Jeffrey Dahmer Survivor's Former Lawyer Reveals How Traumatic The Experience Was After Netflix Series Revisits

Evan Peters as Jeffery Dahmer in a prison uniform in Dahmer.
(Image credit: Netflix)

The true crime miniseries Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has taken Netflix by storm. It has remained the No. 1 series on the streamer for a while, but the show has also faced great criticism. Many have spoken out against it, including siblings of Dahmer’s victims and the journalist who broke the story first. Now, the lawyer of one of Damer’s victims that survived has spoken out about how traumatizing his experience with the killer was.

Paul Ksicinski represented Tracy Edwards, who had escaped from Dahmer’s apartment in 1991. After he escaped, he flagged down a patrol car, and with a pair of handcuffs hanging around one of his wrists, told the officers that he was almost killed by Dahmer. This caused the investigation that led to Dahmer's arrest. This was also when Dahmer confessed to killing 17 people. Edwards’ story is shown in the first episode of Dahmer, however, Ksicinski explained that Edwards’ life took a turn for the worst after his experience with the serial killer. The lawyer explained to Fox News

The way that I’ve characterized it, in a nutshell, is that the incident with Dahmer made Tracy into Humpty Dumpty – he was never able to put the pieces back together in his life. At times, he may have appeared or even sounded like, for a lack of a better term, normal. But he was not. He could never get his life together again after that. He abused drugs and drank alcohol excessively. He had no home. He just drifted from place to place. It destroyed his life. I don’t know how or what he could have done to put things back together again.

Since surviving this encounter, Edwards has been indicted for several crimes. In 2011 Ksicinski took Edwards as a client, this was because Edwards was accused of throwing a man off a bridge and to his death. The lawyer noted that Edwards has always been haunted by what Dahmer did, and it still impacts him. 

He called Dahmer the devil. I eventually came to determine he never sought any kind of psychological or psychiatric treatment for what happened to him. Instead, he chose to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs on the street. He didn’t go into treatment because that would cause him to have to remember what happened. But he spoke of what happened to him. He described smelling death when he entered Dahmer’s apartment, how Dahmer put his head on his chest, so he can hear his heartbeat. He described how Dahmer said, ‘I’m going to have to eat your heart.’

Ksicinski noted that Edwards has always taken responsibility for what he did. He also explained that Edwards did not ask for any of this, and it makes sense that he does not want to remember what happened to him. This tracks with what Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, a victim of Dahmer’s, said. She noted that when she watched the show it made her feel like she was reliving what happened, and it brought back the emotions she felt in those moments. Edwards’ lawyer acknowledged how difficult this situation is on those who experience it, saying: 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is real. It’s not something that’s manufactured. People suffer incredibly traumatic events, and it’s different for every person in terms of how they handle it. You don’t know what that person has gone through or how they’re coping. And it might help to know that before passing judgment.

Evan Peters has brought lots of troubling characters to life, but Dahmer is one of the most wicked. While the show has been one of the most popular on the 2022 TV schedule, lots of stories have come out about how troubling it is, and how victims have had to deal with their trauma since Dahmer was caught.  

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.