A rich businessman from the Chicago suburbs named John Wayne Gacy moonlighted as a children's entertainer known as “Pogo the Clown” and “Patches the Clown.”
In March 1980, he was also convicted of murdering 33 boys and young men, making him the worst serial murderer in American history at the time.
Gacy's actions were unsettling for reasons other than the sheer number of victims.
It was the heinous method in which he conducted the murders: enticing children into his home, bound and raping them, strangling and burying them throughout his land.
Continue reading to know how John Wayne Gacy died!
Who Was John Wayne Gacy?
John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer and sex offender from Norwood Park Township, near Chicago, Illinois, who raped, tortured, and murdered at least 33 young men and boys.
Because of his public performances as a clown prior to the uncovering of his murders, he became known as the Killer Clown.
All of Gacy's murders took place in his ranch-style home. Typically, he would entice a victim to his home and deceive them into donning handcuffs under the guise of performing a magic trick.
He would then rape and torment his captives before killing them by asphyxiation or garrote strangling.
Twenty-six victims were buried in his home's crawl space, three were buried elsewhere on his property, and four were dumped in the Des Plaines River.
Gacy had previously been convicted in 1968 of a teenage boy's sodomy in Waterloo, Iowa, and was sentenced to ten years in jail, but only served eighteen months.
He murdered his first victim in 1972, twice more before the end of 1975, and at least thirty more after his divorce from his second wife in 1976.
Gacy was arrested on December 21, 1978, following an inquiry into the disappearance of Des Plaines adolescent Robert Piest.
His conviction for thirty-three murders (by one guy) at the time was the most in US legal history.
On March 13, 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death.
How Did John Wayne Gacy Die?
Gacy admitted to killing nearly two dozen individuals on December 22, 1978.
According to History, he was convicted of the 33 sex-related killings two years later and sentenced to death.
Despite being sentenced to death in 1980, he did not receive the fatal injection until 1994, when all of his appeals had been exhausted.
On May 10, 1994, he died at the Stateville Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois.
How Did John Wayne Gacy Kill His Victims?
Gacy would entice his victims back to his house, bribe them with alcohol or narcotics, and perform a “magic trick” with handcuffs.
He'd usually start by tying his own hand behind his back and releasing himself with a key he'd hidden, then encourage his victims to do the same.
Unfortunately, once confined, he would rape, torture, and murder his victims, usually by wrapping a rope tourniquet around their neck.
26 victims were buried in the crawl space beneath his house, which he filled with quicklime to hasten decomposition.
Three more were buried on the property, and four were dumped in the Des Plaines River.
How Was John Wayne Gacy Found?
The inquiry into the disappearance of Des Plaines teenager Robert Piest led to the arrest of John Gacy in December 1978 at his house at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue.
It was not uncommon for young teenagers to be labeled as runaways in the 1970s. However, Piest's absence from the Nisson Pharmacy where he worked, along with the fact that it was his mother's birthday on the same day, caused the most concern.
In addition, witnesses stated that he went to inquire about a job.
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An investigation was initiated after the police determined that Piest would not have gone away from home that day.
Gacy was identified as the contractor most likely to have discussed work with a young man, and a background check found his outstanding violence conviction as well as the prison sentence he'd previously served for sodomy.