John Wayne Gacy (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer and rapist, known as the Killer Clown. He was accused of torturing, raping, and killing at least 33 teenagers between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois, in the Chicago metropolitan area, and was sentenced to 21 life sentences and 12 death sentences.
All of Gacy’s known murders were committed in his home in the Norwood Park neighborhood. His victims were brought to his home by force or deceptive subterfuge; all but his first victim – who was stabbed to death – were killed by asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift garrote. Gacy buried 26 of his victims under the floorboards of his house. Another three victims were buried in other parts of his home while the corpses of the last four were dumped in the Des Plaines River.
Convicted of 33 murders, Gacy was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980 for 12 of those crimes. He spent 14 years on death row before being executed via lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994.
Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” because of his charity work, fund-raising events, and children’s parties in which he dressed up as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown,” characters he created.
John Wayne Gacy, was born in Chicago on March 17, 1942, the second son and only boy of three brothers to John Stanley (June 20, 1900 – December 25, 1969), a passenger car mechanic and World War I veteran, and his wife Marion Elaine Robinson (May 4, 1908 – December 6, 1989), a homemaker. Gacy was of Polish and Danish ancestry. His paternal grandparents (who spelled their surname “Gatza” or “Gaca”) immigrated to the USA from Poland (from a region then part of Germany). As a child, Gacy was fat and not very athletic. He was very close to his sisters and mother, but had a difficult relationship with his father, an alcoholic who physically assaulted his wife and children.
Throughout his childhood, Gacy strove to make his strict father proud of him, but rarely met with his approval. This friction was a constant throughout his childhood and adolescence. One of Gacy’s earliest childhood memories was of his father beating him with a leather belt when he was four years old for accidentally messing up parts of an engine his father had assembled. On another occasion his father hit him over the head with a broomstick, knocking him unconscious. His father regularly belittled him and often compared him unfavorably to his sisters, dismissively accusing him of being “stupid and idiotic.” Gacy, while regularly commenting that he was “never good enough” in his father’s eyes, always vehemently denied having hated him in interrogations after his arrest.
When he was six years old, Gacy stole a toy truck from a neighborhood store. His mother made him go back to the store, return the toy and apologize to the owners. His mother let his father know and he beat Gacy with his belt as punishment. After this incident, Gacy’s mother tried to protect him from his father’s physical and verbal abuse, even though she only succeeded in getting Gacy accused of being a faggot and a “mama’s boy” who would “probably become a faggot.”
In 1949, Gacy’s father learned that his son and another boy were caught touching a younger girl sexually. His father whipped him with a knife sharpener as punishment. The same year, Gacy was sexually molested by a friend of his family, a contractor who would take Gacy for rides in his truck and then touch him inappropriately. Gacy never said anything about these incidents to his father and was afraid that he would hold him responsible for them.
Because of a heart condition, Gacy was forced to avoid playing sports during his school years. An average student with few friends, he was an occasional object of bullying by neighborhood children and his schoolmates. He was known to help the school inspector and volunteer to run errands for teachers and neighbors. During the fourth grade, Gacy began to have fainting spells. He was occasionally hospitalized for them, and in 1957 he was hospitalized for appendicitis. Gacy later estimated that between his 14 and 18 years he must have spent about a year in the hospital because of such problems; he also attributed the drop in his school grades to skipping school. His father suspected that his health problems were an attempt to gain sympathy and attention and openly accused him of faking it while he was prostrate in the hospital bed. Although his mother, sisters, and his few friends never doubted his illness, Gacy’s medical problem was never conclusively diagnosed.
One of Gacy’s high school friends recalled the many times his father would ridicule him or beat his son without any provocation. On one occasion in 1957, the same friend witnessed an incident at his house in which his father, for no reason, began yelling at him and then beating him. His mother tried to intervene. Gacy’s friend recalled that he simply “raised his hands to defend himself,” adding that he never hit his father back during these assaults.
In 1960, at the age of 18, Gacy became involved in politics by working as an assistant election monitor for a Democratic Party candidate in his neighborhood. This decision earned him further criticism from his father, who called him “naïve. Gacy later speculated that this decision may have been an attempt to gain an acceptance that he never gained from his father.
The same year that Gacy became a candidate for the Democratic Party, his father bought him a car, although the registration of the car remained with his father until Gacy completed the monthly payments. Such payments took several years to complete, and his father would confiscate the keys to the car if he did not obey him. On one occasion in 1962, Gacy made copies of the keys after his father confiscated the originals. In response, his father removed the distributor cap from the car, retaining it with him for three days. Gacy recalled that, as a result of this incident, he felt “completely ill; exhausted.” When his father replaced the distributor cap, Gacy left his parents’ home and drove to Las Vegas in Nevada where he got a job in the ambulance service before being transferred to work as an attendant at the Palm Cemetery. He worked in this capacity for three months before returning to Chicago.
As a morgue attendant, Gacy slept on a bed behind the embalming room. In this role, he would observe morticians embalming corpses, and later confessed that one night when alone, he entered the coffin of a deceased teenage male, fondling and hugging the corpse before feeling a sense of shock. Gacy would later claim to have engaged in acts of necrophilia on approximately two occasions while working at the Palm Necrotery. He would justify himself by saying that the corpses he desecrated were “just dead things” that “wouldn’t say anything to anyone.”
The sense of shock caused Gacy to call his mother the next day and ask if his father would allow him to return to his home. His father agreed and that same day Gacy returned to live with his family in Chicago. After his return, despite the fact that he did not complete high school, Gacy was successfully admitted to Northwestern Business College where he graduated in 1963. Gacy later landed a position as a management trainee at the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company.
In 1964, the firm transferred him to Springifield to work as a salesman. He was promoted to manager of his department. In March of the same year, he became engaged to Marlynn Myers, a co-worker in the department he managed. After a courtship of nine months, they were married in September 1964. Soon after, his father-in-law purchased three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Waterloo, Iowa, and Gacy and his wife moved to Waterloo so that he could manage the restaurants, with the agreement that they would move into Marlynn’s parents’ home (which was vacated for the couple).
During his courtship with Marlynn, Gacy joined the branch of the Jaycees civic organization and became a tireless worker on behalf of the organization, eventually being elected the institution’s “key man” in 1964. In the same year, Gacy had his second homosexual relationship. According to Gacy, he consented to this incident after one of his colleagues at the Springfield Jaycee branch got him drunk and invited him to spend the night on his couch; the colleague then performed oral sex on him while he was drunk.
By 1965, Gacy rose to the position of vice president of the Springfield Jaycee headquarters. In the same year, he was named as the third most important Jaycee in the state of Illinois.
In 1966 Gacy accepted his father-in-law’s offer to run three KFC restaurants in Waterloo. The offer was lucrative: Gacy would receive $15,000 a year (equivalent in 2019 to $118,500 ) but a share of profits earned by the restaurants. After completing a business degree, Gacy moved to Waterloo at the end of the year.
Once in Waterloo, Gacy joined the local branch of the Jaycees, regularly working overtime at the institution in addition to the 12- to 14-hour days he logged working in the restaurants. Although considered ambitious and somewhat presumptuous by his colleagues at the Jaycees, he was highly regarded as a worker on various fundraising projects. In 1967, he was named “distinguished vice president” of the Jaycee branch in Waterloo. At meetings of the Jaycees, Gacy often provided free fried chicken for his colleagues and insisted that he be called by the nickname “Colonel.” That same year Gacy served on the board of directors of the Waterloo Jaycees.
Gacy’s wife had two children: a boy named Michael born in February 1966, followed by a girl named Christine in March 1967. Gacy later described this period of his life as “perfect,” adding that he finally won his father’s much-desired approval. And on one occasion, in July 1966, Gacy’s parents paid a visit to Iowa during which his father apologized for the physical and emotional abuse he had inflicted on his son during his childhood and proudly said, “Son, I was wrong about you.”
However, there was a darker side to Jaycee life in Waterloo that involved couple swapping, prostitution, pornography, and drugs. Gacy was deeply involved in many of these activities and often cheated on his wife with local prostitutes. It is also known that he opened a “club” in his basement in which he allowed his employees to drink and play pool. Although Gacy employed teenagers of both sexes in his restaurants, he socialized only with young boys. Many were intoxicated and Gacy would make sexual advances on them which, if rebuffed, he would take as a joke or a moral test.
In August 1967, Gacy committed his first sexual assault. The victim was a 15-year-old boy named Donald Voorhees, the son of a fellow Jaycee. Gacy lured Voorhees to his home under the pretext of showing pornographic films. Gacy got him drunk and convinced the young man to perform oral sex on him. In the following months, several other young men were sexually abused in a similar way, including one whom Gacy encouraged to have sex with his own wife before blackmailing him into performing oral sex on her. Gacy deceived several teenagers into believing that he was authorized to conduct homosexual experiments in the interest of “scientific research” for which each teenager was paid up to $50 (equivalent to $383 in 2019 ).
In March 1968 Voorhees told his father that Gacy had raped him. This prompted him to immediately inform the police, and Gacy was arrested and subsequently charged with oral sodomy in relation to Voorhees and the attempted rape of a 16-year-old teenager named Edward Lynch. Gacy vehemently denied having committed these crimes and demanded to take a polygraph test, which was performed. The results indicated that Gacy was nervous when he denied wrongdoing in relation to Voorhees and Lynch.
Gacy publicly denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the charges brought against him were politically motivated – Voorhees’ father had opposed Gacy’s appointment as president of the Iowa Jaycees. Several fellow Jaycees judged Gacy’s version credible and rallied in his support. However, on May 10, 1968, Gacy was indicted on the sodomy charge.
