Who Is John Wayne Gacy

Biography and timeline of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942 in Chicago, Ill. to Marion Elaine Gacy and John Wayne Gacy, Sr.

He was the second of three children. His older sister was Joanne and his younger sister was Karen. They lived in a middleclass neighborhood and attended Catholic school. John Gacy Jr. had a paper route and worked in a grocery as a sacker and stocker after school. He was active in Boy Scouts and well liked by his teachers and co-workers.

At eleven years of age, John Gacy Jr. was struck in the head by a swing and suffered from blackouts until he was finally given medication at sixteen to dissolve the blood clot. When he was seventeen, John Wayne Gacy began suffering from "heart problems" of which no cause could ever be found.

John Gacy Sr. was an abusive alcoholic whose beatings and verbal abuse of the junior Gacy would be a key part to the defense lawyer's plan during the eventual trial. Gacy dropped out of school and left home during his senior year as a way of escaping his father's abuse. He moved to Las Vegas where he worked as a janitor in a funeral home.

Deciding he would never make it in Las Vegas, Gacy saved enough money to return to Chicago. During the early 1960s he enrolled into business college and finally graduated. He started his salesman career at Nunn-Bush Shoe Company but advanced to a managerial position and finally was transferred to a men's clothing store in Springfield, Ill.

Once in Springfield, John Wayne Gacy became active in the community. He became the membership chairman of the Chi Rho

Club, a member of the board for the Catholic Inter-club, commanding captain of the Chicago Civil Defense, an officer of the Holy Name Society and vice president of the area Jaycees.

Gacy met his first wife Marlynn Myers in September 1964. She was the daughter of Fred Myers, owner of a string of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. After their marriage, Myers offered Gacy work in one of his franchises and the newly wed Gacys moved to Iowa. While busy with the business and civic groups, Gacy became father of both a boy and a girl.

All seemed to be going in John Wayne Gacy's favor until he was indicted in May 1968 for sodomizing a young man named Mark Miller. At twenty-six, John Gacy entered prison for the first time to serve a ten year sentence. While in prison, Gacy's wife divorced him. Due to good behavior, Gacy was paroled a mere eighteen months into his ten-year sentence. He left the Illinois prison on Jun 18, 1970 and returned to Chicago and his mother. Four months after moving in with his mother, Gacy began looking for a home of his own. He found one at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue in the Norwood Park Township.

Gacy made friends with his neighbors and met Carol Hoff whom he married on June 1, 1972. She and her two daughters moved into the house on West Summerdale and the Gacys began entertaining their neighbors and friends. While they threw lavish parties, many friends chose not to attend because of the "smell" that seemed to permeate the home. John Gacy's excuse for the smell was that there was moisture within the crawlspace under the house. Authorities would later learn it wasn't moisture but the smell of decaying bodies that friends and neighbors smelled.

On 1974 Gacy went into business for himself and began the Painting, Decorating, and Maintenance or PDM Contractors, Incorporated. To supposedly keep costs down at PDM Gacy consistently hired young, teenage boys as laborers. By 1975 his marriage to Carol was on the rocks and he openly kept magazines of naked boys and young men around the house. After confronting Gacy about his tastes and being told he preferred boys to women, Carol filed for a divorce, which became final on March 2, 1976.

John's sexual preferences and marital problems aside, he decided to try politics. He eventually became Secretary treasurer of the street lighting commission but once again his sexual tendencies proved to be his downfall.



In March 1978 Gacy stopped in a part of town known for having homosexual prostitutes and invited 27 year old Jeffrey Rignall into his car to smoke some marijuana. Rignall accepted the invitation, climbed into Gacy's black Oldsmobile and became one of Gacy's living victims. Gacy clapped a chloroform-soaked rag over Rignall's face once he was in the car. Needing time and privacy, Gacy went to his home where he repeatedly raped Rignall and flogged him with a whip. When he was finished, Gacy chloroformed Rignall again and then dumped Rignall at a park. At the hospital Rignall made a report to police but with little to go on, they were unable to find the rapist. Rignall was determined though and went to an area that he remembered and decided to wait. Luck was with him when he spotted the vehicle and followed it back to Gacy's home.

While he was arrested for the crime, the police eventually let Gacy go due to lack of evidence.

On December 11, 1978 fifteen-year-old Robert Piest told him mother he was going to talk to a contractor about a job. He never returned from the interview. Acting on the mother's information, police went to Gacy's home. Instead of taking him into custody or questioning him at that time, they believed Gacy's story of having just had a death in the family and a need to make some phone calls. Hours later he voluntarily went to the police station where he denied knowing anything about Robert Piest. He was then allowed to go home.

Lt. Kozenczak didn't let the matter go completely and on the following day did a background check on Gacy. Finding the previous conviction of sodomy with a teenager, Kozenczak obtained a search warrant and on December 13, 1978 entered Gacy's home. During their search they believed the odor from beneath the home to be that of sewage but did find several items of interest.

1. An address book

2. A jewelry box containing two driver's licenses and several rings including one which had engraved on it the name Maine West High School class of 1975 and the initials J.A.S..

3. A box containing marijuana and rolling papers.

4. A scale.

5. Seven erotic movies made in Sweden

6. Pills including amyl nitrite and Valium.

8. A switchblade knife.

9. Pornographic books and magazines such as, Tight Teenagers, The Rights of Gay People, Bike Boy, Pederasty, Sex Between Men and Boys, Twenty-One Abnormal Sex Cases, The American Bi-Centennial Gay Guide, Heads & Tails and The Great Swallow.

10.A stained section of rug.

11. A 6mm pistol

12. A pair of handcuffs with keys.

13. Several police badges.

14. An 18 inch rubber dildo that was hidden in the attic.

15. A three-foot-long two-by-four wooden plank with two holes drilled in each end.

16. Hypodermic syringes, needles and a small brown, unmarked bottle.

17. Male clothing that was much too small for Gacy.

18. A receipt for a roll of film with a serial number on it, from Nisson Pharmacy.

19. Lengths of nylon rope.

Three of Gacy's automobiles were confiscated including his Oldsmobile in which police found pieces of hair that were matched to that of Robert Priest. At first frustrated by any other evidence, the items originally found played a key role in the Gacy story. The receipt for the roll of film had been given to Robert Piest on the day before he disappeared by a co-worker. One of the rings belonged to John Syzc, a missing teen. It was also discovered that three former Gacy employees were missing as well.

Investigators returned to Gacy's home and this time searched the crawl space beneath the house. The first day of digging uncovered two bodies and by December 28, 1978, a total of twenty-seven bodies had been uncovered. Digging was halted due to weather until February 1979 when three more bodies were discovered when workers began breaking up the concreted areas of the patio and garage. The house wasn't the only place Gacy got rid of his victims though. Three bodies including that of Robert Piest were discovered in the Des Plains River where Gacy said he had begun dumping them because he was running out of room under his house and the digging had caused his back to begin bothering him.

John Wayne Gacy's trial began on February 6, 1980 in Chicago, Ill. His jury was comprised of seven men and five women listened to five weeks of testimony while the prosecution presented its case and the defense attempted to prove Gacy not guilty by reason of insanity. After two hours of deliberation the jury came back with a verdict of guilty and Gacy was sentenced to being executed by lethal injection. He was sent to the Menard Correctional Facility and was executed on May 10, 1994 after exhausting all attempts of an appeal. His story wasn't completely over though.

In 1998 during repairs to a parking lot located behind Gacy's mother's home, authorities found the remains of at least four more bodies leaving questions as to how many more Gacy may have actually murdered.

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