John Wanye Gacy
…A.K.A Killer Clown Essay, Research Paper
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was the second of three children. His older sister Joanne was born two years before him and two years later came his youngest sister Karen. All of the Gacy children were raised Catholic and all three attended Catholic schools where they lived on the northern side of Chicago.
When Gacy was eleven years old he was playing by a swing set when he was hit in the head by one of the swings. The accident caused a blood clot in the brain. However, the blood clot was not discovered until he was sixteen. From the age of eleven to sixteen he suffered a series of blackouts caused by the clot, yet the blackouts ceased when he was given medication to dissolve the blockage in the brain.
During Gacy?s late teens, he suffered some turmoil with his father, although relations with his mother and sisters were very strong. John Wayne Gacy, Sr. was an abusive alcoholic who physically abused his wife and verbally assaulted his children. Although John Sr. was an unpleasant individual, young Gacy deeply loved his father and wanted desperately to gain his devotion and attention. Unfortunately, he was never able to get very close to his father before he died, something which he regretted his entire life.
After attending four high schools in his senior year and never graduating, Gacy dropped out of school and left home for Las Vegas. While in Vegas, he worked part time as a janitor in a funeral parlor performing odd jobs. He was not happy in Vegas because he couldn’t get a decent job. He tried desperately to earn enough money to get back home. However, it was difficult because there were few jobs available for those who did not have a high school diploma. It took him three months to earn enough money for a ticket back to Chicago where his two sisters and mother joyfully awaited his arrival.
Soon after Gacy returned from Las Vegas in the early 1960?s, he enrolled himself into a business college and eventually graduated. While at business college, he perfected his talent in salesmanship: Gacy was a born salesman who could talk his way in and out of almost anything. He put his talents to work when he was hired at his first job out of business school at the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. He excelled in his position as a management trainee and it was not too long after his start with the company that he was transferred to manage a men?s clothing outlet in Springfield, Illinois.
While in Springfield, Gacy became involved in several organizations that served the community: the Chi Rho Club where he was membership chairman, the Catholic Inter-Club Council where Gacy was a member of the board, The Federal Civil Defense for Illinois, the Chicago Civil Defense where Gacy was a commanding captain, the Holy Name Society where he was named an officer and the Jaycees where Gacy devoted most of his time to and eventually became first vice-president and “Man of the Year.”
It was obvious that Gacy took his involvement in community organizations very seriously and he devoted most of his free time to them. Many who knew Gacy at this time considered him to be very ambitious and eager to make a name for himself in the community. He worked so hard that on one occasion he was hospitalized for nervous exhaustion. However, once again he refused to let his health problems stand in the way of life and happiness
In September 1964, Gacy met and married a co-worker named Marlynn Myers whose parents owned a string of Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant franchises in Waterloo, Iowa. Fred W. Myers, Gacy?s new father-in-law, offered him a position with one of his franchises. Soon after that Gacy and his new wife moved to Iowa.
Life seemed to hold a lot of promise for Gacy at this time in his life.
Gacy began working for his father-in-law, learning the business from the ground up. On average he worked for twelve hours a day, yet it was not uncommon for him to work fourteen or more hours a day. He was enthusiastic and eager to learn, with hopes of one day taking over the string of fast food restaurants. When Gacy was not working, he was active in the Waterloo, Iowa, Jaycees.
Rumors were spreading around town and amongst Jaycee members regarding Gacy?s sexual preference. It seemed that young boys were always in Gacy?s presence. Everyone heard the stories that Gacy was homosexual and made passes at the young boys who worked for him at the fast food franchises. Yet, people close to him refused to believe in the gossip, until May of 1968 when rumors became truths.
In the spring of 1968, Gacy was indicted by a grand jury in Black Hawk County for allegedly committing the act of sodomy with a teenage boy named Mark Miller. Miller told the courts that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up while visiting Gacy?s home a year earlier, and had violently raped him. Gacy denied all the charges against him and told a conflicting story, stating that Miller willingly had sexual relations with him in order to earn extra money. Gacy further insisted that Jaycee members opposed to him becoming president of the local chapter organization were setting him up.