On August 30, 1968, Gacy convinced one of his employees, an 18-year-old boy named Russell Schroeder, to beat Voorhees in order to discourage him from testifying against him in the upcoming trial. Schroeder agreed to lure Voorhees to a secluded location, spray pepper spray in his face, and beat him. Gacy promised to pay Schroeder $300 (equivalent to $2,300 in 2019 ) if he carried out the plan. In early September, Schroeder lured Voorhees to a secluded park, sprayed pepper spray that Gacy provided in Voorhees’ eyes, and beat him while shouting that he should not testify against Gacy at trial.
Voorhees managed to escape and immediately reported the attack to the police, identifying Schroeder as his attacker, who was eventually arrested the next day. Although he initially denied any involvement, Schroeder soon confessed to assaulting Voorhees, indicating that he did so because Gacy asked him to. Gacy was arrested and charged with hiring Schroeder to beat and intimidate Voorhees. On September 12, Gacy was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Iowa State University Psychiatric Hospital. Two doctors examined Gacy over a seventeen-day period before concluding that he had dissocial personality disorder (which encompasses psychopathy and sociopathy) and that he was unlikely to benefit from any therapy or medical treatment; his behavior would likely repeatedly bring him into conflict with society. The doctors also concluded that he was mentally competent to stand trial.
Following the advice of his lawyer, Gacy pleaded guilty to the sodomy charge brought by Donald Voorhees. He pleaded not guilty to other charges brought by other young men in a formal arraignment on November 7, 1968. Before the judge, Gacy claimed that he and Voorhees did have sexual relations, but still insisted that Voorhees offered himself sexually and he acted out of curiosity. No one gave his version any credence. Although his lawyers recommended parole, Gacy was convicted of sodomy on December 3, 1968, and sentenced to ten years in Anamosa State Penitentiary. On the day Gacy was tried and convicted, his wife filed for divorce, requesting possession of the couple’s residence, property, and sole custody of their two children and the subsequent payment of child support. The court ruled in favor of his wife and the divorce was finalized on September 18, 1969. Gacy never saw his first wife and children from his first marriage again.
During his time at Anamosa State Penitentiary, Gacy soon earned a reputation as a model prisoner. Within a few months he was elevated to the position of head cook within the prison. He also joined the prison section of the Jaycees and increased membership among the inmates from 50 to 650 in a time span of less than 18 months. He is also known to have achieved an increase in the daily wages of the inmates who worked in the prison cafeteria, as well as having overseen several projects aimed at improving the conditions of the inmates within the prison. Gacy once oversaw the installation of a miniature golf course in the prison’s recreation yard.
In June 1969, Gacy first attempted to apply to the Iowa State Parole Board for early parole: this attempt was refused. In preparing for his second parole hearing scheduled for May 1970, Gacy completed 16 high school courses for which he earned his diploma in November 1969.
At Christmas 1969, Gacy’s father died of cirrhosis. Gacy was not informed of his father’s death until two days after his death. When he found out, Gacy reportedly collapsed to the floor, crying uncontrollably, and had to be helped by prison guards. Gacy requested supervised leave so that he could attend his father’s funeral in Chicago, but his request was denied.
Gacy was granted parole with twelve months supervision on June 18, 1970, after he had served eighteen months Two of the conditions of his release were that Gacy would have to move to Chicago to live with his mother; he, also, would have to obey a 10 p.m. curfew. The Iowa State Parole Board would receive updates on his progress.
After his release, Gacy told a Jaycee friend and colleague named Clarence Lane-who picked him up from prison after his release and who remained steadfast in his belief in Gacy’s innocence-that he would “never be arrested again” and that he intended to reestablish himself in Waterloo. Within 24 hours of his release, however, Gacy moved to Chicago to live with his mother. He arrived in Chicago on June 19 and soon after got a job as a cook in a restaurant.
On February 12, 1971, Gacy was charged with raping a teenage boy. The young man said that Gacy had lured him to his car at the Chicago Greyhound bus terminal and drove him to his home where he had tried to force the young man to have sex with him. That complaint was later dismissed after the boy failed to appear in court. The Iowa State Parole Board did not learn of this event (which violated the requirements of his parole) and eight months later, in October 1971, Gacy’s parole ended. The following month, the records of Gacy’s prior convictions in the state of Iowa were withheld.
With the financial support of his mother, Gacy bought a house in Norwood Park Township, an unincorporated area in Cook County. The address, 8213 West Summerdale Avenue, was where he lived until his arrest in December 1978, and, also, was the location where he committed all of his murders. In August 1971, shortly after Gacy and his mother moved into the house, he became engaged to Carole Hoff, a divorcee with two young daughters. Hoff, whom he had dated briefly during high school, had been friends with his younger sister. His fiancée moved into his home shortly after the couple announced their engagement. Gacy’s mother moved out of the house shortly before their wedding on July 1, 1972.
A week before his wedding, on June 22, Gacy was arrested and charged with felonious bodily injury and reckless conduct. The arrest was in response to a complaint filed by a young man named Jackie Dee, who informed police that Gacy, pretending to be a police officer, had flashed a badge and lured him into his car, forcing him to perform oral sex. Such charges were dropped after the young man tried to blackmail Gacy into paying to have the charges dropped.
After his marriage to Carole Hoff, his new wife and stepdaughters moved into their Summerdale Avenue home. Gacy quit his job as a cook and started his own construction business, PDM Contractors (PDM being the initials for Painting and Maintenance Initially the company performed minor repairs such as painting signs, concrete, redecorating, but later expanded into projects that included interior design, remodeling, installations, installation, and landscaping. By 1978, PDM’s gross sales were over $200,000 (equivalent to $785,558,000 in 2019 [about 3 million reais or 691.8 thousand euros]).
In 1973 Gacy and a teenage employee of PDM Contractors traveled to Florida to see a property that Gacy had purchased. On the first night in Florida, Gacy raped the boy in his hotel room. As a result, the young man refused to be in the same room as Gacy and preferred to sleep on the beach. Upon returning to Chicago, this employee drove to Gacy’s house and, when he was in the backyard, beat him. Gacy’s mother-in-law stopped the boy from continuing his assaults on Gacy and he left. Gacy explained to his wife that the assault took place because he refused to pay the boy for shoddy work.
His neighbors in Norwood Park regarded Gacy as a sociable and helpful person; he was active in his local community and organized annual summer parties beginning in 1974. He also became active in politics via the Democratic Party, initially offering free services from his PDM employees. Gacy was rewarded for his community service by being appointed to serve on the Norwood Park Township street lighting committee. He later earned the title of “district captain.” In 1975, Gacy was appointed director of Chicago’s Polish Constitution Day Parade – he oversaw this annual event from 1975 to 1978. Thanks to this work, Gacy met and was photographed with first lady Rosalynn Carter on May 6, 1978.
Through his membership in the local Moose Club, Gacy learned of a “Jolly Joker” clown club whose members regularly performed at fundraisers and parades, as well as voluntarily entertaining children in hospitals. At the end of 1975, Gacy joined the Jolly Jokers and created his own characters: “Pogo the Clown” and “Patches the Clown. Gacy made his own clown costumes and learned to apply make-up to himself, although some professional clowns noted that the sharp corners of his mouth were contrary to the rounded edges that professional clowns commonly use so as not to frighten children. Gacy is known to have performed as “Pogo” or “Patches” at various local parties, Democratic Party and charity events, as well as performing at children’s hospitals. He is also known to have gone, dressed as a clown, to his favorite bar, which was called “The Good Luck Lounge”, on several occasions with the justification that he had performed at a charity event and was just stopping by for a social drink before leaving for home.
In 1975 Gacy told his wife that he was bisexual. After they both had sex on Mother’s Day that year, he told her that it would be “the last time” they would have sex. He started staying away from home most nights with the excuse that he was working late. His wife noticed Gacy bringing teenagers into their garage, as well as finding gay pornography inside their home. They were consensually divorced in March 1976.
The murder of Timothy McCoy
On January 2, 1972, Gacy picked up the 16-year-old boy, Timothy Jack McCoy, from Chicago’s Greyhound bus terminal. Gacy brought McCoy-who was traveling from Michigan to Omaha-on an excursion to Chicago and then drove him to his home under the pretext that he could spend the night and then be brought back to the terminal in time to catch his buses. According to Gacy’s later account of the murder, he awoke the next morning to find McCoy standing on his bedroom threshold with a kitchen knife. Gacy jumped out of bed and MacCoy raised both arms in a sign of surrender, tilting the knife upward and accidentally wounding Gacy’s forearm (and he had a scar on his arm to justify his claim). He then twisted the knife from McCoy’s wrist, slammed his head against the bedroom wall, kicked him against the closet, and walked toward him. McCoy then kicked him in the abdomen and Gacy grabbed him, pushed him to the floor, and repeatedly stabbed him in the chest while standing over his body. Gacy then said that he went to the kitchen and saw an open egg carton and saw a piece of bacon not yet sliced on the kitchen table. McCoy had also set the table for two. He had walked into Gacy’s room to wake him up while distractedly carrying the kitchen knife in his hand. Gacy subsequently buried McCoy under the floorboards and then covered the young boy’s grave with a layer of concrete.
In an interrogation after his arrest, Gacy said that immediately after murdering McCoy, he felt “completely exhausted,” even though he noted feeling a numbing orgasm as he killed the young boy. He added, “that’s when I realized that killing was the ultimate excitement.”
