Who plays Rita Isbell in Evan Peters' Netflix series on Jeffrey Dahmer? Twitter users appreciate "authenticity" as trial scene goes viral

DaShawn "Dash" Barnes
DaShawn "Dash" Barnes (Image via Instagram - @dashawnbarnes)

Actor DaShawn "Dash" Barnes portrayed the role of Rita Isbell in Netflix's Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Isbell is the older sister of Errol Lindsey, who was murdered by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in April 1991.

Now, three decades later, as Netflix is streaming Dahmer's story, social media is appreciating Barnes for her authentic depiction of the real Rita's pain during Dahmer's insanity trial.

The 10-episode limited series premiered on Netlfix on Wednesday, September 21, 2022. It documented Dahmer's crimes, including the murders of 17 men and young boys over a period of 13 years, between 1978 and 1991, until his arrest and conviction.

Errol Lindsey was 19 years old when he met Dahmer. Dahmer lured him into his apartment, where he drugged him, and drilled a hole into his skull. Lindsey might have been Dahmer's first victim who the killer tried turning into a "living zombie." Dahmer later strangled Lindsey to death.

It was during the reading of the impact statements by the victims' families that Rita Isbell came under the spotlight. Barnes' accurate translation of Isbell's pain and emotions is being appreciated by fans and netizens.


Who is DaShawn Barnes, who played Rita Isbell in Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story?

DaShawn Barnes is an actor known for her roles in shows like This Is Us and Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

Barnes has taken social media by storm after a clip of her as Isbell screaming at Dahmer during the insanity trial was compared to that of the original Rita Isbell. The courtroom clip is from episode 8 of the series, titled Lionel.

While the original footage of Isbell from the courthouse is muted, Barnes' reaction in an adjacent video could be likened to the original footage. Isbell cursed at Dahmer and charged at the table where he sat, screaming violently about what "out of control" looked like.

According to an AP News report from 1992, Isbell had said, "They all had to just sit there and hold it in. What he saw out of me... is what Errol would have done. The only difference is, Errol would have leaped over that table."

The jury declared Jeffrey Dahmer sane at the time of the trial and sentenced him to 15 consecutive life prison terms.

Netizens credited Barnes for her authentic portrayal of Isbell's pain.

However, others questioned if the real Rita Isbell was approached and taken consent from, to revisit the incident.

Barnes donned a similar costume that Rita Isbell had, in terms of the "100% Black" t-shirt with an overthrow and gold earrings. However, netizens were quick to spot that Barnes' hair parting was in the opposite direction to that of the real Rita Isbell.

Despite all the appreciation, netizens maintained that the show compelled the families of the victims to relive their trauma.

Barnes, who recently announced her engagement to her best friend, expressed her gratitude for the recognition.

She appeared in the series alongside Evan Peter, who played Dahmer, Richard Jenkins, Penelope Ann Miller, Molly Ringwald, Niecy Nash, Michael Learned, Shaun J. Brown, and Colin Ford.


All the episodes of Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story are currently streaming on Netflix.

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Edited by Madhur Dave