He was one of the cruelest and most calculated serial killers to have ever lived.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about John Wayne Gacy.
1. He murdered at least 33 people
John Wayne Gacy was convicted of the murders of 33 boys and young men and was sentenced to death for 12 of those. He was a sexually motivated serial killer and raped and tortured his victims before killing them.
One of the most astounding facts about John Wayne Gacy is that his conviction of 33 murders was the most that one person had ever committed at that time. Even more than other infamous serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.
2. He had a troubled childhood
A lot can be said about how people become serial killers, but there are usually triggers during a person’s lifetime. These events then evolve gradually leading up to the point that this person actually becomes a sadistic monster.
Unsurprisingly, most of these triggers happen during childhood, the most important period in life to define one’s personality.
So what happened during Gacy’s childhood that turned a child into a deplorable serial killer?
The answer lies in the fact that his father basically hated him. He was a little chubby, not very athletic, and basically not very manly. It went so far that his father yelled at him and beat him for no apparent reason.
His first memory as a child was his father beating him with a belt. The second was his father striking him across the head with a broomstick to the point he was knocked unconscious.
3. Gacy was probably a “Mama’s” boy
Because of the serious neglect and abuse he suffered from his father, John Stanley Gacy, an auto repair machinist, World War I veteran, and notorious alcoholic, the little john Wayne was drawn to his mother, Marion Elaine Robinson, and his two sisters.
This didn’t do him any good though because this allowed his father to insult him as being a “Mama’s boy” and “sissy who would probably grow up queer,” further traumatizing him in the process.
4. Did he fake an illness at school?
As a teenager, John Wayne Gacy was overweight and suffered from a heart condition. The doctor gave him the advice to avoid sports at all costs, another thing his father could insult him for.
His condition was so bad that he suffered numerous seizures during his high school years, as well as a burst appendix in the year 1957.
All in all, of the 4 years of high school between ages 14 and 18, he was only in school for a total of 1 year. The rest of the time he spent on hospital beds.
His father didn’t believe in his illness, which was remarkably never diagnosed, and accused him of faking it to avoid school. His friends, mother, and two sisters never doubted his illness though.
5. Gacy was involved in politics
He really needed to start doing something with his life, so he sought acceptance in an area that actually suited him, politics.
At the age of 18, he started working as an assistant precinct captain for a Democratic Party candidate in his neighborhood. It was a great experience for the young Gacy because he finally felt the kind of acceptance he never received from his father.
As expected, his father disliked his involvement in politics as well and accused him of being a “patsy.”
6. His first job was to work around corpses
The same year that Gacy got involved in politics for the Democratic Party in 1960, his father bought him a car. The car, however, remained in his father’s name until it was completely paid off.
Gacy used the car to briefly move to Las Vegas where he found a job that would awaken something sinister within him, a janitor in a mortuary.
Constantly being around dead bodies and watching the morticians work on the corpses gave Gacy the comfort he needed to handle his unfortunate victims in the future.
7. He confirmed that he was a necrophiliac
One of the most disturbing facts about John Wayne Gacy is that during this period as a janitor in the mortuary in Las Vegas, he actually indulged in necrophilia.
While working at the Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas, he later confessed that he actually committed two acts of necrophilia with two young deceased males and that he was able to justify his behavior by convincing himself that these were just “dead things” who “wouldn’t tall anybody.”
This was the first sign that something was seriously off with the 18-year-old John Wayne Gacy, showing all the signs of the deranged psychopath he actually was all along.
8. He got engaged even though he was gay
Despite his homosexual encounters with the deceased bodies of two young men, Gacy went back home in the early 1960s and acquired a degree in a business school.
He found a job as a salesman and was so good at his job that he was promoted to the local manager of the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company.
It’s during this successful period in his life that he courted and became engaged to his first wife, Marlynn Myers, a co-worker in the department he managed. they got married in September of 1964.
9. He became a KFC manager
Through his wife’s family, he eventually managed to get a job managing the 3 KFC restaurants that they just opened. He earned a lot of money with a yearly salary of $15,000 plus a share in the profits of the restaurants
This is the equivalent of nearly $120,000 today!
10. Everything changed when everything appeared to be great
Happily married, earning a huge salary, and most importantly, for the first time in his life gaining the respect of his father who allegedly apologized and mentioned “he was wrong about his son,” wasn’t enough for John Wayne Gacy to continue living a normal life.
Apart from joining the “Jaycees,” a business organization, and getting involved in many things he shouldn’t such as visiting prostitutes, watching pornography, and wife swapping, he also started seducing his male employees who were working at his KFC restaurants.
This behavior got out of hand and he eventually found himself convicted of sexual assault of the son of one of his friends at the Jaycees. This happened in August 1967 and he got indicted for the sodomy charge on May 10, 1968.
11. His first psychological examination revealed the true Gacy
Before his trial, Gacy was sent to a psychiatric institution to get an evaluation. over a period of 17 days, the specialists concluded that he had an antisocial personality disorder.
To make things even worse, they deemed it would be impossible to use medication or any other form of treatment to change the behavior of the individual, and that he would be a permanent threat to society.
In short, they simply concluded that he was a true psychopath, a disorder that simply can’t be cured.
12. He never saw his wife and children again
After these eye-opening evaluations, John Wayne Gacy was sentenced to 10 years in prison on December 3, 1968.
The same day, his wife filed for a divorce which was granted the following year. He never saw his first wife or his children ever again in his life.