Second Known Victim
Gacy later said that the second time he committed a murder was around January 1974. The victim is believed to have been an unidentified teenager with medium brown hair, estimated to be between the ages of 14 and 18 whom Gacy strangled before storing his corpse in his closet before burying it. Gacy said that afterwards fluids leaked from the young man’s mouth and nose while his corpse was stored in the closet, staining his carpet. As a result of this, Gacy later said that he would put cloths or the victims’ underwear in their mouths to prevent this from happening again. This unidentified victim was buried about 15 feet from Gacy’s backyard grill.
“The handcuff trick” and “the rope trick”
By 1975, Gacy’s business was expanding rapidly; as he himself later admitted, he began working 12 to 16 hour days to meet the commitments set in an increasing number of contracts. Gacy openly admitted that 1975 was the year he began to increase the frequency of his excursions for sex with young boys. He used to refer to these excursions as his ‘pickup’.
Much of PDM’s workforce consisted of high school students and young boys. One of these boys was a 15-year-old boy named Anthony Antonucci, whom Gacy hired in May 1975. In July 1975 Gacy arrived at the boy’s home when he was alone, having injured his foot at work the day before. Gacy alcoholized the boy, threw him to the ground, and handcuffed his hands to his back. The handcuff on Antonucci’s right wrist was loose: he managed to free his arm after Gacy left the room. When Gacy returned, Antonucci – then a member of the wrestling team at the high school – went after him. The young man threw Gacy to the ground, managed to get the key to the handcuffs, and handcuffed Gacy with his hands behind his back. Gacy vociferated threats, then calmed down and promised to leave Antonucci if he removed the handcuffs. The boy agreed and Gacy left the house. Antonucci later recalled what Gacy had said to him as he lay on the floor: “you’re not the one who got out of the handcuffs; you put them on me.
A week after the attempt to rape Antonucci, on July 31, 1975, another of Gacy’s employees, 18-year-old John Butkovich, disappeared. The day before, Butkovich had threatened Gacy over a two-week late payment. Later, Gacy admitted to luring Butkovich to his home while his wife and stepdaughters were ostensibly seeing his sister in the state of Arkansas to resolve the issue of Butkovich’s late payments. Gacy tricked the young boy into getting his wrists cuffed behind his back, until Gacy strangled him to death and buried him under the floor of his garage. Gacy later admitted to having “sat on the boy’s chest for some time” before killing him. The Dodge sedan was found abandoned in a parking lot with the young boy’s wallet and the keys still in the ignition. Butkovich’s father called Gacy, who said he was glad to be able to help in the search for the boy, but regretted that he had run away. Gacy was asked about Butkovich’s disappearance and admitted that he and two of his friends had come to his apartment demanding Butkovich’s back pay, but claimed that they left after they reached an agreement. Over the next three years, Butkovich’s parents triggered the police more than a hundred times, urging them to investigate Gacy in detail.
Tricking young men into wearing handcuffs became a typical modus operandi for subduing his victims. After doping a young man with booze, drugs, or generally after gaining his trust, Gacy would show a pair of handcuffs (occasionally as part of his clown act) which he would convince the victim to wear. With the victim handcuffed and unable to free himself, Gacy would make a statement to the effect of: “the trick is, you have to have the key,” before proceeding to rape and torture his captive. He would finish with the “rope trick,” placing a rope around his victim’s neck, tying a makeshift tourniquet until the victim was strangled to death.
After a heavy argument over her failure to properly manage the PDM Contractors checkbook in October 1975, Carole Gacy filed for divorce. Gacy agreed to the divorce, although, by much consent, Carole remained living at 8213 West Summerdale until February 1976, when she and her daughters moved into their own apartment. A month later, on March 2, the Gacys’ divorce – decreed on the basis of the false allegation of Gacy’s infidelity with other women – was finalized.
Although Gacy remained sociable and aware of his duties as a citizen, many of his neighbors became aware of the erratic changes in his behavior following his divorce in March 1976 and his subsequent arrest in December 1978. This mode of behavior included hearing his car come and go in the early morning hours; noticing lights turning on and off in his house at atypical times; and being persistently accompanied by young boys. A neighbor would recall that for many years she and her son would be awakened repeatedly by the sounds of muffled screaming, crying, and yelling in the early morning hours, which she and her son would identify as coming from the house adjacent to theirs on Summerdale Avenue.
Most of the murders that Gacy perpetrated were committed between 1976 and 1978, which he later referred to as his pickup years now that he had his house to himself. A month after the conclusion of his divorce, Gacy kidnapped and murdered an eighteen-year-old named Darrell Samson. The young man was last seen alive in Chicago on April 6, 1976. Five weeks later, on the afternoon of May 14, a fifteen-year-old teenager named Randall Reffett disappeared while walking home from Senn High School; the young man was gagged with a piece of cloth, which caused him to die from suffocation. Hours later, after Reffett was kidnapped, a 14-year-old boy named Samuel Stapleton disappeared while walking home from his sister’s apartment. Both youngsters were buried in the same grave under the floorboards of the Gacy home.
On June 3, 1976, Gacy murdered a 17-year-old boy from the Lakeview neighborhood named Michael Bonnin. He disappeared while traveling from Chicago to Waukegan City; he was strangled with a ligature and buried in the space under the floorboards. Ten days later, a 16-year-old from the Uptown neighborhood named William Carroll was murdered and buried directly under Gacy’s kitchen. Carroll may have been the first of four boys known to have been killed between June 13 and August 6, 1976, who were buried in a mass grave located below Gacy’s kitchen and laundry room. The three identified boys killed between June 13 and August 6 were between the ages of 16 and 17, while the only unidentified young man known to have been killed between those dates is a man between the ages of 23 and 30, with medium brown hair, and was between 5’10” and 5’10” tall. This man had both upper incisors missing at the time of his disappearance, which led investigators to believe that this victim was likely wearing a dental prosthesis. He was buried directly beneath the body of a 16-year-old from Minnesota named James Haakenson, the last thing known about him was a phone call to his family on August 5; his corpse was buried directly beneath the body of a 17-year-old from Besenville named Rick Johnston who, in turn, was last seen alive on August 6.
On July 26, 1976, Gacy employed 18-year-old David Cram. On August 21, Cram moved into his home. The next day, Gacy ensnared Cram in handcuffs while the young man was drunk. Gacy spun Cram around while holding the chain of the handcuffs and told him that he intended to rape him. Cram, who had spent a year in the army, kicked Gacy in the face, then managed to free himself from the handcuffs while Gacy lay fallen. A month later, Gacy appeared at Cram’s bedroom door with the intention of raping him and told him, “Dave, you really don’t know who I am. Maybe it would be nice if you gave me what I want.” Cram resisted the attacks, and Gacy left his room. After that incident, he moved out of Gacy’s house and then left PDM Contractor, although he periodically worked for Gacy for the next two years. Soon after Cram left Gacy’s home, another PDM employee, 18-year-old Michael Rossi, moved in with Gacy.
It is estimated that two more unidentified boys were murdered between August and October 1976. One of these victims was buried directly over the body of William Carroll, who had been shot on June 13, even higher in the grave than the body of Rick Johnston who was last seen on August 6. This unidentified body is of a boy between 15 and 24 years old with light brown hair. The following burial patterns of the victims within the space under the floor, coupled with the circumstantial fact that Cram had not lived with Gacy until August 21, leaves it as possible that between August 6 and August 20, 1976 are the dates this boy was killed. The second unidentified boy was probably executed between August and October 1976; this was a young man between 18 and 22 years old, with wavy dark brown hair, and who was suffering from an infected tooth at the time of his death. This boy was buried in the northeast corner of the space under the floorboards. Subsequent recollections by a PDM employee Contrators of a ditch that Gacy had ordered him to dig on October 5, 1976 or a day earlier as the place where this victim was buried, suggests a date between August and October 1976 as the date of his murder.
On October 24, 1976, Gacy kidnapped and murdered two teenage friends named Kenneth Parker and Michael Marino: both young men were last seen in a restaurant on Clark Street. The two were strangled and buried in the same grave in the space under the floorboards. Days later, a 19-year-old PDM Contractors employee named William Bundy disappeared after telling his family that he was going to a party. Bundy was also strangled and buried in the space under the floorboards, buried directly under Gacy’s master bedroom.
In December 1976, another PDM employee, 17-year-old Gregory Godzik, disappeared: he was last seen by his girlfriend outside her house after he brought her home from a date. Godzik had worked for PDM for only three weeks before he disappeared. During the period that he had worked for Gacy, he told his family that he had dug trenches for some kind of (drainage) tile in the space under the floorboards. Later, Godzik’s car was found abandoned in Niles. His parents and his older sister, Eugenia, contacted Gacy about Godzik’s disappearance. Gacy told the family that Greg had run away from home, having said before his disappearance that he wished to do so. Gacy also mentioned that he received a recorded message from Godzik on his answering machine shortly after he disappeared. When asked if he could reproduce the message to Godzik’s parents, he said he had erased them.
A month later, on January 20, 1977, John Szyc, a 19-year-old acquaintance of Butkovich, Godzik and Gacy disappeared. Szyc was lured to each of Gacy’s under the pretext of selling his Plymouth Satellite to Gacy. He was buried in the space under the floorboards directly over Godzik’s dead body. A ring worn by Szyc with his initials was kept on a dresser in Gacy’s master bedroom, who also kept a portable Motorola TV in his bedroom. He later sold the young man’s automobile to Michael Rossi.
