By Saul Roth
John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist who took the lives of at least 33 young males in Cook County Illinois. His crimes went unnoticed for years until 1978 when officers dug up his house to look around after receiving new information on another killing site just six blocks away from where they found some bones near the Des Plaines River.
Even though he was known as “The Killer Clown,” Gacy’s childhood was abusive and he struggled with being homosexual. After a conviction for sexual assault in 1968, it turned out that many people were found murdered after trusting him enough to work at their carnival or concession stand – including children.
When Gacy was born, his parents had just moved from Chicago to Danville Illinois. He grew up with two siblings and an alcoholic father who would beat the children if they misbehaved or did not listen to him.
When asked about how she dealt with the abuse, Gacy’s sister Karen said that they learned to tough it out and to not show any emotion.
Gacy’s life was a series of frustrations and disappointments, beginning with being unable to play sports. He also felt disconnected from other children due to his congenital heart condition.
Gacy’s first job was as a fast-food chain manager during the 1960s. He became self-made and powerful in Chicago suburbia thirty years later, when he served on local politics with an appointment of Democratic Precinct Captain from 1969 to 1971.
Gacy was well-liked in his community and active in political organizations. He had two biological children, as well as stepdaughters from different marriages.
Gacy was an accomplished clown who performed at children’s hospitals and charitable events. He would sometimes donate his services as Pogo the Clown or Patches.
His victims were usually lured with promises of construction work or some other ruse before being captured, sexually assaulted and tortured. He would then strangle them until they died.
In 1968, Gacy was convicted for the sexual assault of two teenage boys and handed a 10 year prison sentence. He spent six months in jail before being released on parole in 1970 with the restriction that he could not approach any children under 18 without permission from their parents or adults responsible for them.
The 1970s were a tumultuous time for John Gacy. He was finally charged with rape, and his most notable victims during this period were young males who went missing or who had turned up murdered.
On December 11, 1978, a 15 year old boy named Robert disappeared without any explanation as to where he went or what happened. His mother reported that she last saw him at work before heading out with someone else who claimed they were meeting up for an interview opportunity, but never showed up. Ten days later, police discovered evidence of Gacy’s involvement in multiple crimes and murder. Timothy McCoy was one such victim.The confessed killer of 30 people had depths that went far deeper than anyone could’ve imagined. Gacy was finally caught after a lengthy period with police surveillance and investigation, where they found several trenches filled with human remains under his house.
The court trial of John Wayne Gacy started on February 6, 1980. With his confession to the crimes and insanity pleas from both sides in court proceedings that focusing heavily upon this question, it is no surprise why he was sent to a state mental hospital.
On March 12, 1980 the jury quickly convicted Gacy of murdering 33 young men. He was sentenced immediately afterwards and would be executed by lethal injection on May 10th 1983.