13. Perhaps he should have stayed in prison
One of the most peculiar facts about john Wayne Gacy is that he actually thrives in a prison environment. His sense of order and organization skills serve him really well when he’s locked up.
This was also one of his major arguments to spare his life after he was sentenced to death for his heinous crimes later on.
14. The murders could have been prevented
One of the most astounding facts about John Wayne Gacy is that he was released after just 18 months into his 10 years prison sentence.
But there’s more!
When he continued with the same behavior as the one that landed him in prison in the first place in Chicago, his parole board in Iowa wasn’t notified when he was arrested yet again on February 12, 1971.
Clearly, committing the same crime as the one you were sentenced to 10 years in prison for, is a violation of your parole, right?
Because the parole board wasn’t notified and the boy he committed the assault against dropped the charges, Gacy was able to walk free and commit dozens of murders instead of spending the remaining of his 10-year sentence in prison!
15. Gacy was a successful business man
Just as the first brief period of success, history repeated itself shortly after he was released from prison. He found a job as a cook and simultaneously started his own contracting business.
His business, which was called “PDM Contracting,” soon became the main focus of Gacy and he ran it very successfully. He was able to quit his job as a cook and quickly built up the business to a business doing over $200,000 in yearly revenue.
16. He got arrested a week before his second marriage
And just as everything seemed to be normal and going in the right direction, his criminal behavior got the better of him.
A week before he was intended to get married to his second wife, Carole Hoff, on July 1, 1972, Gacy was arrested on the same charges he had been convicted of earlier, aggravated battery and reckless conduct.
17. He met First Lady Rosalyn Carter
During this period, he got involved in politics again as well, running for the same office as he held earlier and earning the title of precinct captain.
The year he got arrested, after committing dozens of murders already, he actually met with the First Lady at the time, Rosalyn Carter. She even signed a photo for him that said “To John Gacy. Best wishes. Rosalynn Carter”
Obviously, this was a serious embarrassment for the White House when the gravity of Gacy’s crimes became clear later that year.
18. He liked to dress up as a clown
The reason John Wayne Gacy has been referred to as “the killer clown” is that he actually loved to dress up as a clon and perform at fundraisers, in hospitals, and even children’s parties.
In 1975, Gacy joined a “Jolly Joker Clown Club” and created his own characters which he called “Pogo the Clown” and “Patches the Clown.”
There’s no wonder why some people develop coulrophobia (fear of clowns), right?
19. He played a trick on his victims
And no, this trick didn’t involve balloons or a water pistol as you would expect from a clown, but actually handcuffs.
After luring his victims to his house, he would mention that he wanted to perform a trick on the unsuspecting victim. He then quickly handcuffed the young man or boy with his hands behind his back.
When the victim asked about the trick, Gacy simply stated that “the trick is that you need to have the key.”
We can only imagine the fear these young people must have gone through when finding out they would be abused and murdered by this deranged psychopath!
20. The trick backfired one time in 1975
The trick didn’t always go as planned for Gacy because sometimes he wasn’t able to handcuff the victim fast enough.
When Gacy tried the trick on 15-year-old Anthony Antonucci in July 1975, that’s exactly what happened. He was also unaware that Antonucci was actually a wrestler in school so he was able to get the keys and actually put the handcuffs on Gacy.
Gacy was sleazy enough though to talk his way out of the situation, so Antonucci actually freed him and didn’t go to the police.
21. Did John Wayne Gacy have accomplices?
Another young man who worked for Gacy and was able to escape from being raped by him appeared to have done some unusual work for the serial killer.
David Cram confessed that he was hired by Gacy to dig some trenches beneath his house. He claimed that he was unaware that he was actually digging the graves of many of Gacy’s victims.
22. He murdered for the first time in 1972
The first known murder of John Wayne Gacy happened on January 2, 1972. The unfortunate victim’s name was “Timothy McCoy,” a boy he met after spending a day at a family party.
What’s remarkable about this murder isn’t just that it was his first confessed murder, but also that he used a knife to actually kill the boy.
One of the most chilling facts about John Wayne Gacy is that he later referred to this as “making too much of a mess,” which is the reason why he actually turned to suffocation using a garrote instead.
23. he was put under constant surveillance in 1978
After a murder spree of 6 years, he finally made a crucial mistake when he murdered a boy named Robert Piest on December 11, 1978.
The police were able to trace data back to Gacy as he had offered Robert Piest a job in his construction company. Because of this, he was put under constant surveillance.
Several weeks of constantly following Gacy’s every move resulted in his confession and subsequent arrest on December 22, 1978.
24. Police found 26 bodies in his crawl space
After Gacy’s arrest, he pointed investigators to the crawl space below his house, where they started digging for the remains of his victims.
It was a horrific experience, because every day, more and more victims were being discovered.
The counter eventually stopped at 26, a truly horrific number of young men and boys who Gacy buried after brutally murdering them.
25. Gacy was in denial before his execution
In one of his final interviews before his execution, he clearly is in complete denial and shows zero signs of remorse for his horrible crimes (not that we expect that from a psychopath though).
Just watch some footage of this astounding interview in the clip below:
26. These were John Wayne Gacy’s final words
To further emphasize the fact that he was a true psychopath (as if we need more reasons, right?), his final words weren’t very flattering as well. He simply stated:
Kiss My A**Final words of John Wayne Gacy
Gacy died by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.