Between December 1976 and March 1977, Gacy is known to have murdered an unknown young man whose age was estimated to be around 25. An inscription on a key chain found among the personal effects buried with this unknown victim suggests that his name was Greg or Gregory. His body was buried in the floor space under the body of John Prestidge, 20, who was a young man visiting his friends from Chicago and whom Gacy killed on March 15. After Prestidge’s murder, Gacy is believed to have murdered another unidentified young man exhumed from the space under the floorboards, although the date of his death is imprecise. The young man was buried parallel to the wall of the space under the floorboards, directly below the entrance to his home. The two victims were murdered on the same day in May 1976, were buried next to this young man, although the pattern of the subsequent burials of three victims killed in 1977 leaves an equal possibility that these particular victims were killed in the spring or summer of 1977. All that is known about this young man is that he was between 17 and 21 years old and that he had suffered a fractured left collarbone prior to his disappearance.
In March 1977, Gacy was hired as a construction supervisor by PE Systems, a firm that specialized nationally in pharmacy remodeling. As a result of this contract, Gacy regularly traveled to other states to oversee construction contracts, and he later stated that through both businesses (PDM Contractors and PE Systems, he would often work on up to four construction projects, with over 80 buildings being successfully remodeled in 1977 alone. In April of that year, Michael Rossi moved out of Gacy’s house; the same month, Gacy got engaged to a woman he had been dating for three months and his fiancée moved into his house. By mutual decision, the engagement was broken off at the end of June and his fiancée moved out of his home. The following month, Gacy killed a young man from Crystal Lake named Matthey Bowman. He was buried in the space under the floorboards with the tourniquet used to strangle him still tied around his neck.
In August 1977, a clue to John Szyc’s disappearance was discovered: Michael Rossi, who had purchased Szyc’s car, was arrested for stealing gasoline from a gas station while driving the car. The attendant wrote down the license plate number and the police traced it to Gacy’s house. When questioned, Gacy told officers that Szyc had sold the car to him in February with the explanation that he needed money to get out of town. The police did not investigate further, although they did tell Szyc’s mother that her son had sold his car to Gacy.
In late 1977, Gacy began dating Carole Hoff in hopes of a reconciliation. By the end of 1977, it is known that Gacy killed six more young boys between the ages of 16 and 21. The first of these victims, 18-year-old Robert Gilroy, was last seen alive on September 15. Gilroy – the son of a Chicago police sergeant – was asphyxiated and buried in the space under the floorboards. On September 12, Gacy had flown to Pittsburgh to oversee a renovation project and did not return to Chicago until September 16. Since it is known that Gacy was in another state when the boy was last seen, it is possible that Gacy’s subsequent claims that he did not act alone in some of the murders may have some credence. Ten days after Gilroy was last sighted, 19-year-old Marine John Mowery disappeared after leaving his mother’s house to walk to his apartment. Mowery was strangled to death and buried in the northwest corner of the space under the floorboards, perpendicular to William Bundy’s body.
On October 17, 1977, a 21-year-old Minnesota man named Russell Nelson disappeared: he was last seen outside a bar in Chicago. Nelson died of asphyxiation and was also buried in the space under the floorboards. Less than four weeks later, a 16-year-old Kalamazoo boy named Robert Winch was murdered and buried in the space under the floorboards, and on November 18, 1977, the father of a child named Tommy Boiling, 20, disappeared after leaving a Chicago bar. Both Winch and Boling were strangled to death and buried in the floor space under the aisle.
Three weeks after the murder of Tommy Boling, on December 9, 1977, a 19-year-old Marine named David Talsma went missing after telling his mother that he was going to a rock concert in Hammond. Talsma was strangled with a bandage and buried in the space under the floorboards.
On December 30, 1977, Gacy kidnapped 19-year-old student Robert Donnelly from a bus stop at gunpoint. Gacy took Donnelly to his home with him, raped him, tortured him with various items, and repeatedly dunked his head in a bathtub full of water until he passed out and then revived him. Donnelly later testified at trial that he was in so much pain that he asked Gacy to kill him to “get it over with,” to which Gacy replied, “I’m passing the time with this.” After several hours of assaulting and torturing the young man, Gacy took Donnelly to his work, removed the handcuffs from the boy’s wrists, and released him. Donnelly reported the assault and Gacy was questioned about it on January 6, 1978. Gacy admitted to having “sex-slave” with Donnelly, but insisted that it was all consensual. The police gave him credit and no charges were brought against him. The following month, Gacy murdered 19-year-old William Kindred, who disappeared on February 16, 1978 after telling his fiancée that he was going to spend the night at a bar. Kindred was the last victim to be buried in the space under the floorboards, and Gacy went on to spawn his victims in the Des Plaines River.
In March 1978, Gacy lured 26-year-old Jeffrey Rignall to his car. After getting into his car, the young man was knocked unconscious with chloroform and taken to the house in Summerdale where he was raped, tortured with various instruments including lighted candles and whips, and repeatedly knocked unconscious with chloroform. Rignall was taken to Lincoln Park in Chicago where he was thrown unconscious but alive. Eventually he managed to stagger to his girlfriend’s apartment. Rignall was later told that the chloroform caused permanent damage to his liver. The police were informed about the attack again but did not investigate it. Rignall was able to recall, through the dizziness caused by the chloroform, Kennedye Expressway side streets in particular. He stalled at the Expressway exit where he knew he had been taken until – in April – he saw Gacy’s black Oldsmobile, which Rignall followed to 8213 West Summerdale. The police issued a warrant for his arrest and Gacy was arrested on July 15. He was facing imminent trial on a bodily injury charge in the Rignall incident when he was arrested in December for the murders.
River Des Plaines: Final Murders
Gacy later confessed to police that he had initially considered storing corpses in his attic, but became concerned about the complications that would arise from “excessive leakage.” Therefore, he chose to spawn his victims on the I-55 interstate highway bridge at the Des Plaines River. Gacy claimed that he dumped five corpses from the bridge on the I-55 interstate highway into the Des Plaines River in 1978, one of which he believes fell on a passing barge, although only four of those bodies were ever found.
The first known victim to be thrown over the bridge on I-55 at the Des Plaines River, 20-year-old Timothy O’Rourke was killed in mid-June after leaving his apartment on Dover Street, having told his co-habitant that he was going to buy cigarettes; his body was found 10 miles downstream on June 30. On November 4, Gacy killed Frank Landingin, a 19-year-old. His corpse was found in the Des Plaines River on November 12. Less than three weeks later, on November 24, a 20-year-old Elmwood Park man named James Mazzara disappeared after sharing Thanksgiving dinner with his family; his body was found on December 28. The cause of death in Landingin’s case was certified as asphyxiation through the boy’s own underwear being placed on his throat, obstructing the passage of air while causing him to choke on his own vomit. Mazzara was strangled with a bandage.
On the afternoon of December 11, 1978, Gacy went to a drugstore in Des Plaines to discuss a potential retirement contract with the store owner, Phil Torf. While Gacy was within voice range of a fifteen-year-old part-time employee named Robert Jerome Piest, he mentioned that his firm was hiring teenage boys at a starting wage of five dollars an hour (equivalent to $19.64 in 2019 ), almost double the pay he was earning at the pharmacy.
After Gacy left the store, Piest told his mother that “a certain contractor wants to talk to me about a job.” Piest left the store promising to return quickly. When Piest failed to return, his family filed a missing person report about their son with the Des Plaines police. The pharmacy owner said that Gacy was the contractor that Piest probably went to talk to about a job when he left the store.
Gacy denied having spoken with Piest when Des Plaines police visited his home the next evening, indicating that he had seen two young men working in the pharmacy and that he asked one of them, whom he believed to be Piest, if there were any remodeling materials present in the back of the store. He was harsh, however, in saying that he did not offer Piest a job and promised to go to the police station later that night to confirm what he said in a statement, indicating that he would be unable to do so at that time because his had just died. At 3:20 in the early morning hours, Gacy covered in mud, arrived at the police station claiming that he had been involved in a car accident.
At the police station, Gacy denied any involvement in Robert Piest’s disappearance and reiterated that he had not offered the boy a job. When asked why he had returned to the pharmacy at 8 pm on December 11, Gacy claimed that he had done so because of a phone call from Phill Torf informing him that he had left his notebook at the store. The detectives had already spoken with Torf, who had stated that he had made no such call. At the investigators’ request, Gacy prepared a written statement detailing his movements on December 11.
Des Plaines police were convinced that Gacy was behind Piest’s disappearance and investigated Gacy’s records, discovering that he had a bodily injury charge against him pending in Chicago and that he was serving jail time in Iowa for sodomizing a fifteen-year-old boy. A search of Gacy’s home was ordered by a judge at the detectives’ request and found several suspicious items: a Maine West High School class of 1975 ring with the initials J. A. S., several driver’s licenses, a wooden slat with holes drilled in its ends, books about homosexuality and pederasty, a syringe, men’s clothes too small for Gacy, a 6mm Brevettata pistol, and a receipt from the pharmacy where Robert Piest worked. The police decided to confiscate Gacy’s Oldsmobile, as well as other PDM vehicles, and assigned two surveillance teams to follow Gacy while they continued their investigation into Piest’s disappearance.
The next day, investigators received a phone call from Michael Rossi, who informed officers about the disappearance of Gregory Godzik and the fact that another PDM employee, Charles Hattula, had been found in an Illinois river the previous year.
