Billy Capshaw was only 17-years-old when he enlisted in the army. Growing up as the seventh of eight children, meant that the Capshaw family was often met with financial hardships and Billy wanted to do what he could to help to support his family. Shortly after enlisting, Capshaw received medic training through the U.S. Army, before being stationed to Germany. It was in Germany where Capshaw would meet his abuser.
Jeffrey Dahmer was around the age of 18 or 19 when the Army stationed him in Germany as well. Working as a medic, himself, Capshaw hit it off with Dahmer initially and was glad to see he would be rooming with a great guy like Jeff. It was only a matter of days before the respectable and jovial guy Capshaw had met when he first arrived in Germany would turn into the psychopath we now know Jeffrey Dahmer was.
Described as “nurturing yet sadistic,” Dahmer would often deprive Capshaw of food, lock him in their apartment, beat him, drug him, and anally rape him. Capshaw sustained multiple injuries, not only from Dahmer, but from his escape attempts.
Then there were other times that Dahmer would be sweet to Billy. He would help nurse his wounds, assist him when he was suffering broken bones from one of his escape attempts, and even once told Billy that he loved him. Capshaw reported the abuse to his superiors, but his cries were often mocked or ignored.
It is Billy’s belief that Dahmer may have been killing while they were in Germany. He relates stories where Dahmer would be out for several days, only to come back covered in blood. There was also a dorm-sized refrigerator located in the apartment he and Capshaw shared that remained locked at all times, except for when Capshaw witnessed Dahmer place conspicuous paper bags inside. Often he would tell Billy it was lunch meat or some other food item, but now understanding the true nature of Jeffrey Dahmer, Billy shutters to think of what those bags could have contained.
Billy also recalls rumors of Dahmer having been investigated for a murder of a man name Hans. Dahmer was allegedly the last person to be seen with Hans leaving the barracks. Several days later Hans’ body was found mutilated close to where he was last spotted.
Billy was not allowed to contact his family while sharing the room with Dahmer. His family attempted to reach him, but his superiors would only disclose that Billy had been reported as AWOL. Dahmer refused to allow Billy to report to duty and his paychecks were cut off.
There were times Billy thought about murdering Dahmer, but fearing he would be sent to a European prison, he relented. With no one to turn to, Billy was forced to survive the ordeal. He describes how he carefully studied Dahmer’s mannerisms, in order to prevent angering him in any way. Knowing that the beatings were worse when Jeffrey was drinking, he’d break into his locker in order to steal his money.
Though Billy failed to appear at formation, somehow he still managed to get promoted. He believes that this was not only due to Dahmer’s possible connections to supervising officers, but the fact that the Army was still recovering from the war in Vietnam and many of the soldiers spent their days drunk.
For 18 months Billy had to endure the torture of Jeffrey Dahmer, but that was soon to change. On one of the rare occasions Billy was allowed to report for duty, he came back to hear that Dahmer would no longer be rooming with him. Officially, the decision to discharge Dahmer wasn’t because of the abuse of Billy Capshaw, but his drinking.
Capshaw would be back in the states two months after having suffered the ordeal. Two years later he received an honorable discharge. He now suffers from severe PTSD because of the incident, but he hasn’t allowed his illness to take over his life.
Through the help of a therapist, Billy began speaking out about his story. Working with author and journalist, Arthur J. Harris, Billy began assisting Harris in his research by speaking with witnesses who believe they saw Jeffrey Dahmer in South Florida. Additionally, Capshaw is an advocate for military rape survivors and has worked adamantly to lift the veil of secrecy about the rape culture in the military.
As for Dahmer, after his discharge from the military he returned to the United States. It’s believed that he spent a period in South Florida before moving to Wisconsin. There he would leave his lasting impression on the world when bodies of his victims were found stockpiled in his apartment and Billy would realize just how lucky he was to survive the clutches of the notorious cannibal.