By Tim Lambert

John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer in Chicago, USA. He was convicted of killing 33 boys and young men. Gacy was born on 17 March 1942. His parents were John and Marion Gacy. He was John Wayne after his mother's favorite actor. His father was a severe man who beat and belittled his son. Gacy also had a hear condition that prevented him playing games. In 1964 Gacy became a shoe salesman. (he later became a manager). He also joined the Jaycees. Meanwhile Gacy met a woman named Marlynn Myers. They married in September 1964. The couple had two children, in 1966 and 1967. In 1966 John became a manager for a fast food company in Waterloo, Iowa.

However in 1968 Gacy invited a 15 year old boy named Donald Vorhees to his home and persuaded him to perform oral sex. Gacy was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years in jail. However Gacy served only 18 months. Meanwhile his wife divorced him. After his release in 1970 John Wayne Gacy returned to Chicago and got a job as a cook. Then in 1971 he started his own contracting company called PDM Contractors. He also bought also bought a house at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue in Chicago. However in February 1971 Gacy was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. But the case was dropped when the boy did not turn up in court.

John Wayne Gacy committed his first murder in 1972. On 2 January he picked up a 16 year old boy named Timothy McCoy at the Chicago bus station. Gacy lured the boy back to his house. After having sex with the boy Gacy stabbed him. He buried the body under the crawl space under his house.

In June 1972 Gacy married Carole Hoff, a woman who had 2 daughters from a previous marriage. The couple divorced in 1976. Meanwhile Gacy often employed teenage boys for his construction business. On 31 July 1975 Gacy invited one of them, a 16 year old boy named John Butkovitch to his house. Gacy tricked the boy into trying on a pair of handcuffs. Gacy gagged him then strangled him with a rope. He buried the body under his house. Gacy killed many other boys in the same way. Following his divorce in 1976 Gacy had the house to himself and he began killing more frequently. There were many more victims in 1977 and 1978. The victims were sometimes lured with the promise of construction work. They were strangled or suffocated.

Meanwhile Gacy was a successful businessman. He was also active in Democratic Party politics and he performed as a clown at children's parties.

But some victims escaped. In December 1977 Gacy abducted Robert Donnelly by pretending to be a cop. He handcuffed the young man and took him to his house. Gacy sexually abused the victim and tortured him including by holding his head under water in a bath. However the next morning Gacy let Donnelly go. However when he was questioned by police Gacy claimed it was all consensual. He was not charged.

Meanwhile on 22 May 1978 Gacy offered a 26 year old man named Jeffrey Rignall a ride in his car and a joint. But Gacy held a chloroform soaked rag over Rignall's face. When he came round Rignall was naked and tied to a board. Gacy alternately beat and sexually abused and chloroformed him. Jeffrey Rignall woke up in Lincoln Park. Nobody knows why Gacy let Rignall go.

Then on 21 August 1978 Gacy gave an employee called David Cram some drinks then tricked him into trying on the handcuffs. Gacy threatened to rape him. Fortunately Cram was able to overpower Gacy and get the key to free himself.

John Wayne Gacy continued to murder young men in 1977 and 1978. By December 1978 had murdered 32 young men. The last victim was a 15 year old boy named Robert Piest. He had a part time job in a pharmacy. Unfortunately he met Gacy there at closing time. Gacy lured the boy by offering him a better paid job. Piest told his mother who had come to pick him up after work that he was going to speak to a contractor who had offered him a job. He said he would be back in a minute but he was never seen again. Witnesses had seen Gacy at the pharmacy. When he was questioned Gacy admitted being at the pharmacy but he strongly denied offering Piest a job. The police did not believe him and they obtained a warrant to search his house. They discovered a receipt for photographic film from the pharmacy. A girl who worked at the pharmacy told police she had put a receipt in Robert's coat pocket. It was the same one found in Gacy's house. The police also found items that once belonged to other murder victims. However at that time they did not discover any bodies. Yet the police placed Gacy under surveillance. Eventually they managed to obtain a second search warrant. This time they dug under the crawl space and uncovered human remains.

The Trial and Execution of John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy was arrested for murder on 21 December 1978. Altogether the police found 29 bodies buried on the property at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue. Gacy had run out of space to bury bodies and and he dumped the last victims in the Des Plaines River. Three bodies were found in the river in 1978 but they were not, at first linked to Gacy. Finally the body of Robert Piest was found by the side of the river in April 1979. John Wayne Gacy went on trial on 6 February 1980. He pleaded not guilty by reason on insanity. However the jury rejected the plea and Gacy was found guilty of 33 murders. He was sentenced to death. Gacy spent 14 years on death row. During that time he made a number of paintings. However Gacy did not show any remorse at all for his crimes. John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection on 10 May 1994. He was 52. Meanwhile Gacy's house at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue was demolished as unsafe in April 1978.

Today some of the victims of John Wayne Gacy remain unidentified. Cook County Sheriff

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