind of hate frequently aimed in prison at sex offenders.
“I asked him and he said he got along fine,” Ratcliff said in an interview.
“He didn’t see himself as being hated by other inmates the way he was hated in the world.”
… Asked if Dahmer, who was stone-faced and seemed devoid of empathy at his trial, had ever cried or shown deep emotion in his presence, Ratcliff said that while he never saw tears, Dahmer was not stone cold.
“I saw emotion, how he felt about his mother and father, anger toward a lawyer representing his victims’ families. But we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about his crimes,” Ratcliff said.
“We were focusing mainly on how to live a Christian life.”
Dahmer certainly lived a Christian death: Christopher Scarver, the inmate who killed him, later told prison authorities that God had told him to carry out the slaying.
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