John Wayne Gacy Essay, Research Paper
One of the most horrendous serial killers in modern history would have to be John Wayne Gacy, Jr. He was the second of three children and born in 1942. He lived in Chicago and attended catholic schools, and wasn’t a very popular boy in school. Gacy seemed to live a very normal childhood, with exception to his relationship with his father, and series of accidents that effected him. No one could have known what the future held for John, not even his father.
When Gacy was eleven years old, he was playing by a swing set, and was hit in the head by one of the swings. The accident caused a blood clot in little John’s brain. However, the blood clot was not discovered until he was 16. From the age of eleven to sixteen he suffered a series of blackouts caused by the clots; when given medicine, the clots disappeared along with the blackouts. At the age of seventeen, Gacy was diagnosed with a non-specific heart ailment. He was hospitalized on several occasions for his problem throughout his life, but they were not able to find an exact cause for his pain. However, although he complained about his heart(especially after his arrests) he never suffered a serious heart attack.
During Gacy’s late teens, he suffered some turmoil with his father, although the relations with his mother and sisters remained very strong. John’s father was an abusive alcoholic, who physically harmed his wife and verbally abused the children. Although, John, Sr. was an unpleasant individual, young Gacy deeply loved his father, and desperately wanted to gain his attention and devotion. Unfortunately, he was unable to get close to his father before he passed away. This was something that bothered John, Jr. for the rest of his life.
Gacy dropped out of high school and headed for the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada. He worked as a janitor at a local funeral parlor, doing various odd jobs. He tried desperately to earn enough money to return to Chicago. Soon, after he returned home from Las Vegas in the early 60’s, he enrolled himself in a business college and eventually graduated. While at Business College, he perfected the talent of salesmanship; Gacy was a born salesman who could talk his way out of almost anything. It was during this time that his health again took a turn for the worst.
He had gained a great deal of weight and began to suffer from his heart condition now more than ever. Soon after his hospitalization for his heart, he was hospitalized again for a spinal injury. His weight, heart, and back problems would plague Gacy for the rest of his life.
In September, 1964 met and married a co-worker named Marilyn Myers. Marilyn’s parents owned a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Gacy’s new father-in-law offered him a position in one of these franchises. Soon after this, John and his wife moved to Iowa. Life seemed to hold a lot of promise for Gacy at this time in his life. John worked tirelessly, performing many hours of community work for the local Jaycees. Gacy averaged 12 hours a day at this managerial position. It was there where he made most of his friends and spent most of his time. In Clifford L. Linedecker’s book, The Man who Killed Boys he quoted Charlie Hill, a Jaycee volunteer whom he knew well; “ He wanted to be very successful, and he wanted to be recognized by his peers. . . . [Gacy] Was always working on some project, he was devoted to the Jaycees. The club was his whole life.” However Gacy managed to find time for his wife when not busy working or volunteering.
Marilyn gave birth to a baby boy shortly after moving to Iowa. Soon after this, they enjoyed the birth of a daughter. The Gacy’s had every reason to be happy during their first years in Iowa. They had a nice home in the suburbs, and a loving healthy family. Marilyn enjoyed looking after the children, as John enjoyed his career and volunteer works. Everything seemed almost too good to be true . . .
Everything seemed to be looking good for John Wayne Gacy, Jr, yet his lucky streak wouldn’t last for very long. Rumors were spreading around town about Gacy’s sexual preferences. It seemed that young boys were always in Gacy’s presence. Whether it be at the restaurant or during community work. People close to him refused to believe the rumors until May of 1968, when rumors became truths.
In the spring of ’68 ,Gacy was indicted by a grand jury in Black Hawk County for allegedly committing sodomy on a young boy name Mark Miller. Miller told the courts that Gacy tricked him into being tied up while visiting Gacy’s home a year earlier. He also claimed Gacy violently raped him. Gacy denied the charges brought against him, and told a conflicting story. He stated that Miller willingly had sex with him for an extra amount of money. However, Miller’s weren’t the only charges Gacy would end up facing. Four months later, he was charge with hiring an 18-year-old boy to assault Mark Miller. Gacy offered Dwight Anderson $310 if he would carry out the beating. Anderson lured Miller to his car and drove him to a wooded area, where he sprayed mace in his eyes and began to beat him. Miller fought back and broke Anderson’s nose and managed to escape to safety. Soon after Miller called the police, the police apprehended Anderson. Anderson told officials of Gacy’s proposition. A judge ordered Gacy to undergo psychiatric evaluation at several mental health facilities to decide whether he was mentally competent to stand trial. Upon, evaluation, Gacy was found to be mentally competent. However, he was considered to be an antisocial personality and no medical facility could help him in any way. Soon after the health officials gave their report, Gacy pleaded guilty to sodomy. When the judge finally handed down the sentence, Gacy received the maximum time for such an offense, ten years at the Iowa Reformatory for men. John Wayne Gacy was 26 when he first entered prison. Shortly after he entered prison, his wife divorced him contending he broke their wedding vows.