A judge ordered Gacy to undergo psychiatric evaluation at several mental health facilities to find if he were mentally competent to stand trial. Upon evaluation, Gacy was found to be mentally competent. However, he was considered to be an antisocial personality who would probably not benefit from any known medical treatment. Soon after health authorities submitted the report, Gacy pleaded guilty to the charge of sodomy.
When the judge finally handed down the sentence, Gacy received ten years at the Iowa State Reformatory for men, the maximum time for such an offense. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was twenty-six years old when he entered prison for the first time. Shortly after Gacy entered prison, his wife divorced him on the grounds that Gacy violated their marriage vows.
While in prison Gacy adhered to all the rules and stayed far from trouble. He was a model prisoner, realizing that there was a high possibility of an early parole if he remained non-violent and well behaved. Eighteen months later, Gacy?s hopes came true, his parole was approved. On June 18, 1970, Gacy left the confines of the prison gates and made his way back to his place of birth in Chicago.
After four months of living with his mother, Gacy decided it was time he lived on his own. His mother had been impressed with how her son had readjusted to life outside the prison walls and she helped him obtain a house of his own immediately outside Chicago?s city limits. Gacy owned one-half of his new house located at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue in the Norwood Park Township and his mother and sisters owned the remaining half of the home.
Gacy was very happy with his new two-bedroom 1950?s ranch style house that was located in a nice, clean, family oriented neighborhood. He was quick to make friends with his new neighbors, Edward and Lillie Grexa, who had lived in the neighborhood since the time it had been first built. After only seven months of living in his new home, he was spending Christmas evening with the Grexas, whom he had invited over for dinner with his mother. The neighbors became fast friends and often gathered together for drinks or a game of poker in the comfort of their homes. The Grexas had no idea of Gacy?s criminal past or his most recent run in with the law.
On June 1, 1972 Gacy married Carole Hoff, a newly divorced mother of two daughters. Gacy had romanced the woman who was in a state of emotional vulnerability and she immediately fell for him. She was attracted to Gacy?s charm and generosity and she believed he would be a good provider for her and her children. She was aware of Gacy?s prison experience, yet she trusted that he had changed his life around for the better.
Carole and her daughters quickly settled into their new home with Gacy. The couple maintained a close relationship with their neighbors and the Grexas were always invited over to Gacy?s house for elaborate parties and barbecues. As flattered as they were to receive such invitations by their young neighbors, they were always bothered by a horrible stench that prevailed through the house. Lillie Grexa was sure a rat had died beneath the floorboards of Gacy?s house and she urged him to solve his problem. However, Gacy blamed the horrible stench on the moisture build-up in the crawl space under his house. Yet, it wasn?t a problem with moisture beneath the house.
Although many friends, family members and neighbors complained about the strange smells coming from Gacy?s house, it certainly didn?t stop them from attending his theme parties. Gacy threw two memorable barbecue parties in which he invited all those close to him. On one occasion more than three hundred guests showed up to attend one of Gacy?s parties. The two that were attended by the most people were a luau theme party and a Western theme party. Both were huge successes. Gacy thrived on the attention he received from people who had either been to or heard of the parties. He liked to feel important.
In 1974, Gacy decided he wanted to go into business for himself. He began a contracting business named Painting, Decorating, and Maintenance or PDM Contractors, Incorporated. He hired young teenage boys to work for him.
He told friends that he hired such young men to keep the costs low. However, that was not Gacy?s only reason for hiring teenage boys: Gacy intended to seduce his young employees. His homosexual desires and urge to inflict harm were slowly becoming more apparent to those around him, especially his wife.
Carole and John had drifted apart by 1975. Their sex life had come to a halt and Gacy?s moods became more unpredictable. He would be in a good mood one moment and the next moment he would be flying into an uncontrollable rage and throwing furniture. He was an insomniac and his lack of sleep seemed to have only exacerbated his other problems. Gacy was rarely home in the evenings and when he was, he was either fixing something with the outside of the house or working in the garage. However, there was one thing that Carole was extremely worried about.
