John Wayne Gacy Jr: The Killer Clown

John Wayne Gacy 1
John Wayne Gacy 1

John Wayne Gacy from March 17, 1942 to May 10, 1994 was an American serial killer and rapist who sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and younger guys between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois (a section of metropolitan Chicago).

All of Gacy’s known murders had been committed inner his Norwood Park ranch house. His victims were typically triggered to his address by means of pressure or deception, and all besides one of his victims were murdered via both asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift garrote, as his first sufferer was once stabbed to death. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl area of his home. Three different victims have been buried somewhere else on his property, whilst the bodies of his remaining four acknowledged victims have been discarded in the Des Plaines River.

Convicted of 33 murders, Gacy was once sentenced to demise on March 13, 1980 for 12 of those murders. He spent 14 years on death row earlier than he was once carried out through lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994.

Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” because of his charitable services at fund-raising events, parades, and children’s parties the place he would gown as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown”, characters he had devised.

John Wayne Gacy used to be born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 17, 1942, the 2d child and only son of three children born to John Stanley Gacy (June 20, 1900 – December 25, 1969), an auto restore machinist and World War I veteran, and his spouse Marion Elaine Robinson (May 4, 1908 – December 6, 1989), a homemaker. Gacy used to be of Polish and Danish ancestry. His paternal grandparents (who spelled the family title as “Gatza” or “Gaca”) had immigrated to the United States from Poland (then phase of Germany). As a child, Gacy was obese and now not athletic. He was once close to his two sisters and mother but endured a difficult relationship with his father, an alcoholic who was physically abusive to his spouse and children.

John Wayne Gacy

Gacy strove maked his stern father proud of him, but seldom received his approval. This friction was constant at some point of his childhood and adolescence. One of Gacy’s earliest childhood recollections was of his father beating him with a leather belt at the age of 4 for by accident disarranging vehicle engine factors that his father had assembled. On any other occasion, his father struck him across the head with a broomstick, rendering him unconscious. His father regularly belittled him and often compared him unfavorably with his sisters, disdainfully accusing him of being “dumb and stupid”. Gacy, whilst regularly commenting that he was “never good enough” in his father’s eyes, usually vehemently denied ever hating his father in interviews after his arrest

First offenses

In August 1967, Gacy dedicated his first known sexual assault upon a teenage boy. The sufferer was once a 15-year-old named Donald Voorhees, the son of a fellow Jaycee. Gacy lured Voorhees to his house with the promise of displaying him pornographic films. Over the following months, numerous other youths were sexually abused in a similar manner, including one whom Gacy encouraged to have sex with his very own wife earlier than blackmailing the youth into performing oral intercourse upon him. Gacy tricked several teenagers into believing he was once commissioned with conducting gay experiments in the pursuits of “scientific research”, for which every was paid up to $50.

In March 1968, Voorhees reported to his father that Gacy had sexually assaulted him. Voorhees Sr. at once knowledgeable the police and Gacy was arrested and as a result charged with oral sodomy in relation to Voorhees and the attempted assault of a 16-year-old named Edward Lynch. Gacy vehemently denied the charges and demanded to take a polygraph test. This request was granted, although the results indicated Gacy was once nervous when he denied any wrongdoing in relation to either Voorhees or Lynch.

John Wayne Gacy

Conviction and imprisonment

Upon recommendation from his attorney, Gacy entered a plea of guilty to one rely of sodomy in relation to the charges filed against him through Donald Voorhees. He pleaded no longer responsible to the other charges lodged against him through different youths at a formal arraignment held on November 7, 1968. Before the judge, Gacy contended that he and Voorhees had indeed engaged in sexual relations, but he insisted Voorhees had offered his sexual offerings to him and that he had acted out of curiosity. His story was now not believed. Despite his lawyers’ recommendations for probation, John Wayne Gacy was convicted of sodomy on December 3, 1968, and sentenced to 10 years at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. On the day Gacy was convicted and sentenced, his wife petitioned for divorce, requesting possession of the couple’s home, property, sole custody of their two children and subsequent alimonypayments. The Court ruled in her favor and got divorce on September 18, 1969. Gacy by no means noticed his first wife or kids again


John Wayne Gacy was once granted parole with 12 months’ probation on June 18, 1970, after serving 18 months of his 10-year sentence. Two of the conditions of his probation were that Gacy would relocate to Chicago to stay with his mom and that he was to take a look at a 10 p.m. curfew, with the Iowa Board of Parole receiving regular updates as to his progress.

Businessman and community volunteer

Following Gacy’s marriage to Carole Hoff, his new spouse and stepdaughters moved into the Summerdale Avenue house. Gacy had quit his job as a cook dinner and started his personal construction business, PDM Contractors (PDM being the initials for ‘Painting, Decorating, and Maintenance’). The business at first undertook minor repair work, such as sign-writing, pouring concrete, and redecorating, however later expanded to include tasks such as interior design, remodeling, installation, assembly, and landscaping. By 1978, the gross of PDM’s annual turnover used to be over $200,000.

First murders of John Wayne Gacy

Murder of Timothy McCoy

On January 2, 1972, Gacy picked up 16-year-old Timothy Jack McCoy from Chicago’s Greyhound bus terminal. Gacy took McCoy—who was touring from Michigan to Omaha—on a sightseeing tour of Chicago, and then drove him to his home with the promise that he ought to spend the night time and be driven back to the station in time to capture his bus. According to Gacy’s later account of the murder, he awoke the following morning to find McCoy standing in his bedroom doorway with a kitchen knife. Gacy leaped from his mattress and McCoy raised both palms in a gesture of surrender, tilting the knife upwards and by chance cutting Gacy’s forearm (Gacy had a scar on his arm to support this account).

