John Wayne Gacy

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John Wayne Gacy
John Gacy with First Lady Rosalynn Carter in May 1978, before his arrest for murder
Background information
Birth name John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Also known as Pogo the Clown, The Killer Clown
Occupation Salesman
Restaurant manager
Born (1942-03-17)March 17, 1942
Chicago, Illinois
Died May 10, 1994(1994-05-10) (aged 52)
Crest Hill, Illinois
Sentence Death (by lethal injection)
Spouse(s) Marlynn Myers
(m. 1964–1968, divorced)
Carole Hoff
(m. 1972–1976, divorced)
Number of victims 33
Country United States
State(s) Illinois
Date apprehended December 21, 1978

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (March 17, 1942– May 10, 1994), also known as The Killer Clown, was an American serial killer. He is confirmed to have killed 33 young men and teenage boys. He killed them in a brutal way and buried their bodies in or near his Chicago home. Gacy did not use a gun for any of his crimes.

Gacy became known as "Pogo the Clown" and the "Killer Clown" because he would dress as a clown for fundraising events and parades. In March 1980, Gacy was convicted of 33 murders, as well as sex crimes, committed between 1972 and 1978, and given the death penalty. He was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. Gacy's execution was filmed. There were problems with the execution, but it eventually ended in Gacy's death.

Early life[change | change source]

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was born on March 17, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to father John Stanley Gacy and mother Marion Elaine Gacy.[1] Gacy's father was a World War I veteran and a machinist, while his mother worked at home.[2]:25[3]:195 He had two sisters, one younger and one older.

Gacy's father was an alcoholic. Growing up, John Gacy, Sr. would verbally and physically abuse his children.[4]:22 Gacy also had health problems in his youth. For example, in 1953, while playing on a swing set, Gacy hit his head off a swing and suffered a blood clot. The clot was not treated until he was 16.[5]chapter one

After dropping out of high school in his senior year, Gacy moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to work in a mortuary. Three months later, Gacy returned to Chicago, where he enrolled in and graduated from Northwestern Business College.[2]:51 After graduating, Gacy worked as a shoe salesman for the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. In 1964, Gacy was transferred to Springfield, Illinois, where he met Marlynn Myers. The couple married in September 1964.[3]:195

In Springfield, Gacy was involved in community organizations such as the United States Junior Chamber. He became the vice-president of the Springfield chapter by 1965.[1]

Move to Iowa[change | change source]

After Gacy's father made him an offer to manage three KFC restaurants, Gacy and his wife moved to Waterloo, Iowa, where they had a son and daughter.[6]

In 1968, Gacy was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

Unidentified victims[change | change source]

As of July 2017 Six victims remain unidentified, five of whom had been buried beneath Gacy's crawl space, with one additional youth buried approximately 15 feet (4.6 m) from the barbecue pit in his backyard.[7] Experts used the skulls of the unidentified victims to create facial reconstructions.[8] Based upon Gacy's confession, information relative to where the victims were buried in his crawl space relative to Gacy's identified victims, and forensic analysis, police were able to determine the most likely dates when his unidentified victims were killed.

In October 2011, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart announced that investigators, having obtained full DNA profiles from each of the unidentified victims, were to renew their efforts to identify all of them. At a press conference held to announce this intention, Sheriff Dart stated investigators are actively seeking DNA samples from individuals across the United States related to any male missing between 1970 and 1979.[20] Test results thus far conducted have confirmed the identification of two victims, ruled out the possibility of numerous other missing youths as being victims of Gacy,[21][22] and solved four unrelated cold cases dating between 1972 and 1979.[23][24][25]>[n 1]

Popular culture[change | change source]

Movies[change | change source]

Books[change | change source]

  • Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy, written by Tim Cahill (ISBN 1-85702-084-7).
  • Johnny and Me: The True Story of John Wayne Gacy, written by Barry Boschelli (ISBN 1-4343-2184-3).
  • Killer Clown: the John Wayne Gacy Murders, written by Terry Sullivan and Peter T. Maiken (ISBN 0-7860-1422-9).
  • The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer, written by Jason Moss and Jeffrey Kottler, Ph.D (ISBN 0-7535-0398-0).
  • The Man Who Killed Boys, written by Clifford L. Linedecker (ISBN 0-312-95228-7).
  • John Wayne Gacy: Defending A Monster, written by Sam L. Amirante and Danny Broderick (ISBN 1-616-08248-8).

