Jan. 10, 2021

John Wayne Gacy // Illinois // 45 // Part 3

John Wayne Gacy // Illinois // 45 // Part 3

John Wayne Gacy confessed everything to his lawyer and police obtained another search warrant for Gacy's home.  Bodies were discovered all over the house and he ended up being sentenced to death.  If you think the execution is the end of the story, you'd be wrong.  What if we told you, Gacy may have had accomplices?  Wouldn't that be interesting?

Drinking The Cool Aid



In part 2 of John Wayne Gacy, we began covering his torture and murders. Several boys that knew Gacy, just disappeared. At first, the police didn't believe Gacy was involved and he had no problem talking to them. The police got a search warrant and found some suspicious items in Gacy's home. From there, it all turned into a big game. Gacy loved toying with the detectives, inviting them over for drinks in his home, and going out to eat with them. He was definitely keeping his enemies close. Gacy thought he was outsmarting everyone, but the detectives that he invited into his home, smelled something that they were very familiar with.....rotting corpses. We are kicking this episode off, with Gacy's confession.


On the night of December 20th, Gacy went to his lawyers' office. They had scheduled a meeting to go over the progress of his civil suit. Gacy appeared disheveled when he arrived. He asked for alcohol and was given a bottle of whiskey. Gacy picked up a copy of the Daily Herald from the lawyer's desk, pointed to the front page article about the disappearance of Robert Piest and said, “This boy is dead, he's in the river.”

Gacy gave a confession that went on for hours and was still talking into the following morning. He said he had “been the judge...jury and executioner of many, many people.” He wanted to be the same for himself now. He talked about the murders, burying most of the victims in the crawl space, and throwing five bodies in the Des Plaines River. He called his victims: male prostitutes, hustlers, and liars and said he gave them, “the rope trick” and said sometimes he would wake up and find “dead, strangled kids” on his floor, with their hands cuffed behind their back. 

Gacy actually fell the fuck to sleep during his confession. The lawyer didn't call the police. He actually arranged for him to have an appointment with a psychiatrist at 9:00 AM. When Gacy woke up several hours later, his lawyer reminded him that he confessed to killing 30 people. Gacy said, “Well, I can't think about this right now. I've got things to do.” He decided to skip the appointment with the psychiatrist and dipped out.

Gacy knew his freedom was almost over. He wanted time to visit some friends and say goodbye. Gacy drove to a gas station to fill up the rental car and handed a small bag of cannabis to the attendant. The attendant handed the bag over to the surveillance officers and said Gacy told him, “The end is coming. These guys are going to kill me.” Gacy drove to the home of a contractor friend, Ronald Rhode. He hugged him and burst into tears, saying “I've been a bad boy. I killed thirty people, give or take a few.” He headed off to see Cram and Michael Rossi next. As he was on the expressway, the surveillance officers saw him holding a rosary to his chin and praying while he was driving.

Police allowed Gacy to drive around that morning to say his goodbyes. They were finishing up their formal draft for their second search warrant because they wanted to check out that crawl space they'd been hearing about. Eventually, the surveillance officers noticed that Gacy was becoming more erratic as the day went on and they were growing concerned that he may take his own life. Police decided to arrest him on a charge of possession and distribution of cannabis. At 4:30PM on December 21st, The warrant was granted. Police informed Gacy of their intentions to search the crawl space and Gacy denied burying a teen in there, but said he had killed a young man in self-defense and buried his body under his garage.

I'm not sure if he thought the police would be like, oh, we have no need to search the crawl space then. You're obviously telling the truth. When the officers arrived at Gacy's home, they found that Gacy had unplugged the sump pump and flooded the crawl space with water. The police were like, um ok then. They simply replaced the plug and waited for water to drain. Once it was cleared out, they sent a technician into the 28 by 38 foot crawl space and began digging. Within minutes, flesh and a human arm bone were uncovered. The technician shouted to the investigators that they could charge Gacy with murder and said, “I think this place is full of kids.” 

Gacy was informed that human remains were discovered in the crawl space and he would now be facing murder charges. He knew this was coming and said he'd like to clear the air. On December 22nd, with lawyers present, Gacy confessed to murdering approximately 30 young males and claimed they all willingly entered his home. He referred to some victims by name, but said he didn't know all of their names, but that they were teenage male runaways or prostitutes. Gacy said he dug five of the graves himself, but had his employees dug the remaining trenches. He had originally planned to conceal the victims better by covering the entire crawl space with concrete.

