John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, tortured, and killed at least 33 young men and boys between March 17, 1942, and May 10, 1994. Gacy frequently performed as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown,” two personalities he created, at philanthropic events and children’s hospitals. Because of his public performances as a clown before his crimes were discovered, he earned the moniker “Killer Clown.”
All of Gacy’s killings were carried out inside his ranch house outside of Norridge, a community in Norwood Park Township, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He would usually entice a victim to his house and deceive him into donning shackles on the pretence of showing him a magic act. Then, after torturing and raping his victim, he would either asphyxiate him or strangle him with a garrote to death. Four corpses were dumped in the Des Plaines River, three more were buried on his land and 26 victims were buried in the crawl space of his house.
In 1968, Gacy was found guilty of the sodomy of a juvenile boy in Waterloo, Iowa. He received a ten-year prison term, but he only spent eighteen months of it. After divorcing his second wife in 1976, he murdered at least 30 additional victims after killing his first victim in 1972, twice more by the end of 1975. Gacy was detained on December 21, 1978, due to the inquiry into the disappearance of Robert Piest, a teenager from Des Plaines.
The number of homicides encompassed by his conviction—33, all committed by one person—was the highest in American legal history. On March 13, 1980, Gacy received a death penalty verdict. He spent a lot of time painting while incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center on death row. A lethal injection was used to put him to death.
Early Life of John Wayne Gacy
The only son and second child of John Stanley Gacy (1900-1969) and Marion Elaine Robison (1908-1989), John Wayne Gacy was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 17, 1942. His mother was a stay-at-home mom, and his father was an auto repair mechanic who served in World War I. Gacy was a Catholic who had Polish and Danish origins. From Poland, his paternal grandfather emigrated to the United States using the spellings “Gatza” or “Gaca.”
Gacy had a close relationship with his mother and two sisters, but he struggled with his alcoholic father, who physically abused his family. His father frequently disparaged him, calling him “dumb and stupid,” and made unfavourable comparisons between him and his sisters. Gacy’s father struck him with a leather belt for
inadvertently rearranging parts of an engine he had put together is one of his first memories. When his mother sought to protect him from his abusive father, she was met with claims that he was a “mama’s boy” and a “sissy” who would “probably grow up queer.” Gacy still loved his father despite this treatment, but he believed he was “never good enough” in his father’s eyes.
In 1949, Gacy’s father learned that his son and another boy had been discovered touching a young girl inappropriately. As a form of discipline, his father spanked him with a razor strop. The same year, Gacy would occasionally be molested in his truck by a family friend and contractor. Gacy was terrified that his father would accuse him, therefore he never informed him about it.
Gacy was an underweight, sedentary youngster. He was advised not to participate in any school sports due to a cardiac problem. When Gacy was in the fourth grade, she started having blackouts. He was occasionally admitted to the hospital due to these episodes, as well as in 1957 due to a burst appendix. Gacy later calculated that he had spent nearly a year in the hospital between the ages of 14 and 18 and attributed this to the drop in his grades and absences from school.
As Gacy lay in a hospital bed, his father publicly accused his son of fabricating the incidents in an effort to attract sympathy and attention. Gacy’s disease was never definitively identified, despite the fact that his mother, sisters, and a select few close friends never questioned his illness.
One of Gacy’s high school acquaintances remembers numerous occasions when his father thrashed or made fun of his son without cause. He once saw Gacy’s father, who had been drinking, come out of the cellar and start insulting, then strike, his son. This happened in 1957. [b] As her son “put up his hands to defend himself,” Gacy’s mother made an effort to step in. The acquaintance claims that throughout these arguments, Gacy never hit his father in return.
How did John Wayne Gacy kill his victims?
Gacy would entice his victims back to his house, serve them alcohol or narcotics, and perform a “magic trick” on them while he had them bound. He would usually encourage his victims to do the same before trying his own hand behind his back and freeing himself with a key he was concealed. Sadly, after shackling his victims, he would rape, torture, and eventually kill them, frequently by wrapping a rope tourniquet around their necks. In order to hasten decomposition, he poured quicklime into the crawl area under his house, where 26 victims were interred. Four were dumped in the Des Plaines River, and three more were buried somewhere on the property.
How was John Wayne Gacy found?
The search for Robert Priest, a teenage boy who vanished in Des Plaines, was what ultimately resulted in John Gacy’s arrest in December 1978 at his residence at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue. Young youths in the 1970s were frequently labelled as runaways. The most serious concern was, however, generated by Piest’s absence from the Nisson Pharmacy, where he worked, and the fact that his mother’s birthday fell on that same day. He also reportedly went to inquire about a job, according to witnesses. An investigation was started because the police were convinced Piest would not have fled his house that day. Gacy was identified as the contractor most likely to have discussed employment with a young man.
How did John Wayne Gacy die?
On March 13, 1980, John Wayne Gacy received a death penalty verdict. On May 10th, 1994, he was put to death at Stateville Correctional Center by lethal injection.
What were John Wayne Gacy’s last words?
John Wayne Gacy was executed on camera, and his last words were, “Kiss my ass.”