The People of the State of Illinois
John Wayne Gacy
79-C69, et seq.
FBI File Number: 62-5154 (mostly redacted)
I researched through public court documents to obtain facts related to this case and these words are my own.
I realize most people may have heard of the serial killer, John Wayne Gacy, however, there are many facts surrounding this case that you may not have been aware of. During my research, I found because there was no DNA; no data base for fingerprinting; or real communication between police departments at local or state levels, Mr. Gacy was able to kill and maintain a double-life for many years.
Defendant, John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 17, 1942, to a middle-class family. Although ill as a child from a congenital heart defect, his father maintained throughout his life that his son was defective. Additionally, Defendant’s father, was an abusive alcoholic who regularly beat the children and his wife with a razor strap.
In 1964, John Wayne Gacy married and moved to Iowa to manage several of his father-in-law’s Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Over the next four years, he and his wife had two children.
In 1968, John Wayne Gacy was convicted of sexual assault of a teenage boy and sentenced to ten years in prison. Gacy was released from prison after a couple of years for good behavior. Subsequently, after his conviction, his wife divorced him.
After being released from prison, Gacy moved back to Chicago and started a contracting company. He eventually re-married and became a respectable businessman in his community. Defendant was active in the Jaycees and he regularly visited sick children in the hospital dressed as a clown. During this period of time, he was photographed with First Lady Rosalynn Carter at a charity event.
John Wayne Gacy murdered his first victim in 1972, it was then he began a double-life. Gacy would lure male prostitutes and teenagers that worked with him to his home where he tricked them into wearing handcuffs and ropes around their necks. Once the victims were unable to move, he chloroformed each, then he raped, tortured and murdered them.
On December 11, 1978, fifteen year old Robert Piest was an employee at a pharmacy in Des Plaines. His mother drove to the pharmacy to pick him up from work. Once Robert’s mother arrived, he told her that he wanted to meet up with a contractor for a summer job and he would be right back. Robert Piest’s mother waited inside the pharmacy for over 20 minutes. She then began looking outside for him. Robert Piest was never seen alive again.
Pharmacy employees indicated that a contractor came into the pharmacy at 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and again at 8:50 p.m, which was the approximate time Robert was last seen. The employees indicated that a black van with PDM Construction had been nearby during the time the contractor was in the store.
Over the next couple of days, police were able to obtain a search warrant to search Gacy’s home. Outside of his home was the black van with the letters PDM Construction, and they learned that Gacy was a home contractor.
During their investigation, Officer Schultz, a police officer, asked Defendant if he could use the bathroom, but in fact, wanted to check the serial number of a TV that was located in Gacy’s bedroom against a receipt they had found. While walking down the hallway, Officer Schultz smelled a foul odor. After checking the TV’s serial number, he made his way into the bathroom to flush the toilet (as that is where he told Gacy he was going). When Officer Schultz flushed the toilet a gas emitted from the toilet that smelled like rotting flesh. At first he thought it was a sewer problem, but that was quickly dismissed by him. At that point, Officer Schultz believed there to be a dead body on the premises, however, he did not know, at the time, that he had stumbled upon a serial killer.
While walking out of the house, police looked inside the van and saw bloody clothes, many dried blood samples, as well as a high school ring which was the same high school that Robert Piest attended.
On December 22, 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested. During the confession, Gacy told police that “under an alternate personality” he killed twenty-four young boys and men and burying them in the basement under his Chicago home. Five other bodies were thrown into several rivers in the area. While under arrest, police excavated the Gacy’s home where they uncovered twenty-nine bodies. Four additional bodies were found at several nearby rivers.
Gacy was charged with: 33 counts of murder; 1 count deviated sexual assault; 1 count of indecent liberties with a child; 1 count of aggravated kidnapping.
He was sentenced to: execution for twelve of the murders and natural life as to the other murders. The aggravated kidnapping charge was dismissed.
John Wayne Gacy appealed to the Supreme Court for unfair search and seizure of the van; his confessions; and other issues relating to his execution and mental health. Gacy’s counsel indicated that officers did not have a search warrant for the van. Police officers had given statements that Gacy’s blood-stained clothing and the dried blood samples were visible from the window of the van. The Supreme Court ultimately denied his appeal.
Interestingly, John Wayne Gacy painted thousands of paintings, before and during his incarceration. Many of the paintings were self-portraits of him dressed as a clown, as well as paintings of the basement which highlighted the crawl space where his victims were buried. His paintings are currently being sold for thousands of dollars and are referred to as: murderabilia. There are other serial killers that created art referred to as “murderabilia”.
On May 10, 1994, John Wayne Gacey was executed by lethal injection at Statesville Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois. His last words are conflicting to be either: “it beats being on death row” to “kiss my ass.”