Police questioned Gacy about Robert Piest from the pharmacy. He confessed to luring him to his house and strangling him and said he slept next to his body before he disposed his corpse in the river. He HAD actually been in a minor car accident after he got rid of the body on his way to the police station, the time he was supposed to go there and showed up all muddy. Well, his vehicle slid off the icy road and had to be towed.

Twenty six bodies were discovered in Gacy's crawl space over the next weeks. The bodies were exhumed, placed in body bags and the bodies were given a number. Victims were discovered with cloths in their throats, ropes around their necks and some even had objects lodged in their pelvic regions, such as prescription bottles. Thirty bodies were discovered at Gacy's home. The house ended up being demolished in April of 1979.

Gacy went to trial February 6th, 1980 and was charged with 33 murders. He spent over 300 hours with doctors before the trial. They did psychological tests to make sure he was competent to stand trial. Gacy did attempt to convince doctors that he suffered from multiple personality disorder. He said he actually had four personalities. They were: 1) Hard-working, civic-minded contractor 2) the clown 3) the active politician 4) a policeman called Jack Hanley, who he referred to as Bad Jack.

Gacy explained that Bad Jack detested homosexuality and viewed male prostitutes as weak, stupid, and degraded scum. The lawyers had Gacy plead not guilty by reason of insanity. They presented a Jekyll and Hyde character and three experts testified that they found him to be paranoid schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder. The prosecutors were like, fuck off, Gacy's sane and has full control of his actions. They also found several witnesses to testify that it was all premeditated and Gacy put a lot of effort into his plans. Gacy's previous employees talked about how he made them dig trenches and spread bags of lime into the crawl space and said he would often look in the crawl space and check around to make sure the employees dug the trenches in the exact places he specified. Gacy's defense team suggested that all 33 deaths were accidents from erotic asphyxia.

Some of the surviving victims took the stand to testify. Jeffrey Rignall described the ordeal with Gacy and couldn't stop crying. During cross-examination about the torture, he actually threw up and had to be excused. Another victim, Donald Voorhees, briefly attempted to testify and was asked to step down. Robert Donnely also testified and was very distressed, but managed to tell his story. Gacy kept laughing at him during it.

During the fifth week of the trial, Gacy wrote a personal letter to the judge and requested a mistrial for the following reasons: He didn't approve his lawyer's insanity plea, he wasn't allowed to take the stand and he wanted to, his defense hadn't called enough medical witnesses, and the police were lying with regard to verbal statements he made to detectives after his arrest. The judge addressed the letter by informing Gacy that both counsels hadn't been denied the opportunity of funds to summon expert witnesses to testify and that, under the law, he had the choice to testify if he wished, and was free to indicate as much to the judge as he wanted to.

The defense urged the jury to deliver a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity and said they believed that Gacy was a danger to both himself and others and studying his psychology and behavior would be a benefit to science. 

The prosecution argued that this whole thing was really a sham and Gacy had the ability to think logically and control his actions. One of the doctors that examined Gacy back in 1968, concluded that he had an antisocial personality, capable of committing crimes without remorse and unlikely to benefit from social or psychiatric treatment. Perhaps, if this recommendation was taken more seriously at the time, none of these murders would have happened. 

During the closing argument, the prosecutor removed photos of the 22 identified victims from a display board and asked that the jury not show sympathy, but show justice. Then, he said, “Show the same sympathy this man showed when he took these lives and put them there!” As he shouted this, he threw the stack of photos into the opening of the trap door from Gacy's crawl space. It was on display as evidence in the courtroom.

It took the jury less than two hours and Gacy was found guilty of 33 charges of murder, he was also found guilty of sexual assault and taking indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced to death and his execution was set for June 2nd, 1980.

Gacy was on death row for 14 years. He did several interviews between 1979 and 1981 and collaborated with auther Tim Cahill to publish a book called Buried Dreams. There was an incident on February 15th, 1983, when Henry Brisbon, known as the I-57 killer, stabbed Gacy in the upper arm with a sharpened wire, but he was fine.

