John Wayne Gacy was as American serial killer and rapist, who was convicted of the murder and sexual assault of at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978.
He was sentenced to death for 12 of the murders on 13th March, 1980, and spent 14 years on death row before he was executed on 10th May, 1994, by lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center.
He is now regarded as one of the world’s most notorious serial killers of all time. To provide an insight into his life and mind, here are 10 facts about the killer clown, John Wayne Gacy.
1. A Loyal Member of the Community
Surprisingly, the Killer Clown was thought of as a loyal member of the community, as he often worked hard on several fundraising projects. He even served on the Board of Directors for the Waterloo Jaycees, and was named as the third most outstanding Jaycee within the State of Illinois.
2. Creepy Painter
Gacy took up painting during his time in prison, with much of his artwork featuring clowns, and he would depict himself as Pogo the Clown. Many of the paintings were sold at various auctions, selling from $200 to $20,000 a piece. Nineteen of the pieces were sold in total, and some were bought so they could be destroyed.
25 of the killer’s paintings were burned in June 1994 at a communal bonfire attended by 3,000 people, which included family members of some of Gacy’s victims.
John Wayne Gacy may not have acted alone in the murders. One of the first questions he asked upon his arrest was whether “my associates” had also been arrested. The investigators asked whether the reported individuals had participated in the murders directly or indirectly, to which Gacy replied “directly”. Criminal defense attorneys have openly stated there is “overwhelming evidence Gacy worked with an accomplice”.
4. KFC Manager
John Wayne Gacy managed three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, thanks to his father in-law who gave him the opportunity. He insisted staff refer to him as “the Colonel”.
Despite being viewed as a respectable member of the community, John was heavily involved in the seedy side of Waterloo Jaycee life, which included wife-swapping, pornography and prostitution, He also regularly cheated on his wife, and even opened a club in his basement to ply male employees with alcohol before he made his sexual advances.
6. Mortuary Attendant
Following a disagreement with his father, John Wayne Gacy moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he started work as a mortuary attendant. He observed the embalming of dead bodies for three months, and later confessed that he once climbed into a coffin of a deceased teenage male and caressed the body. Shocked by the experience, he returned to his parents’ home in Chicago.
7. Father’s Approval
Despite a close relationship with his mother and two sisters, Gacy had a rather turbulent relationship with his father, who was an alcoholic and was often physically abusive to the Gacy family. It is thought that Gacy always strived to make his father proud, but he very rarely received his approval.
8. Last Meal
John Wayne Gacy loved KFC so much that he ordered a bucket of the stuff for his final meal.
9. Final Words
Gacy’s final statement to his lawyer prior to his execution stated that killing him would not compensate for the murders he had committed, and so believed the state was killing him the same way he had killed others. His last words were “kiss my ass”.
10. Execution Complications
Before Gacy was executed, the chemical used in the injection unexpectedly solidified, clogging the IV tube. As a result, the blinds in the witness observation dock closed while they replaced the tube. Ten minutes later the blinds were re-opened and the execution procedure continued. William Kinkle stated “he got a much easier death than any of the victims”. The injection error, however, led to Illinois adopting a different execution method.
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