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John Wayne Gacy: Inside The Mind of The Killer Clown (1999)
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John Wayne Gacy: Inside The Mind of The Killer Clown (1999)

Crime Stories

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John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942, in Chicago Illinois. According to the book Killer Clown, by Terry Sullivan and Peter Maiken, Gacy seemed to have a regular childhood with the exception of his turbulent relationship with his father, John Wayne Gacy Sr. The authors describe the father as an unpleasant, abusive alcoholic prone to physically and verbally assaulting his children. They describe Gacy as deeply loving his father and wanting desperately to gain his approval and attention, but failing to win him over. (Gacy Sr. died on Christmas Day 1965.)

After attending four high schools during his senior year and never graduating, Gacy dropped out of school and left Chicago for Las Vegas. While there, he worked part time as a janitor for Palm Mortuary. Unhappy in Vegas, he returned to Chicago a few months later.

During the early 1960’s, Gacy enrolled in a business college and developed a talent for salesmanship. A born salesman, he could talk his way in and out of practically any situation. Upon graduating, he went to work as a management trainee at Nunn Bush Shoe Co in downtown Chicago. He excelled in his position and within weeks was transferred to Springfield, Ill., to manage a men’s clothing outlet for the company, where he remained employed for nearly a year.

Shortly after his promotion, Gacy married into a wealthy family and relocated with his new bride to Waterloo, Iowa. In 1966, at the request of his father-in-law, Gacy took over management of the family’s chicken restaurant. Gacy quickly became a well-known and liked member of the community, according to later accounts in the Waterloo Courier.

However, all was not well with Gacy. The future serial killer would be arrested for the first time in 1968. The felony charge, attempting to coerce a male employee into homosexual acts, came as a big surprise to those who thought they knew this likable father of two infants, especially his wife of two years.

Gacy pled guilty to sodomy and was sentenced to 10 years in Iowa’s State Men’s Reformatory in Anamosa. His wife filed for divorce following the sentencing. Angered, Gacy informed her he did not want to see his children again and would henceforth consider her and the two kids dead.

After serving 18 months, Gacy was paroled in 1971 and moved back to Chicago. He went to work as a construction contractor and then started his own construction business. That July he remarried a recently divorced women he had met through mutual friends and, with financial assistance from his mother, moved into a house in Des Plaines, with financial help from his mother. In February 1971, Gacy again ran into trouble with the law. He was charged with the attempted rape of a young man. The charges were dropped when the victim failed to appear in court for the hearing.

Gacy had a talent for business. According to the Des Plaines Journal, he was known by local merchants as a sharp businessman, who would often undercut his business rivals’ contracts by hiring on a number of high-school age employees to cut his costs. His business grew.

Gacy spent part of his leisure time hosting elaborate street parties for friends and neighbors, dressing as a clown, and entertaining children at local hospitals. He also immersed himself in organizations such as the Jaycees and the local Democratic party. As a Democratic precinct captain he once had his picture taken with First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

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John Wayne Gacy Jr. @ Murderpedia

John Wayne Gacy Jr. @ Wikipedia

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