While Gacy was in his prison cell, he began to paint. He painted birds, skulls, and murders, but many of his paintings were clowns. He included himself in the clown paintings as Pogo or Patches. He had a series called “Hi Ho” that included Seven Dwarfs. He was allowed to earn money from selling his paintings and he claimed that his work was intended to bring joy int people's lives. I don't know about you, but I don't get the warm fuzzies from clown paintings or paintings of murders.....that came from a serial killer. Many of the paintings are displayed at different exhibits and some have been sold at auctions. The prices have ranged between $200 and $20k. 

Gacy spent a lot of his time reading law books over the years and filed several motions and appeals. He called out issues such as the validity of the first search warrant that the police were granted and his objection to his lawyers' insanity plea defense during the trial. He said he had some knowledge of five of the murders, but claimed the other 28 murders were committed by employees who had keys to his home and they killed people while he was away on business trips.

In 1984, the Supreme Court of Illinois upheld Gacy's conviction and ordered his execution by lethal injection and it was scheduled November 14th. Gacy tried filing an appeal and it was denied. On March 4th, 1985, Gacy filed a further post-conviction petition, to seek a new trial. His defense lawyer argued that Gacy had been provided ineffective legal counsel in his trial in 1980. The petition ended up being dismissed in 1986. Gacy appealed his execution and this was denied and a new execution date was set for January 11th, 1989. The final appeal was denied October 1993 and the official execution date was set for May 10th, 1994. 


On the morning of May 9th, 1994, Gacy was transferred from Menard Correctional Center to Statesville Correctional Center in Crest Hill for his execution. He was allowed to have a private picnic on the prison grounds with his family and for his last meal, he ordered a bucket of KFC, a dozen fried shrimp, fries, strawberries, and a diet Coke. That evening, Gacy prayed with a Catholic priest before he was executed. His final statement to his lawyer was that killing him would not compensate for the loss of others, and that the state was murdering him. His final spoken words were “Kiss my ass.” Afterwards, several family members of Gacy's victims, publicly burned several of his paintings.

Are you fucking ready for this part? After Gacy's death was confirmed, his brain was removed. It is in the possession of Helen Morrison, a witness for the defense at Gacy's trial. She interviewed Gacy and other serial killers to study common personality traits of violent sociopaths. Helen spent over 600 hours interviewing Gacy in prison and tried to find the motivation for raping and murdering at least 33 boys and young men. All while being able to function as a normal businessman. Unfortunately, there wasn't a conclusion from all of the interviews that were conducted. Helen said, “He didn't hate his mother. He didn't despise his father. He wasn't on drugs. I mean there was no human motive whatsoever.” 

John Douglas and his colleagues say that the clear motive is that the sexual assaults and murders gave him a sense of manipulation, domination and control of another human. That would have been thrilling, satisfying, and ego-reinforcing than anything else in Gacy's life.


This case is obviously horrendous and disgusting. One of the things that really bothers me is that all of the victims were assigned a number and for a long time, that's what they were called. They have names and it's important to remember that. Some of the victims still haven't been identified. I'm going to list all of the names and ages for the bodies listed as 1 through 33:

Body 1: Jon Steven Prestidge (20)

Body 2: John Butkovich (18)

Body 3: John Alan Szyc (19)

Body 4: Gregory John Godzik (17)

Body 5: Unidentified

Body 6: Samuel G. Dodd (14)

Body 7: Randall Wayne Reffett (15)

Body 8: Matthew Bowman (19)

Body 9: Timothy Jack McCoy (16)

Body 10: Unidentified

Body 11: Robert Winch (16)

Body 12: Tommy Joe Boling (20)

Body 13: Unidentified

Body 14: Michael Marino (14)

Body 15: Kenneth Ray Parker (16)

Body 16: Russell Lloyd Nelson (21)

Body 17: David Paul Talsma (19)

Body 18: Michael Bonnin (17)

Body 19: William George Bundy (19)

Body 20: John Antheney Mowery (19)

Body 21: Unidentified

Body 22: William Huey Carroll Jr. (16)

Body 23: Rick Louis Johnston (17)

Body 24: James Byron Haakenson (16)

Body 25: Robert Edward Gilroy Jr. (18)

Body 26: Unidentified

Body 27: William Wayne Kindred (19)

Body 28: Unidentified

Body 29: Darrell Julius Samson (18)

Body 30: Robert Jerome Piest (15)

Body 31: Timothy D. O'Rourke (20)

Body 32: Frank William Landingin (19)

Body 33: James Mazzara (20)

Now, what if I told you, that John Wayne Gacy, may not have actually killed of these people himself? Wouldn't that be an interesting twist in this whole thing?

