To everyone who knew him, John Wayne Gacy seemed to be a personable and personable person. He was charming and easy-going enough, respected in his community, owner of a successful construction business, good Catholic, captain of his Democratic Party district, and active member of Jaycee. He organized street parties with his neighbors and friends and entertained the children in his Pogo the Clown costume. He was a kind, generous and hardworking person dedicated to his family and community. But he was also a psychopathic serial killer, whose horrible sexual perversions shocked a nation. Gacy was born on March 17, 1942, in a South Chicago, Illinois hospital to the midst of three children in a devout Catholic family. He attended a Catholic school and had a reputation for being a quiet boy. He was a Boy Scout and worked packing groceries and running a newspaper route to earn money. His childhood was completely normal except for a series of health problems and a difficult relationship with his father.
When Gacy was eleven years old, a swing hit him in the head and caused a clot in his brain that was not diagnosed until five years later. During this period, the boy suffered from fainting spells that were eventually treated with medication. At the age of seventeen, he was diagnosed with a heart problem that hospitalized him several times throughout his life. Later, when he was an older teenager, Gacy began to have difficulties with his father, who was an alcoholic and an abuser of his wife. The father also verbally abused Gacy and his sisters. Family problems interfered with Gacy’s school work, and he eventually dropped out of school and moved to Las Vegas, where he got a menial job that depressed him. Upon returning to Chicago, he enrolled in business school near a South Chicago hospital from which he later graduated. His salesmanship skills brought him increasingly lucrative jobs and respect from the community. He joined the Jaycees and became vice president, and was later named Man of the Year. When she was twenty-two, she married a co-worker whose parents owned a KFC franchise chain, and Gacy began working for them in an executive position. In addition to his hard work in his in-laws’ business, Gacy joined many volunteer organizations. He and his wife had two children and presented the image of a loving suburban middle class family.
However, rumors began to surface about Gacy’s sexual inclinations and in 1968 he was accused of committing sodomy with a teenager. The boy claimed that Gacy had tricked him into getting tied up, and then Gacy violently raped him. Gacy denied the charges, but four months later he was accused of hiring a thug to assault his accuser (the thug was caught and admitted to police that Gacy had hired him). Gacy was sent to prison for ten years and then his wife divorced him for infidelity. A model prisoner, he was released on parole after two years and moved with his mother to Chicago. Gacy remarried in 1972 and moved into a house in a quiet neighborhood near a hospital in Chicago’s southern suburbs. However, her neighbors complained of a horrible stench that seemed to emanate from under Gacy’s house. Gacy explained that it was caused by moisture build-up in a hallway under the house. Over the next several years, Gacy’s homosexual inclinations had become more obvious, and his new wife divorced him in 1975. Gacy was also experiencing violent mood swings. Then the disappearances of nine young men who had worked for Gacy’s hiring business in the late 1970s came to the attention of the police. Gacy’s suspicious behavior during questioning led to an investigation that revealed his past history, and led to a search of Gacy’s home and the discovery of bodies in the home’s driveway. Three days before Christmas 1978, detectives arrested Gacy, who admitted to murdering at least thirty children and burying the remains of most of them under his home. He explained that he would trick his victims into allowing themselves to be handcuffed, then rape them, and then kill them by strangling them while raping them. Finally thirty-two bodies of victims were found.