On December 21 1978 police searched the house of John Wayne Gacy, an Illinois local, in connection with a missing teenage boy. The police were shocked to find the remains of several young men in the crawl space beneath the house – 26 in all. Gacy admitted to the murders, together with several more, with police believing that he had murdered 33 or 34 victims.
John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17 1942 in Chicago Illinois. His family setting was highly dysfunctional and his drunken father regularly beat the children with a razor strap.
This violent upbringing was complicated by Gacy’s discovery that he was attracted to men and the combination of these two factors appeared to torment him for much of his life.
He developed a history of highly disturbed behaviour, including a string of sexual assaults against young men for which he was imprisoned in 1968. However in other ways Gacy appeared to be a good citizen, inventing and dressing as a character called Pogo the Clown, in which he entertained at charitable events and children’s hospitals.
But in the 1970’s his conduct took a marked turn for the worse, when he began murdering his victims, young men he had lured to his house.
The killings involved torture with shocked investigators uncovering a pattern of deviant sexual sadism that Gacy practiced. This included rape and strangulation, after Gacy had tricked his victims into donning handcuffs.
During his trial he claimed reduced responsibility due to multiple personality disorder, but this was rejected and he was found guilty of 33 charges of murder. He was sentenced to death but following numerous appeals spent the next 14 years on death row. However his execution by lethal injection finally occurred on May 10 1994. His final words were reported as “Kiss my ass”.