While in prison, Gacy adhered to all of the rules and stayed far from trouble. He was a model prisoner, realizing the possibility of early parole if he remained non-violent and well behaved. Eighteen months later, Gacy’s hopes came true and his parole was approved. On June 8, 1970, he left the confines of the prison walls, and made his way home to his birthplace, Chicago. Soon after moving to Chicago, John got his life back on track again. He knew he couldn’t afford to let his past effect the future. The only thing that weighed Gacy down was the death of his father while he was in prison. Gacy went through serious bouts of depression because of this. Gacy moved in with his mother and started working as a chef in a local restaurant. He enjoyed this job and worked with much enthusiasm. After four months of living with his mother, he decided to move out on his own. His mother was so impressed with John’s progress that she helped him buy a home of his own. This was just outside of Chicago’s city limits. He owned half of the house sharing the remainder with his mother and sisters. Gacy was happy with his ranch style house, located in a family oriented neighborhood. He was quick to make friends with his new neighbors, Edward and Lily Grexa. They had lived in the neighborhood since it had been built. After only seven months, he was spending Christmas Eve with the Grexas, whom he shared dinner with his mother. The neighbors were soon good friends and spending free time in each other’s homes. The Grexas had no idea of his criminal past, or his time in jail. A little more than four months after Christmas dinner at the Gacy’s, he was charged with disorderly conduct. The charges stated that Gacy, who picked up a boy at the bus terminal, had forced the boy into sexual acts. Gacy had been officially discharged from parole only a few months earlier, and was already acting up. On June 1, 1972, Gacy married Carole Hoff. She was a newly divorced mother of two daughters. Gacy had romanced the woman who was in a state of emotional vulnerability, and she immediately fell for him. She was aware of his prison time, but thought he had changed for the better. The family soon settled in Gacy’s home. The couple maintained a close relationship with their neighbors, the Grexas, who were invited over for elaborate parties and barbeques. As flattered, as they were to receive invitations from their neighbors, they were always bothered by a stench that prevailed through the Gacy’s home. Lily Grexa was sure a rat had died beneath the floorboards of Gacy’s house and urged him to fix the problem. Yet it wasn’t a problem with the moisture under the floorboards. Gacy knew the real and more sinister cause for the stench, and kept it secret for years.
Although many friends, family, and neighbors complained about the strange smell from the Gacy’s house, it certainly didn’t stop them from attending his theme parties. On one occasion, more than 300 guests showed up to one of Gacy’s parties. Gacy thrived on the attention he got from people that heard of the parties. He liked to feel important. Carole and John had drifted apart by 1975, and their sex life had come to a halt. Gacy’s life became unpredictable. He would be in a good mood one day and be throwing furniture in a rage the next. He was hiring young boys to work for him in his new business and told people it was to keep costs down. But his homosexual desires and urge to inflict harm were slowly becoming more apparent to those around him, especially his wife. However, there was one thing that Carole was worried about. It was not only that Gacy showed no sexual interest in her, but also she began to find magazines that contained naked boys and men lying around her house. Gacy wouldn’t let his home life deter his pursuit of success. He wanted to be successful in politics. It was not long after he started pursuing this future; he was awarded a position with his democratic committee. He was assigned to cleaning up the Democratic Party. He also, impressed his boss when he would show up to different functions, dressed as “Pogo the Clown”. Late in 1975, Gacy was appointed to a new more prestigious position. However, his politics career was short lived, when more rumors about John and young men he worked with started circulating.
This is just a small portion of this sick man’s life, with his total death count reaching a whopping total of 30 people. He contended that these people were evil, and were trying to blackmail him. When police finally caught this sick man, they found many disgusting items that were used in his sexual tortures. A few items the found were, various pills, syringes, rubber dildos, homosexual literature, as well as explicit sex videos. The only thing Gacy was originally arrested for was possession of marijuana. Soon after his incarceration, the police were back at his residence. They wanted to search his crawl space beneath his house. He was quick to admit to killing one person in self-defense, and that the body was buried under his garage. They still felt it necessary to search the crawl space. Upon their search they discovered nearly 30 bodies that had been there a varying amount of time. The first killing had taken place in 1972, and currently the year was 1976. Upon conviction by authorities, Gacy was charged with the murder of 33 young men, and was sentenced to the death penalty. He was sent to Menard Correctional Center, where after years of appeals, he was killed by lethal injection.