On December 15, Des Plaines investigators obtained more details about the personal injury charge, discovering that the complainant, Jeffrey Rignall, had reported that Gacy had lured him into his car, cloformed him, raped him, and dumped him, with severe burns to his chest and face and rectal bleeding in Lincoln Park the next morning. At a hearing with Gacy’s ex-wife the same day, they learned of John Butkovich’s disappearance. On the same day, the Maine West high school ring was linked to John Alan Szyc. In an inquiry with Szyc’s mother the same day, she told officers about her son’s disappearance in January 1977 and that several items from his apartment were also missing, including a Motorola TV set. She further said that investigators informed her the month after the disappearance that her son had sold Plymouth Satellite to a John Gacy. The officers noticed that one of Gacy’s employees, Michael Rossi, was driving a car similar to Szyc’s: a check of the vehicle’s registration records showed that the car used by Rossi had belonged to Szyc.
By December 16, Gacy was becoming affable with the officers watching him, regularly inviting them to meals at various restaurants and occasionally for drinks at bars or inside his home. He repeatedly denied any involvement in Piest’s disappearance and accused the officers of harassing him because of his political connections and also because of his recreational drug use. Aware that these officers would not arrest him for something trivial, he openly taunted them by flouting traffic laws and managed to lose them on more than one occasion.
On December 17, investigators conducted a formal interrogation with Michael Rossi, who said that Gacy sold him Szyc’s car on the grounds that he had bought the vehicle because Szyc needed money to move to California. A further investigation of Gacy’s Oldsmobile was made that day. While examining the trunk of the vehicle, the officers discovered a small group of fibers that could have been human hair, These fibers were sent for further analysis. That evening, the officers conducted a test with three German Shepherd dogs trained for searching to determine if Piest had been present in any of Gacy’s cars. The dogs were allowed to examine each of Gacy’s cars, and once a dog approached Gacy’s Oldsmobile and lay down on the passenger seat in that the dog’s caretaker informed investigators that it was a “reaction to death,” indicating that Robert Piest’s body had been present in that car.
That evening, Gacy invited two of the surveillance agents to a restaurant. In the early hours of December 18, he invited the same detectives to another restaurant where, over breakfast, he talked about his business, his marriages, and his activities as a professional clown. At one point in the conversation, Gacy remarked to one of the officers watching him: “you know… clowns can get away with murder.
By December 18, Gacy had begun to show visible signs of stress as a result of the constant surveillance: he was unshaven, looked tired, anxious, and was drinking heavily. That afternoon, he went to his lawyers’ office to prepare a $750,000 ($2.945 million in 2019) civil suit against the Des Plaines police demanding that they cease surveillance. On the same day, the Nisson Pharmacy receipt number found in Gacy’s kitchen was linked to 17-year-old Kim Byers, a co-worker of Piest’s, who admitted, when contacted in person the next day, that she had worn the apron and put the receipt in her pocket shortly before she handed the apron to Piest once he left the store to speak with the contractor. This revelation contradicted Gacy’s earlier claims that he had had no contact with Robert Piest on the evening of December 11: the presence of the receipt indicated that Gacy would have had to have had contact with Piest after the young man left Nisson Pharmacy on that December 11.
The same night, Michael Rossi was questioned for a second time: this time Rossai was more cooperative, informing the detectives that in the summer of 1977, Gacy had him spread ten bags of lime in the space under the floorboards of his house.
On December 19, investigators began compiling evidence in order to obtain a second search and seizure warrant at Gacy’s home. The same day, Gacy’s lawyers filed a civil suit against the Des Plaines police. A hearing in the case was scheduled for December 22. That afternoon, Gacy invited two of the surveillance officers to his home. At that time, while one of the officers distracted Gacy with a conversation, the other entered Gacy’s bedroom in an unsuccessful attempt to write down the serial number of the Motorola TV set they suspected belonged to John Szyc. While flushing the toilet in Gacy’s bathroom, one of the officers noticed a suspicious odor that might emanate from a heating vent of decomposing corpses; the officers who had previously searched Gacy’s home did not notice this odor because the house was unheated at the time.
Both David Cram and Michael Rossi were questioned by investigators on December 20. Rossi agreed to be questioned regarding his possible connections to John Szyc, as well as the disappearance of Robert Piest. When questioned by Detective Joseph Kozenczak about where he believed Gacy spawned Piest’s corpse, Rossi replied, “In the space under the floorboards; he could have put it in the space under the floorboards.” A polygraph test conducted on the boy showed that his answers to questions were inconclusive; however, upon agreeing to a visual test in which a map of Cook County was divided into 12 sections numbered 1 through 12, with Gacy’s house marked in the fourth section, Kozenczak noted an extreme blood pressure response when asked, “Was Robert Piest’s body buried in number four?” Upon hearing such a question, Rossi refused to continue his questioning with the polygraph, although he did discuss further having dug trenches in the space under the floorboards and noted Gacy’s insistence to dig exactly where he had instructed him.
Cram himself told the agents about Gacy’s attempts to rape him in 1976 and claimed that after he and Gacy returned to his home after the search on December 13, that Gacy paled when he noticed a mud stain on his carpet which he suspected had come from the space under the floorboards. Cram then claimed that Gacy took a flashlight and immediately entered the space under the floorboards to look for evidence of excavation. When asked if he had been in the space under the floor, Cram replied that Gacy had asked him to spread lime there, and also that he had dug ditches at Gacy’s request under the pretext that they were for plumbing. Cram said that these trenches were 61 cm wide, 180 cm long and 61 cm deep, i.e. the size of pits.
On the evening of December 20, Gacy went to his attorneys’ office in Park Ridge to attend a pre-scheduled meeting that had been planned in advance to discuss the progress of his civil suit. After arriving, Gacy appeared disheveled and immediately ordered a drink, and then Sam Almirante brought a bottle of whiskey from his car. Upon his return, Admiral asked Gacy what he had to discuss with them. Gacy picked up a copy of the Daily Herald from Admiral’s desk; he pointed to an article about the disappearance of Robert Piest and told his lawyers, “That boy is dead. He’s in a river.”
Over the next few hours, Gacy gave a confusing confession that lasted until the early hours of the next morning. He began telling Admiral and Stevens, that he had “been the judge…jury and executioner of many, many people,” most of whom he said were buried in the space under the floorboards and others in the Des Plaines River. Some victims he referred to by name; a large number he considered to be prostitutes, pimps, liars to whom he would give the “rope trick.” On other occasions, he said he would wake up to find “boys strangled and dead” on the floor, their hands handcuffed behind their backs. About Robert Piest, Gacy said that as he put the tourniquet on his neck, Piest was “crying with fear.” Because he was drunk, Gacy fell asleep in the middle of his confession, and Admiral scheduled a psychiatric appointment for him at 9 a.m. the next morning. Upon waking up hours later, Gacy simply shook his head when Almirante said that he had confessed to having earlier murdered about 30 people saying, “Well I can’t think about that right now. I have things to do.” Ignoring his lawyers’ advice about the scheduled appointment, Gacy left the office to go about his business.
Gacy later recalled that his memories of his last day of freedom were blurred, adding that his arrest was inevitable and that in his last hours of freedom he intended to visit his friends and say his last goodbyes. Upon leaving his lawyers’ office, Gacy went to a Shell gas station where, while filling up his rental car, he handed a small package of marijuana to the attendant, a young man named Lance Jacobson. The latter immediately handed the package to the surveillance agents, adding that Gacy had said: “The end is coming (for me). These guys are going to kill me. Gacy then went to the home of a fellow contractor, Ronald Rhode. In Rhode’s living room, Gacy hugged Rhode before bursting into tears and saying, “I murdered thirty people, give or take.” Gacy then left Rhode’s house to meet with Michael Rossi and David Cram. As he drove down the expressway, surveillance officers noticed that he was holding a rosary against his chin as he prayed while driving.
After talking with Rossi and Cram at his home, Gacy had Cram drive him to a scheduled meeting with Leroy Stevens. While he spoke with his attorney, Cram told the agents that Gacy had told himself and Rossi that the night before he had confessed to his lawyers his guilt about more than thirty murders. At the conclusion of the meeting with his lawyer, Gacy had Cram drive him to Maryhill Cemetery, where his father was buried.
As Gacy went to various places that morning, the police drafted the second search and seizure warrant. The purpose of this one was specifically to search for Robert Piest’s dead body in the space under the floorboards. Upon hearing reports from the surveillance officers that, in light of Gacy’s erratic behavior, he was about to commit suicide, the police decided to arrest him on charges of possession and distribution of marijuana in order to have him in custody while the second search and seizure warrant was presented. At 4:40 on the afternoon of December 21, the day before Gacy’s civil suit, the second warrant was granted by Judge Marvin J. Peters.
Armed with a legitimate search and seizure warrant, police and forensics quickly made their way to Gacy’s home. Upon arrival, the officers discovered that Gacy had turned off the basement water pump and the space under the floorboards was flooded; to remove the water they simply turned the pump back on and waited for the water to drain. After that, a criminal expert named Daniel Genty entered the 8.5-meter by 11.6-meter space under the floor, crawled into the southwest area, and set about digging. Within minutes, he had discovered decomposing flesh and bones from a human arm. Genty immediately shouted to the investigators that they could charge Gacy with murder. Genty further said, “This place is full of children.
After learning that police found human remains in the space under the floorboards of his home and that he would now face murder charges, Gacy told the officers that he wanted “fresh air,” adding that he knew his arrest was inevitable since he had spent the previous night on the couch in his lawyers’ office.
