My brother was murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer. Here’s what it was like watching the Netflix show that recreated the emotional statement I gave in court.

Left: Rita Isbell delivering a victim impact statement at Jeffrey Dahmer’s sentencing in 1992. Right: Rita Isbell in a more recent photo.Rita Isbell

  • A clip from Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” depicts Rita Isbell delivering her victim impact statement.

  • Isbell gave the statement at Dahmer’s 1992 sentencing, but was not involved in the Netflix show.

  • This is her story about the statement, which has gone viral, as told to reporter Kelsey Vlamis.

This is an as-told-to essay based on a conversation with Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. Isbell’s emotional victim impact statement, delivered in court at the 1992 sentencing, was recreated in Netflix’s new show, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

When I found out I could read a victim impact statement, I knew I was going to let Jeffrey Dahmer have it. I just didn’t know what I was going to say.

I hadn’t written anything down. If I had, I would’ve torn it up anyway. It wouldn’t have gotten read. That was my first time ever being in front of him. Whatever I thought I was going to say, that didn’t happen. It all just came out in the moment.

My plans were to get up there and say how it made my mother feel and what it did to her and all this other stuff. But no, when I got in front of his face it was a whole new ball game. I recognized evil. I was face-to-face with pure evil.

I wasn’t scared. That’s not me at all. I never had a scarred bone in my body. I believe he knew that too. And then I was angry because he wouldn’t look at me.

The reason why I said what I said during that impact statement was because, during the trial, they were portraying him as being so out of control he couldn’t stop himself. But you have to be in control in order to do the things that he was doing. You have to very much be in control.

So that’s why I said: “Let me show you what out of control is. This is out of control.” I was out of body. I wasn’t myself in that moment.

Whatever I had on the inside, I let it out. I didn’t hold it in and later say: “Oh, I wish I had said or done this when I had the opportunity to.” And I think I was speaking for a lot of the other family members of the victims.

The officers that pulled me away were really nice to me. They asked me if I needed water. I told them I had a headache and they offered me painkillers. They were understanding. And then right after that we went outside the courtroom and there were all these news people just rushing me. I didn’t even have time to get it together.

I don’t need to watch it, I lived it

When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said.

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought it was me. Her hair was like mine, she had on the same clothes. That’s why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then.

I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.

But I’m not money hungry, and that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid.

I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. Not necessarily their families. I mean, I’m old. I’m very, very comfortable. But the victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless.

It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.

The episode with me was the only part I saw. I didn’t watch the whole show. I don’t need to watch it. I lived it. I know exactly what happened.

Now I can talk about it without as much anger

That anger stuck with me for a long time. I didn’t have the wisdom back then that I have now. But I had to make this stuff make sense and deal with it. I had younger children to provide for and protect. I still had to go to work every day.

As time goes by, I can handle just about anything. I still have a life. I still have my health. I have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. It’s something that over the years I had to come to terms with.

Now I can talk about anything. I don’t want to walk away from answers, questions, my opinions, how I feel, any of that stuff, especially if I can help. If what I say can help somebody else, even myself, then yes.

The show bringing up old feelings did hurt, but it also benefits me. I benefit from it because I can deal with it differently today than I did in the past. I can talk about it with not as much anger.

I’m still learning how to forgive, even if I don’t understand, and keep on with my life. I can’t change other people or things that have happened. I can only change myself.

My brother was a dad and grandfather

Errol’s always going to be alive in my spirit. And then his daughter. I have to keep him alive so I can talk about him to her.

The positive thing to come out of this is that the world didn’t know that my brother had any children. That has never been discussed to the public, but he had gotten someone pregnant before his death. Today, she’s exactly 31 years old, and this happened 31 years ago.

It’s not about me anymore, it’s about her. So when they mention my name, I’m going to always refer to her, Tatiana Banks: Errol Lindsey’s daughter. And now, he even has a granddaughter, too.

When I think of my brother, I think of how he was such a goofball, and I think he’s going to appreciate the fact that I’m still standing for him until my last breath. He knows that I’m still here for him.

Netflix did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider

Leave a Comment