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Joy – not sadness – characterized Curt Booth’s voice Monday after
hearing the news of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer’s death in a
But Booth, an ex-convict turned Oklahoma prison minister, had no
vindictive feelings toward the man who confessed to murdering 17
men and boys and eating some of them.
Instead, the Crescent man – who earlier this year mailed Dahmer
a Bible and later helped find a preacher to baptize him – talked
about someday joining a fellow Christian in heaven.
“I know Jeffrey was ready,” said Booth, 64, a Crescent Church of
Christ member who served more than four years in prison for what he
called “thievery. ”
“Today, all the angels in heaven are rejoicing because Jeffrey
has come home. ”
Booth said he has no doubt about the sincerity of Dahmer’s
conversion, which he credits to Jesus Christ.
Dahmer was attacked and killed while cleaning a bathroom at his
maximum-security prison in Portage, Wis., about 40 miles north of
“He’s in paradise today,” Booth said. “On the great resurrection
day, I’m expecting to see him right along there with Abraham,
David, Isaac, James, John and all the saints that have lived right
up to the modern day.
“And I’ll know him and he’ll know me. ”
Booth usually ministers to inmates in places such as McAlester
But in April, he caught a glimpse of Dahmer in a national
Dahmer mentioned on the program that he wished “sometime in his
life he could find a little peace,” Booth recalled.
The Crescent man sensed what he considered the hurt in Dahmer’s
voice and eyes. He thought : “I know somebody who can give you that
peace. His name is Jesus Christ. ”
Booth sent Dahmer a Bible, a correspondence course teaching the
steps to salvation and other religious materials.
Dahmer completed the correspondence course and mailed the
answers back to Doris Stafford of Crescent for grading, Booth said.
Dahmer wrote Booth thanking him for the courses. He said a Virginia
woman also had sent him Bible courses.
“But I still have one problem,” Dahmer wrote. “This prison does
not have a baptismal tank and Mr. Burkum the prison chaplain is not
sure if he can find someone to bring a tank in and baptize me. This
has me very concerned. Would you be willing to find someone to help
baptize me? I’ve taken all the other steps. ”
Members of the Churches of Christ teach that steps to salvation
include hearing, believing, repenting, confessing and baptism by
immersion under water.
Booth contacted Roy Ratcliff, evangelist at the Madison, Wis.,
Church of Christ. Ratcliff set up weekly Bible lessons with Dahmer
and baptized him May 10.
“I tried several others (preachers), but they were kind of
scared to go in,” Booth said.
Another Oklahoma man, David Hartman of Oklahoma City, wrote
Dahmer after hearing of his baptism.
“I thought it was remarkable that someone who had that history
would become a Christian,” Hartman, 29, said Monday. “Something
made me decide to reach out to him and tell him I was happy for
Dahmer sent Hartman $ 5 worth of stamps, asking the Memorial Road
Church of Christ member to mail him 25 copies of a Bible
correspondence course for distribution to other inmates.
In one letter, Dahmer mentioned being attacked in July.
Dahmer wrote: “I don’t know if you heard, but last Sunday I was
attacked while in the chapel. Some guy tried to cut my throat open
with a razor but didn’t succeed. The razor broke, and my neck was
only slightly scratched. I believe that it was only the protective
grace of our great Lord & Savior Jesus Christ that saved me from
serious injury or death! ”