In the early hours of December 22, 1978, John Wayne Gacy confessed to police that since 1972 he had committed 25 to 30 murders, of which he falsely claimed were runaway teenagers or prostitutes, whom he would usually abduct from Chicago’s Greyhound bus terminal, Bughouse Square, or simply from the streets. The victims were often forcibly brought in or tricked by Gacy – who often carried a police badge and searchlights in his black Oldsmobile – into believing that he was a policeman. Others were lured to his home with the promise of a job with his construction company or with an offer of sex for money.
Once at Gacy’s home, the victims would be handcuffed or otherwise tied up, then raped and tortured. To muffle the screams of his prey, Gacy would usually put pieces of cloth or items of their clothing in their mouths. Some victims were partially drowned in their bathtub before being revived, allowing Gacy to continue his attack at length. Many of them were strangled with a tourniquet, which Gacy referred to as his “rope trick”; eventually the victim would convulse for an hour or two after the rope trick before passing away. With only two exceptions, all of his victims died between 3am and 6am. When asked where he got the inspiration to use the rafters found in his house on which he had handcuffed many of his victims, Gacy claimed that he was inspired to have them after reading about the Houston roast murders.
His prey were lured to his house alone, although on about three occasions, Gacy would do what he called “double kills”-opportunities in which he would murder two victims on the same night. After they were killed, the victims would be kept for up to 24 hours under his grave before being buried in the space under the floorboards, although the bodies of some of them would be taken to his garage and embalmed before being buried.
Most of the victims had been buried in the space under the floor, where he would periodically throw lime to hasten the decomposition of the corpses. In January 1979 he had planned to hide the bodies even more by covering the entire space under the floor with concrete. Gacy claimed that he had missed the number of victims buried in that space and had initially considered storing the bodies in his attic before choosing to dispose of their corpses on the bridge over the Des Plaines River on the I-55 freeway. Thus, the final five victims, all murdered in 1978, were spawned in this manner given that the space under the floorboards was full.
When questioned specifically about Robert Piest, Gacy confessed to strangling him in his home on the night of December 11 after luring him there, adding that he had been interrupted by a phone call from a co-worker while committing the crime; he also admitted to sleeping next to young Piest’s corpse that night before spawning his body in the Des Plaines River later the same night. The reason why he arrived at the Des Plaines police station all dirty and ragged in the early hours of December 13 was because he had a minor traffic accident after dumping young Piest’s body on his way to his meeting with the Des Plaines police officers. In this accident, his car had skidded on the frozen road and he unsuccessfully tried to extricate the vehicle before it had to be towed away. He, Gacy, also confessed that he had buried John Butkovich’s body in his garage. To assist the police officers in searching for the victims buried in his house, Gacy drew a sketch of his gate on a sheet of paper in order to show where the corpses were buried.
Search for Victims
Escorted by police, Gacy returned to his home on December 22 and showed police officers the location, in his garage, where he had buried Butkovich’s body. The police then went to the spot near the I-55 highway from which he had dumped the body of Piest and four other victims. Only four of the five bodies that Gacy dumped there were found in the Des Plaines River.
Between December 22 and 29, 1978, 27 bodies were recovered from Gacy’s home; 26 of which were buried in the space under the floorboards, with one more victim, John Butkovich, being found below the concrete floor of his garage, precisely where Gacy marked the young man’s grave with a can of spray paint. After a temporary postponement of the excavations in January 1979 imposed by a heavy snowfall in Chicago, the digging resumed in March, despite Gacy’s insistence to investigators that all the bodies buried in his home had been found.
On March 9, the corpse of the twenty-eighth victim was found buried in a grave near the grill in the backyard of Gacy’s house: she was found wrapped in several plastic bags and had a silver ring on the ring finger of her left hand, indicating that she was possibly married. A week later, on March 16, the remains of another victim were found below the wooden beams of the dining room, increasing the total number of corpses exhumed at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue to 29. In April 1979 Gacy’s unoccupied house was demolished.
Three other bodies, which were found near the Des Plaines River between June and December 1978, have also been confirmed as Gacy’s victims.
Several corpses found in Gacy’s house were found with plastic bags over their heads or thorax. In addition, several bodies were found with ligature used to strangle them still tied around their necks. In other cases, pieces of cloth were found inserted deep into the throats of the victims, leading the Cook County chief medical officer to conclude that 12 of the victims buried in Gacy’s house did not die by strangulation, but by asphyxiation. In some cases the corpses were found with foreign bodies on them, such with objects inserted into the pelvic region in a position that indicated they were introduced through the victims’ anus. All of the victims found at 8213 Summerdale Avenue were in an advanced state of decomposition; thus, the coroner would rely primarily on dental records to aid in the identification of the remains.
Two victims were identified as having a connection to Gacy through PDM Contractors. Most of the identifications were facilitated with the help of x-ray plates. Recognition of the bodies was also facilitated by personal effects found at Summerdale 8213: one victim, 19-year-old David Talsma, was identified via comparison of radiological records of a healed fracture of the left scapula, which matched the mark evident on skeleton 17 recovered from the space under the floorboards of Gacy’s house; another young man, Timothy O’Rourke, was last heard mentioning that a contractor had offered him a job. Of the most identified victims, the youngest were Samuel Dodd Stapleton and Michael Marino, both 14; the oldest, at 21, was Russell Nelson. Six of the victims were never identified.
On April 9, 1979, a decomposed body was discovered attached to exposed roots on the banks of the Des Plaines River in Grundy County. The corpse was identified through dental records as that of Robert Piest. An autopsy revealed that three pieces of a paper-like material had been placed in his throat while he was alive, causing him to die of asphyxiation.
On February 6, 1980 the trial began in Chicago. Gacy was charged with 33 murders. He was tried in Cook County, Illinois by Judge Louis Garippo; the jury was selected in the city of Rockford because of the large press coverage in Cook County.
At the request of the defense, Gacy spent over three hundred hours with doctors at Menard Correctional Center the year before the trial. He underwent a series of psychological tests before a board of psychiatrists in order to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial.
Gacy tried to convince doctors that he suffered from multiple personality disorder. His lawyers chose to claim that he was not guilty by reason of mental insanity and brought in several psychiatrists who had examined Gacy the previous year to testify on his behalf. Three of the doctors who examined Gacy at the defense’s request stated that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder.
The prosecutors presented a case indicating that Gacy was sane and fully in control of his actions. To support their position, they brought in several witnesses to demonstrate the premeditation of Gacy’s actions and the efforts he undertook to go unnoticed. Such doctors refuted the defense doctors’ claims that Gacy had multiple personality disorder and insanity.
If Gacy were declared insane by the jury, he would be committed to a psychiatric hospital and treated, and could even be released if he cured himself of his mental illnesses. If he is found sane, he could face the death penalty. Prosecutor Bob Egan and defense attorney Robert Motta were constantly arguing about Gacy’s real mental state during the crimes. The first witness called by the prosecution was Marko Butkovich, father of John Butkovich. Most of the witnesses who testified against Gacy were the victims’ family members and friends.
Gacy’s employees also testified at the trial. In their testimonies they emphasized their employer’s constant mood swings and his inconvenient pranks. Two witnesses of the, were PDM employees, confessed that Gacy made them dig trenches in the space under the floorboards of his house. One of these employees, David Cram, testified that in August 1977, Gacy marked a spot in the space under the floorboards with sticks and told him to dig a drainage ditch.
Immediately after Cram finished his testimony, Michael Rossi testified for the prosecution. When asked about where he would have dug in the space under the floorboards, Rossi turned to a diagram of Gacy shown in the courtroom. That diagram showed where the bodies were found in the space under the floorboards and in the other parts of the house. Rossi pointed to the location of the remains of an unidentified victim known as ‘body 13’. Rossi said that he had not dug any other trenches, but – and Gacy’s request – he had supervised other employees digging trenches in the space under the floorboards.
Rossi and Cram also testified that Gacy would periodically watch the space under the floor to ensure that they and other employees assigned to dig in the space under the floor did not stray from the locations he had precisely marked. Gacy had testified, after his arrest, that he dug only five of his victims’ graves and that he had his employees dig the rest so that he “had available graves.”
On February 18, Dr. Robert Stein, the physician assigned by Cook County to oversee the exhumation of the bodies of the victims found in the Gacy home, testified how he and his colleagues conducted the removal of the remains. Stein said that the excavation was conducted in an “archaeological” manner, adding that all the bodies discovered were “markedly putrefied, decomposed and skeletal” remains. Regarding the cause of death of each victim he performed the autopsy on, Stein concluded that thirteen of the victims had been killed by asphyxiation; six had died by strangulation with a ligature, and one victim died multiple stab wounds to the chest. Stein testified that the cause of death in ten cases could not be determined, even though all were considered homicides.
After the interrogation, Gacy’s defense team tried to raise the possibility that all 33 murders were accidental erotic asphyxiation deaths: Dr. Stein refuted such a claim by saying that this allegation was highly unlikely.
Three days after the testimony of doctor Robert Stein, Jeffrey Rignall spoke on behalf of the defense, recounting the abuse and torture he experienced at the hands of Gacy in March 1978. He repeatedly wept as he recounted the mistreatment he had been subjected to. In response to questioning as to whether Gacy enjoyed the criminality of his actions, Rignall said he believed that Gacy was incapable of conforming his actions within the law because of the “bestial and animalistic way he attacked me.” Upon specific questioning relating to the torture he had suffered, Rignall vomited before being dismissed from further testimony.
