It was a standard question that elicited a completely nonstandard answer.
"''Has anyone you know ever been convicted of a crime?''
John Backderf, who was being screened by a judge for a jury, answered truthfully: ''I had a close friend in high school who killed 17 people.''
According to the PD, the casual admission caused lawyers, the judge, and basically everyone in the courtroom to stop dead in their tracks.
"Who?" asked Sutula.
"Jeffrey Dahmer," answered Derf, who wrote and illustrated a collection of short stories, soon to be published as a graphic novel, called "My Friend Dahmer." Dahmer, a native of Bath, went on to become a notorious mass murderer. He died in prison after suffering a beating at the hands of another inmate in 1994.
Derf was dismissed from the jury list.
"I could just see the wheels turning in the prosecutor's head: Anti-government conspiracy theorist? Check. Once drew (Cuyahoga County Prosecutor) Bill Mason in diapers? Check. Gave Jeff Dahmer rides home from school? Check.
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