He then twisted the knife from McCoy’s wrist, banged his head against his bed room wall, kicked him against his wardrobe and walked closer to him. McCoy then kicked him in the stomach and Gacy grabbed the youth, wrestled him to the floor, then stabbed him many times in the chest as he straddled him with his body. Gacy claimed he then went to his kitchen and noticed an opened carton of eggs and a slab of unsliced bacon on his kitchen table. McCoy had additionally set the desk for two; he had walked into Gacy’s room to wake him while absentmindedly carrying the kitchen knife in his hand. Gacy subsequently buried McCoy in his crawl area and later covered the youth’s grave with a layer of concrete.

Second recognized victim

Gacy later stated that the second time he committed homicide was round January 1974. The victim is believed to have been an unidentified teenage youth with medium brown hair estimated to be aged between 14 and 18 whom Gacy strangled two 2  earlier than stowing the youth’s body in his closet prior to burial. John Wayne Gacy later stated that fluid leaked out of this youth’s mouth and nose as he was stored in his closet, staining his carpet. As a end result of this experience, Gacy later noted he regularly stuffed cloth rags or the victims’ very own underclothes in their mouths to prevent a recurrence of this incident. This particular unidentified victim was buried about 15 feet (4.6 m) from the barbecue pit in Gacy’s backyard.

“The handcuff trick” and “the rope trick”

By 1975, Gacy’s business was expanding rapidly; via his own later admission, he began working 12- and 16-hour days to fulfill agreed commitments upon an growing number of contracts. Gacy freely admitted that 1975 was also the year in which he began to increase the frequency of his excursions for sex with young males. He would frequently refer to these jaunts as his “cruising”


Following a heated argument regarding her failing to stability a PDM Contractor’s checkbook successfully in October 1975 Carole Gacy requested her husband for a divorce. Gacy agreed to his wife’s request although, through mutual consent, Carole persisted to live at 8213 West Summerdale until February 1976, when she and her daughters moved into their own apartment. One month later, on March 2, the Gacys’ divorce—decreed upon the false grounds of Gacy’s infidelity with women—was finalized

John Wayne Gacy on Death row

Upon being sentenced, Gacy was once transferred to the Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois, where he remained incarcerated on death row for 14 years.

Isolated in his jail cell, Gacy started to paint. The subjects John Wayne Gacy painted varied, although many have been of clowns, some of which depicted himself as “Pogo”. Many of his paintings have been displayed at exhibitions others have been bought at a number of auctions, with individual costs ranging between $200 and $20,000. Although Gacy was permitted to earn money from the sale of his paintings till 1985, he claimed his artwork was intended “to convey joy into people’s lives”.


After his incarceration, Gacy study severa regulation books and filed voluminous motions and appeals, even though he did not prevail in any. Gacy’s appeals related to problems such as the validity of the first search warrant granted to Des Plaines police on December 13, 1978, and his objection to his lawyers’ madness plea protection at his trial. Gacy also contended that, even though he held “some knowledge” of 5 of the murders (those of McCoy, Butkovitch, Godzik, Szyc and Piest), the other 28 murders had been committed via employees who have been in possession of keys to his residence while he was away on enterprise trips.

John Wayne Gacy


Identified victims

Only 27 of Gacy’s victims had been ever conclusively identified. By the time of Gacy’s trial, 22 victims had been identified. In March 1980, two further our bodies unearthed from Gacy’s crawl space have been recognized through dental and radiology records as these of Kenneth Parker and Michael Marino; both reported lacking on October 25, 1976, the day after they had disappeared.

In May 1986 the ninth victim exhumed from Gacy’s crawl space was once identified as Timothy Jack McCoy, Gacy’s first victim. One further victim was once identified in November 2011 through DNA testing as William George Bundy, a 19-year-old development employee who was remaining seen through his family on his way to a party on October 26, 1976. Bundy had apparently labored for Gacy before his murder. After John Wayne Gacy arrest, his family then contacted Bundy’s dentist in the hope of submitting his dental records for evaluation with the unidentified bodies. Although, the records were destroyed after the dentist had retired. A 2d sufferer was once identified via DNA testing in July 2017 as a 16-year-old from Saint Paul, Minnesota named James Haakenson, who was remaining recognized to have contacted his family on August 5, 1976.


John Wayne Gacy movies

  • The made-for-TV movie To Catch a Killer, starring Brian Dennehy as Gacy, was released in 1992. The movie is largely based on the investigation of Gacy, following the disappearance of Robert Piest, via Des Plaines Police and their efforts to arrest him earlier than the scheduled civil go well with hearing on December 22.
  • A characteristic film, Gacy, was released in 2003. This movie cast Mark Holton in the role of Gacy and depicts Gacy’s existence after he moved to Norwood Park in 1971 up till his arrest in 1978.
  • The made-for-TV film Dear Mr. Gacy was then released in 2010, starring William Forsythe as Gacy. The movie is based upon the book The Last Victim, written through Jason Moss. The film focuses upon the correspondence between Moss and Gacy before Gacy invited Moss to go to him on death row in 1994.
  • The horror film 8213: Gacy House was launched in 2010 and is based upon paranormal investigators spending a night time in the house constructed on the former web page of 8213 Summerdale Terrace.

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