On February 29, one of the young men Gacy sexually abused in 1967, Donald Voorhees, testified to the suffering he endured at Gacy’s hands, and also that Gacy then paid another young man to beat him and throw pepper spray in his face so that he would not testify against Gacy. The young man felt unable to testify, but made a quick attempt before he was asked to give up.
Robert Donnelly testified a week after Voorhees, recounting the suffering he had gone through at the hands of Gacy in December 1977. Donnelly was visibly distressed as he recalled the abuse he had gone through and came close to collapsing on several occasions. As Donnelly testified, Gacy laughed at him several times, but Donnelly was able to finish his testimony. One of Gacy’s defense attorneys, Robert Motta, tried to discredit Donnelly’s testimony, but Donnelly did not waver in his testimony about what had occurred.
During the fifth week of the trial, Gacy wrote a personal letter to Judge Garippo requesting a mistrial based on a number of allegations, including that he had not approved the insanity plea used by his lawyers; that his lawyers had not allowed him to testify (that his defense had not called a sufficient number of witnesses and that the police were lying about allegations he allegedly made to detectives after his arrest, and that the statements would only serve the prosecution anyway. Judge Garippo responded to the letter informing him that, according to the law, he was free to choose whether he wanted to testify and was free to tell the judge about when he wished to do so.
On March eleventh the closing arguments of the defense and prosecution began; such proceedings concluded the same day. Prosecutor Terry Sullivan spoke first, outlining Gacy’s history of abusing young men, testimony of his efforts to avoid detection, and describing his surviving victims – Voorhees and Donnelly – as “living dead.” Referring to Gacy as “the worst of killers,” Sullivan said, “John Gacy was responsible for more human devastation than many earthly catastrophes, but someone must shudder. I shudder when I think about how he came so close to getting away with it all.
After four hours of closing arguments for the prosecution, attorney Sam Almirante began those for the defense. Almirante argued against the doctors’ testimony, repeatedly quoting the testimony of the four psychiatrists and psychologists who testified on behalf of the defense. Admiral also accused Sullivan of sparsely referring to the evidence presented during the trial and his own closing arguments, as well as stirring up hatred against his client. The defense attorney tried to present Gacy as a “man dominated by compulsions which he was incapable of mastering. To support such arguments, the defender made repeated references to the testimony of doctors who testified favorably to the defense, in addition to the testimony of witnesses such as Jeffrey Rignall and Gacy’s former partner Mickel Reed – both of whom said they believed Gacy had been unable to control his actions. Admiral then urged the jury to set aside any prejudice against his client and requested that they return a verdict of not guilty by plea of mental insanity, adding that Gacy’s psychological behavior would benefit scientific research and that his mind should be psychologically studied.
In a final effort to prove that Gacy was insane, the lawyers called Gacy’s friends and family members to the stand. Gacy’s mother said that he had been repeatedly abused by his father. His sister said that their father was an alcoholic and beat Gacy with a belt. Other witnesses emphasized Gacy’s generosity, one who helped everyone with a “smile on his face.” Psychiatrists brought in by the defense said that Gacy suffered from borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia, had multiple personalities and antisocial behavior. They claimed that his mental disorder prevented him from understanding the magnitude of his actions.
On the morning of March 12, William Kunkle continued to defend the prosecution by referring to the insanity plea, perpetrated by the defense, as a sham, justifying himself that the evidence in the case demonstrated Gacy’s ability to think logically and to control his actions. Kunkle also referred to the testimony of a doctor who had examined Gacy in 1968; he had diagnosed Gacy with an antisocial personality, capable of committing crimes without feeling remorse. Kunkle said that if this doctor’s recommendations had been heeded, Gacy would not have been released. At the end of his plea, Kunkle held up pictures of each of the 22 identified victims in a frame and asked the jury not for sympathy, but for justice. Kunkle then asked the jurors to “show the same sympathy that this man showed when he took those lives and put them there” before throwing the stack of photographs at the trap door leading to the space under the floorboards, which had been introduced as evidence and was being shown in court. After Kunkle finished his arguments, the jurors retired to decide the verdict.
The jurors deliberated for less than two hours and found Gacy guilty of 33 counts of murder on which he had been brought to trial; he was also found guilty of sexual assault and indecent behavior with a child; both convictions in reference to Robert Piest. The next day, prosecution and defense made alternative requests for sentencing that the jury should decide: the prosecution asked for capital punishment for each murder committed given the Illinois death penalty law passed in June 1977; the defense asked for life imprisonment.
The jury deliberated for more than two hours before returning with their decision in the sentencing phase of the trial: Gacy was sentenced to death on 12 counts of murder on which the prosecution had requested such a sentence. The initial execution date was set for June 2, 1980.
Upon being sentenced, Gacy was transferred to Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois, in which he remained incarcerated on death row for 14 years.
Isolated in his prison cell, Gacy began to paint. The subjects he painted varied, although many were clowns, some of which he painted himself as “Pogo.” Many of his paintings were shown in exhibitions; others were sold at various auctions, with individual prices ranging from $200,000 to $20,000. Although Gacy was allowed to make money from the sale of his paintings until 1985, he claimed that his artwork aimed to “bring joy into people’s lives.”
On February 15, 1983, Gacy was stabbed in the arm by Henry Brisbon, also a death row inmate known as “the I-57 killer.” At the time of this attack, Gacy was participating in a volunteer work program when Brisbon ran up to him and stabbed him in the upper arm with a sharp wire. A second death row inmate injured in the attack, William Jones, suffered a superficial cut to the head. Both received treatment for their injuries at the prison hospital.
After his incarceration, Gacy read numerous law books and filed voluminous motions and appeals, although he did not prevail on any. Gacy’s appeals were related to issues such as the validity of the first search warrant granted to the Des Plaines police on December 13, 1978 and his opposition to the insanity of mind claim made by his attorneys during his trial. Gacy also argued that although he had “some knowledge” about five of the murders (those of McCoy, Butkovich, Godzik, Szyc, and Robert Piest), the other 28 murders had been committed by employees in possession of the keys to his home while he was on a business trip.
In mid-1984, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed Gacy’s conviction and ordered that he be executed by lethal injection on November 14. Gacy filed an appeal against this decision, which was denied by the United States Supreme Court on March 4, 1984. The following year, Gacy filed another post-conviction appeal, requesting a new trial. His then attorney, Robert Kling, argued that Gacy had had an ineffective defense at the 1980 trial. Such a petition was dismissed on September 11, 1986.
The decision that he be executed in 1985 was again appealed by Gacy, although his conviction was upheld on September 29, 1988 with the Illinois Supreme Court scheduling the execution date on January 11, 1989.
Gacy’s final appeal to the United States Supreme Court was rejected in October 1993; the Illinois Supreme Court formally set the execution date for May 10, 1994.
On the morning of May 9, 1994, Gacy was transferred from Menard Correctional Center to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill for execution. That afternoon he was allowed to have a private picnic inside the prison with his family. For his last meal, Gacy ordered a bucket of KFC fried chicken, a dozen fried shrimp, fries, fresh strawberries and a Diet Coke. That night he prayed with priest before being escorted to the Stateville execution chamber to receive the lethal injection.
Before his execution began, the chemicals that would be used in the execution unexpectedly solidified, clogging the IV catheter that would carry the substances to Gacy’s arm, complicating the execution. Curtains covering the window through which witnesses watched the execution were lowered, and the execution team replaced the clogged catheter in order to complete the procedure. After ten minutes, the curtains were raised and the execution resumed. The entire process lasted 18 minutes. Anesthesiologists said that the problem was the inexperience of the prison staff responsible for the execution, saying that if the correct procedures had been followed, such complications would never have occurred. This error probably led the state of Illinois to adopt an alternative form of lethal injection. On this topic, one of the prosecutors at Gacy’s trial, William Kunkle, said, “He died a much easier death than any of his victims.
According to published accounts, Gacy was a medically diagnosed psychopath who never expressed remorse for his crimes. His final statement to his lawyer before his execution was that killing him would not compensate for the loss of other people and that the state was murdering him. His last words were “kiss my ass”.
In the hours leading up to Gacy’s execution a crowd estimated at over a thousand people gathered outside the prison; most of whom were clearly in favor of the execution, although many of the anti-death penalty protesters were also present. Some of those in favor of the death penalty wore T-shirts boasting of Gacy’s previous community service as a clown with satirical slogans such as “no tears for the clown.” The anti-death penalty demonstrators held a silent candlelight vigil.
After Gacy’s death was confirmed at 0:58 AM on May 10, 1994, his brain was removed. It is in the possession of Helen Morrison, a defense witness in Gacy’s trial, who interviewed him and other serial killers in an attempt to isolate common traits of violent sociopaths. His body was cremated after the execution.
In the months following Gacy’s execution, many of his paintings were auctioned. Some were purchased so that they could be destroyed in a June 1994 community bonfire in Naperville, Illinois, attended by some three hundred people, including family members of nine of Gacy’s victims.
Only 27 of Gacy’s victims were conclusively identified. By the time of his trial, 22 of the victims had been identified. In March 1980, two other corpses unearthed from the space under the floorboards of Gacy’s house were identified via dental and radiological records, such as those of Kenneth Parker and Michael Marino; both were reported missing on October 25, 1976, the day after their disappearances.
