The woman tasked with defending serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in court made a shocking admission while discussing her experience for a new Netflix series.
I'm no defence attorney, but I imagine trying to fight for the best possible outcome for clients being accused of breaking the law is a tough job at the best of times, never mind when you're faced with one accused of killing and dismembering multiple people.
It's a job that requires a lot, and one which was taken on in 1991 by Wendy Patrickus, the lawyer who represented Dahmer following his arrest.
The lawyer discusses her work during Netflix's new show Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer tapes, describing the serial killer as 'very polite' and admitting she was surprised at how 'cordial' Dahmer was.
"Instilling in him that I'm not somebody sitting here judging him was of utmost importance," Patrickus said. She was tasked with convincing him to open up in 30 hours worth of interviews, talking about each of his victims and gathering 'as much information as possible'.
It's a monumental task, given that Dahmer is one of the world's most notorious serial killers, so you'd imagine that the lawyer on the case would be well versed in such jobs. If not serial killers, then at least murderers of some kind.
Patrickus revealed, however, that Dahmer was actually her first job.
"I was a young lawyer at the time," she explains in Conversations with a Killer. "I get this call from my boss, he said 'I need you to see Jeffrey Dahmer'. It was my first job. I felt like Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs."
Patrickus has admitted she is still haunted by Dahmer's actions even three decades on, saying there is nothing that could 'prepare anybody for that kind of carnage'.
"It was terrifying to see that this was real. The Polaroids that Jeffrey took, I was horrified, I have nightmares with it, I was just thinking, you know 'how am I going to get through this'. I didn't have anybody to talk to about it," she said.
Throughout the months she spent with Dahmer, Patrickus said that there were times she felt like his mother, times when she felt like he could be her brother, and times when she felt like a therapist.
"In order to be a good defence attorney, you have to be non-judgemental and develop a trust. He called me Wendy, and I called him Jeff."
Dahmer ultimately confessed to killing 17 people and received 15 consecutive life sentences in prison. Just three years after his arrest he was killed in prison by another inmate, Christopher Scarver.
Featured Image Credit: Netflix
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