Tracy Edwards ‘Could Never Get His Life Together’ After Meeting Jeffrey Dahmer

Photo credit: YouTube
Photo credit: YouTube

The life and crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer are fictionalized in the Netflix limited series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, but real footage from his arrest and trial will be shown in their new docuseries, Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.

Monster details how Dahmer, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, lured men back to his home to kill them.

Dahmer usually engaged in sex acts with his victims’ bodies before dismembering them, according to Biography, and he kept souvenirs from his crimes, like Polaroids, skulls and genitalia, in his home.

In total, Dahmer killed 17 victims—usually young, gay, Black men—between 1978 and 1991, but one person got away: Tracy Edwards. He was the only man to escape from Dahmer's clutches, and his story helped lead to Dahmer's eventual arrest and conviction. It isn't clear if he will appear in Conversations With A Killer, but he did testify against Dahmer in his trial.

But where is Tracy Edwards now? And how has his escape affected the rest of his life? Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Tracy Edwards?

Tracy Edwards was victimized by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in 1991 when he was 32 years old, per Biography. Edwards escaped from Dahmer's apartment on July 22, 1991, and the police found him wandering the streets with handcuffs hanging from his wrist.

Edwards led police back to Dahmer's apartment, where Dahmer offered to get the keys for the handcuffs, per Biography. Police officers searched Dahmer's bedroom for the knife that Edwards said he had threatened him with, and they spotted Polaroid photos Dahmer had taken of other dismembered bodies.

When police searched his apartment, they found a decapitated head in his fridge and other terrifying souvenirs from his killings, including jars of mens' genitalia and a large gallery of Polaroid photos of his victims, per Biography.

How did Tracy Edwards meet Jeffrey Dahmer?

As was often the case with Dahmer's victims, Edwards met him at a bar, according to The Sun. They talked about the military, since they had that in common. (Edwards' dad had served.) Edwards recalled that Dahmer was "acting normal," during the trial. Dahmer said was visiting from Chicago and was taking care of his sick grandmother.

He invited Edwards to his apartment to watch The Exorcist and drink some beer. Inside, Edwards noticed an odor, and Dahmer told him his management company would take care of it. Soon, he handcuffed Edwards and threatened him with a knife.

In his trial, Edwards said he'd seen Dahmer a couple times before then but didn't know him personally—they'd just greet each other casually.

Edwards played a role in the court case.

Edwards actually went on to testify against Dahmer in court in 1992 during the Wisconsin vs. Dahmer court case, and he played a role in the legal proceedings that eventually saw Dahmer convicted in the murder of 15 men that same year. He was living in Louisiana at the time of the trial.

Dahmer would go on to spend around two years in prison before another inmate murdered him.

What has Edward’s lawyer said about the escape?

Edward’s lawyer during the Dahmer case, Paul Ksicinski, recently shared the effect the horrific instance had on his client. The events “destroyed his life,” Ksicinski told Fox News.“He could never get his life together again after that,” the lawyer added.

Following the trial, Edwards “abused drugs and drank alcohol excessively. He had no home. He just drifted from place to place.”

The lawyer believes that Edwards suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because he was “just so averse to wanting to remember what happened to him or even talk about it.”

When victim’s families took part of a civil litigation, Edwards didn’t show up. “My personal belief is he didn’t because he’d have to remember what happened,” Ksicinski said.

Edwards had a criminal record before meeting Dahmer.

Prior to his run in with Dahmer, Edwards lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he had been indicted for the sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl. After his name and face started popping up thanks to the Dahmer trial, he was extradited back to the South where he faced charges, per the New York Post.

Tracy ran into trouble with the law again 20 years later.

When Edwards returned to Wisconsin, he was arrested several more times for things like drug possession, theft, property damage, failure to pay child support, and bail jumping, ABC reported, per the New York Post.

But the story doesn't end there. On July 26, 2011, Edwards was arrested after being accused of taking part in a crime that involved throwing a man to his death off a Milwaukee bridge, according to ABC News. Edwards was 52 at the time and homeless. He had been moving from shelter to shelter since 2002, ABC News said.

He eventually pleaded guilty to aiding a felon after he and another man threw someone off of a downtown bridge into a river during an argument, per Fox 6.

What has he said about Jeffrey Dahmer?

During his court testimony, Edwards said that Dahmer took him to his bedroom where he was handcuffed. He also said that Dahmer was “not the same person” that he met at a bar.

“His face structure seemed different…It was like, it wasn’t him anymore,” he said.

Edward’s lawyer remembers his client describing smelling death when he entered Dahmer’s apartment. He said Edwards told him that Dahmer placed his head on his chest and said “I’m going to have to eat your heart,” per Fox News.

Where is Tracy Edwards now?

In 2012, Edwards was convicted by a Milwaukee County Circuit Court for his role in the death of the man who was thrown off the bridge to his death. The judge sentenced Edwards to 1.5 years in jail and two years of extended supervision.

It’s unclear where Edwards is now.

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