In May 1986, the ninth victim exhumed from the space under the floorboards was identified as Timothy Jack McCoy, Gacy’s first victim. Another victim was identified in November 2011 via DNA testing as William George Bundy, a 19-year-old construction worker who was last seen by his family on his way to a party on October 26, 1976. Bundy had apparently worked for Gacy before he was murdered. Soon after Gacy’s arrest, his family contacted Bundy’s dentist in hopes of sending his dental records for comparison with the unidentified bodies. However, the records had been destroyed after the dentist retired. A second victim was identified via DNA testing in July 2017 as a 16-year-old boy from Saint Paul, Minnesota, named James “Jimmy” Haakenson, who last contacted his family on August 5, 1976. Thirty-five years later, his nephew, intrigued by the unsolved family history, filled out a form that police made available for reopening the case; the characteristics matched three of the bodies, according to the investigation by lead detective Jason Moran and local sheriff Tom Dart. After DNA testing, Jimmy was finally identified and his family was able to have a proper funeral. Unfortunately, his mother died before she knew what had happened to her son. The case gained repercussion and was reported in a TV program, televised in Brazil on Discovery Investigation.
Of the 33 confirmed Gacy murders, 8 victims were not identified at the time. In the 1970s, forensic analysis was not as advanced. Dental and radiological records were the main ways of identifying corpses. However, as time went on, new technologies emerged, such as DNA testing.
Six of the victims remain unidentified, five of whom were buried in the space under the floorboards, with another young man buried approximately 4.6 m away from the grill in his backyard. Experts used the skulls of the unidentified victims to create facial reconstructions. Based on Gacy’s confession, information about where the identified victims buried in the space under the floorboards, and forensic analysis, the police were able to determine when his unidentified victims were killed.
In October 2011, the team led by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that investigators, having obtained the complete DNA profiles of each of the unidentified victims, should renew their efforts to identify all of them. He then held a press conference to announce this intention. In it, Dart said that law enforcement officials are taking DNA samples from people in the U.S. who are related to any man who went missing between 1970 and 1979. The results of the tests conducted so far have confirmed the identification of two victims, ruling out the possibility that numerous other missing boys were victims of Gacy, as well as resolving four filed cases unrelated to the murders committed by Gacy
In 2013, Illinois authorities resumed their attempt to identify the remaining bodies. In May of this year, another disappearance was eventually uncovered that they thought was one of Gacy’s victims, but since the DNA didn’t match, the case was referred to the New Jersey police, who searched the missing persons files for any matches and found them. The remains were those of Steven Soden, a 16-year-old who disappeared during a field trip from his orphanage in 1972. The circumstances of his death were not discovered.
Dispute over the identification of Michael Marino
In 2012, DNA tests performed on the remains identified as Michael Marino’s revealed that the remains were misidentified. Marino’s mother had always doubted the identification because the clothing found next to the corpse was inconsistent with what her son had been wearing when she last saw him. In addition, the dental X-ray taken on the corpse identified as Michael Marino had revealed that the victim had all his second molars, while the X-ray taken in March 1976 showed that one molar had not yet erupted. However, the orthodontist who identified Marino’s remains stated his certainty in the accuracy of his findings adding that he “compared 32 teeth and probably more than a dozen of them had very distinct fillings and each one was consistent with Michael Marino.
Possible additional victims
At the time of Gacy’s arrest, he had claimed to both Des Plaines and Chicago investigators that the total number of victims murdered by him could be as high as 45. However, only 33 bodies already found could be linked to Gacy. Agents excavated the grounds of his home until they exposed the clay subsoil below the foundation, yet only 29 bodies were found buried on his property. When asked if there were more victims, Gacy simply said “That’s for you to find out.”
On May 8, 1977, Charles Hattula was found drowned in a river near Freeport, Illinois. Hattula, an employee of PDM Contractors had been linked to the initial investigation into Gacy after the disappearance of Robert Piest; this was after the same employee who had informed investigators of Gregory Godzik’s disappearance informed them of Hattula’s death. In addition, the employee claimed that Hattula was known to have disagreements with Gacy, who informed several of his employees that the young man had drowned, after Hattula’s body was recovered from the Pecatonica River. The Des Plaines authorities contacted his colleagues in Freeport during the investigation about Gacy, but said that the young man died from his fall from a bridge. At the time of Hattula’s death, Gacy had become engaged and his fiancée had moved into his home, which leaves the possibility that Gacy could have disposed of Hattula’s body in the Pecatonica River instead of burying it in the space under the floorboards of his home. However, Hattula’s death was officially considered accidental.
Gacy claimed after he attacked and freed Jeffrey Rignall in March 1978 that he began to spawn his victims in the Des Plaines River. He confessed to disposing of five corpses in this way. But only four bodies were found in the river and conclusively confirmed as Gacy’s victims. Given the time span of more than four months between the date of the murders and the first and second known victims being dumped into the river, it is possible that this unknown victim was killed between June and November 1978.
A retired Chicago police officer named Bill Dorsch said he had reason to believe there may be more victims buried in the grounds of the apartment building in the 6100 block of West Miami Avenue in Chicago; a property to which Gacy was a janitor for several years before he was arrested in 1978. In 1975, Dorsch – then a Chicago police officer – observed Gacy (whom he knew casually) holding a shovel in the early morning hours. When confronted by Dorsch as to his actions, Gacy said he was working and was very busy during the day. Dorsch also claimed that several other residents of West Miami Avenue said that in the early to mid-1970s they saw Gacy digging ditches on the property’s grounds; one of these residents also said that Gacy would put plants but ditches he had dug. At the time such actions were observed, Gacy was still married to Carole Hoff. After his first murder in 1972, he is not known to have buried any victims of his murders under his house until a month after his divorce in March 1976. (John Butkovich had been buried under his garage and an unknown victim defined as “body 28” had been buried in his backyard.) Gacy’s wife had informed police officers that, on several occasions in the years leading up to their separation, that she had found several discarded men’s wallets and ID cards around the grounds at 8213 Summerdale. When she confronted Gacy about this, he aggressively told her that property was none of her business.
In March 2012, Cook County sheriff’s deputies made a request to excavate the grounds of this property. However, the state’s attorney in Cook County denied such a request by stating the lack of probable cause as the reason the request was denied (including the 1998 past search). However, the sheriff’s office noted that in 1998, a radar search had noted 14 areas of interest within the property’s grounds, yet only two of those 14 anomalies (discovered by radar) had been excavated. Of the remaining 12, which the police had not examined in detail at that time, four were described as “incredibly suggestive” as human skeletons. In addition, Bill Dorsch provided the police with a letter from the radar company that the 1998 search was incomplete.
A second request to excavate the West Miami Avenue property was submitted to the Cook County prosecutor by Sheriff Tom Dart in October 2012. That request was granted in January 2013; a search of the property was conducted in the spring of the same year. Both FBI sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar equipment were used in the second search of West Miami Avenue; the search, however, did not reveal any human remains.
Gacy would drive around Chicago in his black Oldsmobile looking for victims. He would talk to young men and offer them jobs at his construction company. Because he was working during the day, the lie of a job went down well, and many young men would accept a ride to Gacy’s company. When the victim didn’t accept, Gacy went to “Plan B”: he offered marijuana and money if the boy would have sex with him. Once inside the car, he would attack his victims with chloroform. When the victim was unconscious, he would take him to his house. He would tie him up and start the torture session with various instruments. Often boys would come to Gacy’s house looking for a job. Gacy would invite them in and show them the “Handcuff Trick”. Once handcuffed, the kids would be doped and sexually molested by Gacy. But first, so that no one would hear the boys’ screams, Gacy would gag them with his own underwear. It was his signature. Often the torture was done, according to Gacy, by one of his personalities, “The Clown”. Dressing up as Pogo the Clown, he would torture them by reading passages from the Bible. After the torture and sexual abuse, Gacy would strangle his victims using an instrument known as a garrote. This instrument was seized during the first search of Gacy’s house by the police (the piece of wood with two holes in the ends).
During his 14 years in prison, Gacy painted several pictures. He painted as a hobby and as a way to earn money; he even sold $120,000 worth of paintings. Today his paintings fetch high values on the market and are viewed with skepticism by some art experts. While in prison he still made a lot of money – from the paintings he did (especially popular were clown paintings and self-portraits, but he also depicted Jesus, Hitler, Disney characters, other criminals, etc.) and from other methods, such as a pay phone service he created, where the caller could hear his plea of not guilty. He had an obsessive routine in jail: he wrote down every call, letter or visit he received, and even what he ate. It is said that during his 14 years in prison he abused alcohol and attempted suicide.
- John Wayne Gacy
- John Wayne Gacy
- «John Wayne Gacy». Biography (em inglês). Consultado em 29 de junho de 2019
- Cahill, Tim (1986). Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer. [S.l.]: Bantam Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-61608-248-2
- Almirante, Sam L.; Broderick, Danny (2011). John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster. [S.l.]: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-61608-248-2
- Sullivan, Terry (Lawyer) (1983). Killer clown : the John Wayne Gacy murders. New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. 207–218. ISBN 0786014229. OCLC 48686002
- Sullivan, Terry (Lawyer) (1983). Killer clown : the John Wayne Gacy murders. New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. 265–257. ISBN 0786014229. OCLC 48686002
- Маньяк Джон Уэйн Гейси-младший, ставший прототипом для ужасного клоуна Пеннивайза (неопр.). Stone Forest (13 апреля 2018). Дата обращения: 5 марта 2019. Архивировано 9 февраля 2019 года.
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- Terry Sullivan, Peter T. Maiken. Killer clown. — New York: Pinnacle, 2000. — 345 и 8 непронумерованных иллюстраций с. — ISBN 0786014229 9780786014224. Архивная копия от 27 июля 2021 на Wayback Machine
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- ^ Linedecker, 1980, pp. 16-17.
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