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PostExecution of John Wayne Gacy, May 10th, 1994 (David Duggan, USA, 05/10/19 1:35 pm)
For those who may not remember it, today is the 25th anniversary of the execution of John Wayne Gacy, still the all-time leader of serial killers with convictions of 33 murders, all young boys. The bodies of most of them were found in the crawl space of his Norwood Park home near the northwest side of Chicago.
Gacy was a world-class whack job with a history of sexual assaults beginning in the 1960s. Convicted of sodomy in Iowa, he was paroled after serving 18 months of a 10-year sentence. During his incarceration he became a prison trustee and had the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (or assessment), which concluded that Gacy had an "antisocial personality disorder (a disorder which incorporates constructs such as sociopathy and psychopathy), was unlikely to benefit from any therapy or medical treatment, and that his behavior pattern was likely to bring him into repeated conflict with society," per Wikipedia. Few truer words were ever written.
After returning to Illinois in the early 1970s, Gacy began his crime spree, picking up boys near the Newberry Library on Chicago's near-north side (at a park commonly referred to as "Bughouse Square"), and at local stores when he would place an ad for work for his contracting company. He was also involved in local politics as a Democratic precinct captain, and was photographed with Rosalynn Carter in 1978, the year of his arrest, after he had dispatched approximately 30 of his victims. How a convicted sex offender felon was allowed to be within groping distance of the First Lady has never been answered satisfactorily.
Gacy's December 1978 arrest took the Jonestown Massacre off the front pages for the rest of the year. His early 1980 trial was somewhat anticlimactic, as Gacy had confessed to most of the murders. His lawyers lodged an insanity defense, but in Illinois, the defense has the burden to prove "by clear and convincing evidence" that the defendant lacks the ability to understand right from wrong. The jury took less than two hours to find Gacy guilty of all charges, spawning the term "pizza verdict": the verdict is rendered before the pizza gets to the jury room.
Post conviction Gacy joined the Richard Speck prison-artists-society, painting clowns (another of Gacy's sidelines) which sold for sicko-value at prison art sales. According to a doctor friend who was a resident at Cook County Hospital, he also got special privileges when getting treatment for one of his frequent illnesses, better meals than the hospital slop, and a private room. Sadly, however in my view, they didn't strap Gacy's brain up to electrodes to create a baseline of evil, for later measurement against other sociopaths and psychopaths. Just think what could been done with others who had demonstrated early on anti-social tendencies (e.g., Ted Bundy), yet had not been adequately diagnosed. Regardless of what one thinks of the death penalty, if anyone deserved it, it was John Wayne Gacy.
John Wayne Gacy, rest in hell.
JE comments: Bundy, Gacy, Berkowitz: what was it about the 1970s that spawned so many serial killers? (I'm sure I'm overlooking several.) Today's DNA technology would probably make it impossible to continue killing for so long without getting caught. Sadly, today's mass murderers have a different modus operandi: the shooting rampage.