A man who lived in Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment block has described the shock he and many fellow residents felt when they discovered the horrifying truth about their seemingly friendly neighbour.
Vernell Bass is a participant in Conversations With A Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, a new documentary coming to Netflix on October 7th in the US and in the UK. The documentary follows the highly successful drama Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which was released on Netflix this summer.
“I had no idea that this is what was occurring right across the hall from where we lived,” Bass says in the documentary. “Everyone in the building felt suckered. We all felt that Jeffrey Dahmer had played us. It’s really hard to become fond of someone, to find out that actually that person had a dagger in your back. I thought this guy was my friend.”
Dahmer was arrested in July 1991 and confessed to the murders of 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. He lived in the Oxford Apartments, an apartment building in Milwaukee, at the time of his arrest.
Earlier in the upcoming documentary, Bass recounts attempting to check on Dahmer after noticing that Dahmer had “started drinking more and spiralling down.”
“I would actually go to knock on his door to check on him, and I would notice the peephole would go dark,” Bass says. “Then it would go back light, and I knew that he came to the door and that he saw me. He knew that it was me knocking on the door, and he didn’t open the door for me. So I took it upon myself to think that he wanted me to go away, which I did.”
Bass says that one night, he was woken up by a “horrible smell” at around 2:30am. He says he covered the bottom of his door with a towel and went back to bed. He said his wife Pamela Bass went to investigate the smell and determined it was coming from Dahmer’s apartment, where Dahmer was later discovered to have been dissecting the bodies of his victims.
“She took a lawn chair, and she sat in our apartment with our door open, waiting for Jeff to come home,” Bass says of his wife. “When he came home, she confronted him about the smell.”
Bass says Dahmer tried to explain away the smell by claiming his freezer had stopped working. Dahmer is then heard recounting the same conversation on an audio tape. “I told them it was just the freezer that went on the blink,” Dahmer says to his attorney Wendy Patrickus in the tape.