John Wayne Gacy

American serial killer (1942–1994) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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John Wayne Gacy (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, tortured, and murdered at least 33 young men and boys in Norwood Park Township, near Chicago, Illinois. He became known as the Killer Clown due to his public performances as a clown prior to the discovery of his crimes.

Quick facts: John Wayne Gacy, Born, Died, Other names...
John Wayne Gacy
Heavy-set man in front of brick wall, holding an identification plate
1978 mugshot of Gacy
Born(1942-03-17)March 17, 1942
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMay 10, 1994(1994-05-10) (aged 52)
Other namesThe Killer Clown
Criminal statusExecution by lethal injection
  • Marlynn Myers
    (m. 1964; div. 1969)
  • Carole Hoff
    (m. 1972; div. 1976)
Murder (33 counts)
Indecent liberties with a child
Deviate sexual assault
Span of crimes
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
December 21, 1978
Imprisoned atMenard Correctional Center

Gacy committed all of his murders in his ranch-style house. Typically, he would lure a victim to his home and dupe them into donning handcuffs on the pretext of demonstrating a magic trick. He would then rape and torture his captive before killing them by either asphyxiation or strangulation with a garrote. Twenty-six victims were buried in the crawl space of his home, and three were buried elsewhere on his property; four were discarded in the Des Plaines River.

Gacy had previously been convicted in 1968 of the sodomy of a teenage boy in Waterloo, Iowa, and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, but served eighteen months. He murdered his first victim in 1972, had murdered twice more by the end of 1975, and murdered at least thirty victims after his divorce from his second wife in 1976. The investigation into the disappearance of Des Plaines teenager Robert Piest led to Gacy's arrest on December 21, 1978.

His conviction for thirty-three murders (by one individual) then covered the most homicides in United States legal history. Gacy was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980. He was executed by lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994.