Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17th

On this day in 1942 John Wayne Gacy Jr. was born in Chicago. Think you know the name but can’t place it? Need me to tell you who he was?

A successful business man. Manager of his first wife’s family’s KFC. Later owner of his own construction company. Involved in the Jaycees. Precinct captain of his local Democratic party. Parade organizer. All around good neighbor who threw fun block parties while dressed as a clown to entertain the kids. And one of the country’s most prolific serial killers. Ah now you recognize him.

While managing the chicken joint he was arrested and convicted of sodomizing one of his teenaged employees. Serving only 18 months of his 10 year sentence, he was released for good behavior. John Gacy returned to his childhood home to live with his mother and went about rebuilding his life.

First a contractor and then construction company owner, he managed to outbid competitors, often by hiring teenagers at lower wages. He remarried and went about successfully establishing himself in his neighborhood as a good guy.

But there were things that went unnoticed. While still on parole in Iowa, Gacy was picked up in Chicago for attempted rape and disorderly conduct. Charges were dropped when the young man failed to appear in court and somehow the fact that Gacy was on parole was missed by authorities.

In the early seventies Gacy was questioned when a few of his employees went missing. Questioned as someone who knew the boys and had seen them recently but not as a suspect. Again, his record never came out.

Finally a clerk in a pharmacy where Gacy was consulting, hoping to win a remodeling contract disappeared. The youth was to have interviewed with Gacy for a potential job. Police investigated, collected some evidence but ignored the rotting smell in Gacy’s home, dismissing it as a plumbing problem.

In examining a piece of evidence from Gacy’s residence the authorities discovered a ring belonging to one of the other teenagers who had disappeared. They returned and searched the premises again, this time checking the source of the stench more closely and finding bodies buried in the crawl space;

Before police could charge Gacy he confessed. To 25-30 murders of mostly teenaged boys, some prostitutes, some employees, some strangers, many raped and abused before being killed. During his confession Gacy said there were four Johns living within him. John the contractor. John the politician. John the clown, Pogo. And John who went by Jack Hanley who was a killer and did evil things.

All in all 26 bodies were recovered from Gacy’s property. Five more where found in a nearby river where he had dumped them. The jury didn’t buy the insanity plea, convicting him within two hours of beginning deliberation. He was sentenced to death in 1980, executed in 1994.

Just goes to show you clowns can’t be trusted. You never know what lurks behind the greasepaint.

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