There are two Chicago defense attorneys that just can't let things go and have been digging into this case because they don't believe that justice was fully serviced. They believe three accomplices may have participated in these crimes. Two of the accomplices are alive and one they refuse to identify. Attorneys, Robert Stephenson and Steven Becker believe it's actually impossible for Gacy to have acted alone in all of the murders and he certainly couldn't have done so in at least three of them. Also, when Gacy was originally brought in for questioning, he asked the police who else they had at the station and told them that were others involved.

Stephenson told WGN-TV, “There is significant evidence out there that suggest that not only did John Wayne Gacy not operate alone, he may not have been involved in some of the murders, and the fact that he was largely a copycat murderer.”

One of Gacy's victims that got away, says another man was present when Gacy raped him in the 1970s. Also, Gacy wasn't in Illinois when 16 of the victims vanished. Gacy mentioned this when he was in jail and he said he had accomplices. Investigators are taking this very seriously and believe there may be some truth tho this. The attorneys aren't just making claims, they have thoroughly researched this theory. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the attorneys found work and travel records that proves Gacy wasn't in Chicago when two of the disappearances occurred and he may not have had time to carry out a third crime as well.

One of the victims, Robert Gilroy, disappeared between 5PM and 6PM on September 15th, 1977. Gacy was out of town at this time. They have a copy of the airline ticket that shows he flew to Pittsburgh on September 12th and didn't return to Chicago until the night of the 16th. This is a full day after Robert Gilroy disappeared. 

The second case that doesn't make sense is the disappearance of Russell Nelson. He disappeared in October 1977 outside of a disco. A friend contacted the family, but later kept changing his story and even threatened Russell's mom for money in exchange for his help looking for her missing son. It would have been tough for Gacy to kidnap his victim outside of a busy bar, when the friend was supposedly with him the whole time.....but.....this friend has a link to Gacy. He worked for him.

The last one that doesn't seem to fit is the case of John Mowery who disappeared from Chicago on the evening of September 25th, 1977. Gacy was in Michican at 6AM the next morning and there are records of this because he was doing a contracting job. It would be highly unlikely that he would have enough time to commit the crime and get himself to this job on time. Another interesting fact is that Gacy typically used rope and boards to strangle his victims. Both Nelson and Gilroy, were suffocated with cloths in their mouths.

Investigators believe that Gacy may have been a copycat inspired by an earlier mass-murder case. Dean Corll, used accomplices, and they tortured, raped, and strangled 28 boys in the early 70's.

I'll tell you what I find to be very odd...Michael Rossi. This person lived with Gacy for a few years and went to clowning gigs with him. I think this would be someone to look very closely at. Most of Gacy's murders happened between 1976 and 1978. Michael moved into Gacy's home in 1976 and was there until April 1977. You can't tell me that Gacy was able to pull all of the murders off in the middle of the night while Michael was sleeping. Also, if you were able to prove that he only committed the murders when Michael wasn't at the house, how could you explain the smell of rotting corpses? Michael was living in the home during the winter months, they would have been running the heat and you can't hide that smell.

Gacy is often referred to as the killer clown. Many psychologists have studied this case and have different opinions or explanations pertaining to the personality traits of this killer. Some point out the poor relationship that Gacy had with his father when he was young, he was an alcoholic, and was bullied when he was in school. And what about the blow to his head when he was younger? This caused him to suffer from fainting spells. Psychoanalysts have suggested that by Gacy murdering young people, it's his subconscious expressing self-hatred for his own homosexuality. Earlier, I mentioned that Gacy's brain was extracted for examination. There were no abnormalities found. Nothing could explain his behavior by reviewing the brain. The medical examiner says that Gacy didn't comply with the psychological profile characteristics of a serial killer. They say he had the emotional structure of a child.

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