John Wayne Gacy was born in 1942 and grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. His father, John S.
Gacy, Sr. (1915-1969), was an alcoholic and beat him frequently during his violent rages. As Gacy grew up, he began to develop
a identity crisis - doubting his own masculinity. At the age of 11, he suffered a blow to the head from a swing. Over the
next 5 years, he had frequent blackouts until doctors found a clot in his brain that was removed with medications. Following
that, he would feign 'heart problems' for attention.
He graduated from business college and started to work as a shoe salesman. Gacy married a coworker worker, whose family
owned a KFC in Waterloo, Iowa and began to work there as Manager. He gradually earned the respect of the local Jaycees. In
May 1968 he was arrested for sexual misconduct with a young male employee. Gacy actually hired a thug to beat the witness,
which failed, and only increased the charges against him. He pled guilty to sodomy and was sentenced to 10 years. Gacy was
a model prisoner and was paroled in 1970 after serving only 18 months.
He then moved to Chicago where he began his life anew as a building constructor. Gacy became popular with his new
neighbors and colleagues. He would throw theme parties and often dress up as 'Pogo the Clown' for children's parties and charity
shows. Gacy was also involved with the Democratic party and even had his picture taken with then First Lady Rosalynn Carter
(wife of former President Jimmy Carter).
On February 12, 1971 he was once again charged with sexual misconduct towards a young man. The witness did not show
up in court and the charges were dropped. He finished his parole on October 18, 1971. Gacy committed his first murder on January
3, 1972. His modus operandi would be to drive around town looking for young male runaways, ex-jailbirds or even male prostitutes.
Gacy's victims ranged in age from 9 to 20 years. He would flash them a 'badge' or a 'gun' pretending to be an officer of the
law and 'arrest' them. Gacy would then befriend them and take take them home where he showed them tricks with 'magic handcuffs'.
Once he had sudbued his victim he would torture, sodomize and garotte them. Then he would bury them in a crawl space beneath
his house. When he ran out of space he began to dump bodies in neighbouring rivers. After he divorced his second wife in 1976
the killings escalated as he had the house to himself. On October 25, 1976 he committed a double homicide! In December 1977
he actually let one of his victims leave after he had 'done' with him.
On December 12, 1978 he killed his 33rd and last victim; a 15-year-old boy from his neighborhood. That was Gacy's
one big mistake. The victim had told someone he was going to see his 'contractor' about a job and was never seen again. The
'contractor' turned out to be Gacy. When the police dropped by his house they noticed the smell from the decomposing corpses
underneath. When they saw his police record, it wasn't hard for them to get a search warrant of his house. A total of 29 bodies
were extracted from the crawlspace and five more from the nearby river, of which 9 remain unidentified. Gacy was judged sane
by the court psychiatrists and in 1980 was charged with 21 counts of life for murders committed before June 21, 1977 when
Illinois reinstated the death sentence. For the 12 committed since then he got the death sentence.
IMDb mini-biography by
thanks to Sujit R. Varma for writing this article