It was not only that Gacy showed no sexual interest in her that hurt Carole, but also what pained her even more was when she began to find magazines with naked men and boys in her house. She knew that Gacy was reading them and he acted nonchalantly about his new choice of reading material. In fact, Gacy had told Carole that he preferred boys to women. Naturally, Carole was distressed and she soon filed for divorce. The couple?s divorce became final on March 2, 1976.
Although Gacy was having marital problems, he refused to let it hold him back from realizing his dream of success. Being a man who thrived on and delighted in recognition and attention, Gacy turned his sights to the world of politics. It was in politics that Gacy hoped to make his mark in the world. He had high aspirations and hoped to one day run for public office.
Gacy realized that he had to get his name out and make himself known by participating in volunteer projects and community activities. He also knew that if he were to succeed in politics he had to win over the people. Gacy had a natural talent when it came to persuading others and he creatively came up with a way to gain the recognition he sought.
One of the teenagers who worked with Gacy on that particular project was sixteen- year-old Tony Antonucci. According to the boy, Gacy made sexual advances towards him, yet backed off when Antonucci threatened to hit him with a chair. Gacy joked about the situation and left him alone for a month.
The following month while visiting Gacy?s home, Gacy again approached Antonucci. Gacy tried to trick the young man into handcuffs and believing he was securely cuffed he began to undress the boy. However, Antonucci had made sure that one of his hands was loosely cuffed and he was able to free himself and wrestle Gacy to the ground. Once he had Gacy on the ground he hand cuffed him, but eventually let him go after Gacy promised he would never again try touching him. Gacy never made sexual advances towards Antonucci again and the boy remained working for Gacy for almost a year, following the incident.
Three automobiles belonging to Gacy were also confiscated, including a 1978 Chevrolet pickup truck with snow plow attached that had the name “PDM Contractors” written on its side, a 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and a van with “PDM Contractors” also written on its side. Within the trunk of the car were pieces of hair that were later matched to Rob Piest?s hair.
Further into the investigation, police entered the crawl space located beneath Gacy?s home. The first thing that struck investigators was a rancid odor that they believed to be sewage. The earth in the crawl space was sprinkled with lime but seemed to have been untouched. Police found nothing else during their first search and eventually returned back to headquarters to run tests on some of the evidence and research the case more.
Gacy was called into the police department and told of the articles that they had confiscated. Gacy was enraged and immediately contacted his lawyer. When Gacy was presented with a Miranda waiver stating his rights and asked to sign it, he refused when instructed by his lawyer. Police had nothing to arrest him on and eventually had to release him after more questioning about the Piest boy’s disappearance. Gacy was put under twenty-four hour surveillance.
During the days following the police search of Gacy?s house, some of his friends were called into the police station and interrogated. Gacy had told his friends earlier that police were trying to charge him with a murder but claimed he had nothing to do with such a thing. From the interviews police gathered little information on any connection with Gacy to Robert Piest. Friends of Gacy could not believe he was capable of killing a teenage boy.
Frustrated due to the lack of evidence that police had linking Gacy to Piest they decided to arrest Gacy on possession of marijuana and Valium. Unknown to police at the time, Gacy had recently confided in a friend and co-worker a day before his arrest that he had indeed killed. Gacy further confided in his friend that he killed about thirty people because they were bad and trying to blackmail him.
Around the time Gacy was arrested, he was awaiting action on the Ringall case in which he had been charged with rape. Determined to find his rapist, Ringall had months earlier waited by one of the highway exits that he was able to remember during one of his wakeful episode in Gacy?s car, before being chloroformed again. Finally, after hours of waiting by the exit, he spotted the familiar car and followed it to Gacy?s house. Upon learning Gacy?s name, he immediately filed charges of sexual assault.