Television[change | change source]

Music[change | change source]

  • Stephen Gregory Bier Jr., Marilyn Manson's keyboard player from 1989 to 2007, was known as Madonna Wayne Gacy, a stage name made from the names of Madonna and Wayne Gacy.
  • Sufjan Stevens tells John Wayne Gacy Jr.'s story in his song "John Wayne Gacy Jr."

Notes and references[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. The four unrelated cold cases solved to date are those of 21-year-old Daniel Noe, who was last seen alive on September 30, 1978, and whose remains had been found near Mount Olympus in 2010; 16-year-old Steven Soden, who was last seen alive April 3, 1972, in New Jersey and whose body was found in April 2000 in Burlington County;[26][27] 22-year-old Chicagoan Edward Beaudion, who was last seen alive on July 23, 1978; and 16-year-old Andre Drath, whose body had been found buried upon Ocean Beach in June 1979.[28]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kneeland, Douglas E. (January 10, 1979). "Suspect in Mass Deaths Is Puzzle to All". The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2011.  (subscription needed)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cahill, Tim (1986). Buried dreams: inside the mind of a serial killer. Bantam Books. ISBN 0553051156. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jackson, Kenneth T. (2000). The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives: 1994–1996. Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0684806444.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  4. Hillard, Terry G.; Jurkanin, Thomas Joseph (2006). Chicago police: an inside view—the story of superintendent Terry G. Hillard. Charles C Thomas Publisher. ISBN 0398076111. 
  5. Bell, Rachael; Bardsley, Marilyn. "John Wayne Gacy Jr". truTV. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  6. Connelly, Joel. "Bachmann mixes up John Wayne, John Wayne Gacy". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  7. "Montreal Gazette March 10, 1979 edition". Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  8. "The Forensics Library: John Wayne Gacy". 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Case File 954UMIL". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  10. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 11006". 
  11. "Case File 956UMIL". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  12. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 11004". 
  13. "Case File 955UMIL". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  14. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 10999". 
  15. "Case File 962UMIL". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  16. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 11000". 
  17. "Case File 958UMIL". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  18. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 10994". 
  19. "NamUs - National Unidentified Persons Data System Case Report - 10998". 
  20. Unidentified Victims of John Wayne Gacy, Cook County Sherriff's website
  21. Babwin, Don (October 17, 2011). "Sheriff: Solid leads in effort to ID Gacy victims". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  22. "More DNA Being Analyzed To Determine IDs Of Gacy Victims « CBS Chicago". 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  23. "John Wayne Gacy Investigation Helps Solve Missing Daniel Noe Case". 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  24. "Cook County Sheriff Press - Sherifs's Gacy Investigation Solves 1979 Cold Case". 
  25. "Remains Found in Utah Identified Through John Wayne Gacy Investigation". 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  26. "Cook County Sheriff Press - Gacy Lead Solves 41-Year-Old New Jersey Missing Person Case". 
  27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Tribune.
  28. "Gacy exhumations help identify another unrelated victim". 
  29. "To Catch a Killer (1992)". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  30. "Gacy (2003)". Allrovi. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  31. "Dear Mr. Gacy (2010)". Allrovi. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  32. "8213: Gacy House (2010)". Allrovi. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  33. Iverson, Dan (October 26, 2006). "South Park: "Hell on Earth 2006" review". IGN. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 

Other websites[change | change source]