Finally, after intense investigation and lab work into some of the items confiscated by police from Gacy?s house, they came up with critical evidence against Gacy. One of the rings found at Gacy?s house belonged to another teenager who had disappeared a year earlier named John Szyc. They also discovered that three former employees of Gacy had also mysteriously disappeared. Furthermore, the receipt for the roll of film that was found at Gacy?s home had belonged to a co-worker of Robert Piest who had given it to Robert the day of his disappearance. With the new information, investigators began to realize the enormity of the case that was unfolding before them.
It was not long before investigators were back searching Gacy?s house. Gacy had finally confessed to police that he did kill someone but said it had been in self- defense. He said that he had buried the body underneath his garage. Gacy told police where they could find the body and police marked the gravesite in the garage, but they did not immediately begin digging. They first wanted to search the crawl space under Gacy?s house. It was not long before they discovered a suspicious mound of earth. Minutes after digging into the suspicious mound, investigators found the remains of a body.
On Friday, December 22, 1978, Gacy finally confessed to police that he killed at least thirty people and buried most of the remains of the victims beneath the crawl space of his house.
His first killing took place in January, 1972, and the second in January, 1974, about a year and a half after his marriage.” He further confessed that he would lure his victims into being handcuffed and then he would sexually assault them. To muffle the screams of his victims, he would stuff a sock or underwear into their mouths and kill them by pulling a rope or board against their throats, as he raped them. Gacy admitted to sometimes keeping the dead bodies under his bed or in the attic for several hours before eventually burying them in the crawl space.
On the first day that the police began their digging, they found two bodies. One of the bodies was that of John Butkovich who was buried under the garage. The other body was the one found in the crawl space. As the days passed, the body count grew higher. Some of the victims were found with their underwear still lodged deep in their throats. Other victims were buried so close together that police believed they were probably killed or buried at the same time. Gacy did confirm to police that he had on several occasions killed more than one person in a day. However, the reason he gave for them being buried so close together was that he was running out of room and needed to conserve space.
Gacy was found guilty in the deaths of thirty-three young men and as Sullivan said, he had the “singular notoriety of having been convicted of more murders than anyone else in American history.” Gacy received the death penalty and was sent to Menard Correctional Center where, after years of appeals, he eventually was killed by lethal injection. The very last words that Gacy said before he was put to death was “Kiss my ass”!
It was May 22, 1978, and Jeffrey Ringall had recently returned from a winter vacation in Florida to his home in Chicago. He decided to reacquaint himself with the city by visiting New Town, a popular area of Chicago where many popular bars and discos could be found. While walking through the area, his path was blocked by a black Oldsmobile. The heavy-set driver leaned out from the window and complimented Ringall on his unseasonable tan. He continued to make small talk and then asked if Ringall wanted to share a joint with him while they rode around town.
Ringall was delighted to escape the cold and share a marijuana cigarette with the stranger. He hopped in the car and began to smoke with his friendly new acquaintance. Before they were half way through with the joint, the man grabbed Ringall and quickly shoved a rag over his face doused with chloroform. Ringall lost consciousness and only briefly reawakened a couple of times during the car ride. During his wakeful periods Ringall watched in a daze as street signs passed, trying to make sense of what was happening to him. Yet before he was able to understand where he was and what was happening, the stranger again covered his face with the chloroform-soaked rag and he passed out.
Once when he was awake, Ringall remembered being in a house and seeing the heavy-set man naked before him. Ringall also remembered seeing on the floor a number of varying sized dildos that the stranger pointed out to him and remarked on how he was going to use them on his unwilling prisoner. That evening Ringall was viciously raped, tortured and drugged by the sadistic stranger.
Later the next morning, Ringall awoke from one of his blackouts fully clothed and under a statue in Chicago?s Lincoln Park. He was surprised to be alive after the trauma that was inflicted on his body. He made his way to his girlfriend’s and later to the hospital where he stayed for six days. During his hospital stay, Ringall reported the incident to the police who were skeptical about finding his rapist, given the little information that Ringall could provide. Along with skin lacerations, burns and permanent liver damage caused from the chloroform, Ringall suffered severe emotional trauma.
Yet, he was fortunate to be alive. Ringall was one of the few victims of John Wayne Gacy, Jr. to have survived.p