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John Wayne Gacy
Transcript of John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy: A History
Childhood and Life
Born: March 17th 1942
Died: May 10th, 1994
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Occupation: Frequent job changes, notably a self-made building contractor
Marital Status: married twice (Marlynn Myers, Carole Hofgren); had two children (Micheal Gacy, Christine Gacy), and two stepchildren
- Son of middle class Danish and Polish parents (Marion Elaine Robinson and John Stanley Gacy)
- He had a childhood accident when he was 11 and got hit by a swing creating a blood clot in his brain which was not noticed until he had black outs at sixteen; he was then given medication
- This along with his heart disease made it difficult for him participate in school activities including sports
- When he was 9, a family friend who was a contractor took him on truck rides, and molested and fondled him, but Gacy never told anyone
- He hero-worshipped his father despite his abusive, alcoholic, violent, and homophobic tendencies
- His father would beat the children with a razor strap if he BELIEVED they (Gacy and his two sisters) misbehaved, meaning sometimes for no reason. The children had learned to not cry.
- Gacy’s interests were in gardening, cooking, and baking (making sense, since he could not do much physical activity) BUT his father was upset, and called him “sissy”, “mama’s boy”, “queer”, etc.
- With Gacy’s health conditions, a burst appendix hospitalized him, but his father would just claim he wanted sympathy
- He dropped out of high school after failing many times, but found his success in business at Northwestern Business College
- He briefly was involved in the Democratic Party in his neighborhood but didn’t follow through; he did say the reason at first was to gain the acceptance he didn’t get from his father who, when Gacy was now 18, continued to call his foul names
- While he was working as a mortuary attendant, he confessed to climbing into the coffin of a deceased teenage male, and hugged the body until he was hit with shock
- Married into the wealthy family of Marlynn Myers, and was offered a job at KFC as a manager he was a franchise owner of KFC and more serious offenses began (to be discussed later)
- He participated in very many community organizations like Jaycees
John Wayne Gacy: A Profile
JWG: Crimes Observed (i)
Hierarchy of Crimes
1. Sexual harassment
However, Gacy is known as a serial rapist and serial killer
2. Non-Fatal Rape
3. Rape + Murder
His luring process was somewhat similar each time with money or a contracting work
His killing techniques varied, 13 victims died from asphyxiation, 6 of ligature strangulation, 1 with multiple stab wounds to the chest, 10 is unknown or a combination
Special “Rope Trick” where he strangled the victims with a tourniquet
He called it “doubles” when he killed two victims in one night, kept them under his bed for 24 hours and put a plastic bag over their head if they were bleeding
JWG: Crimes Observed (ii)
Study: Victim #1
Mark told court that Gacy tricked him into being tied up at Gacy’s house and raped him.
Gacy defended himself by saying that Miller willingly had sex with him for money and that Jaycee members against his campaign were trying to set him up.
Few months later: Dwight Andersson was paid three hundred dollars to lure Miller to his car, drive him out of town, and spray mace in his eyes before beating him.
Miller fought back, breaking Andersson’s nose and running to safety.
Andersson was arrested and told the police about Gacy hiring him.
10 year sentence, but Gacy behaves well and get parole in 18 months.
Wife has at this point divorced Gacy.
Gacy moves back to Chicago.
JWG: Crimes Observed (iii)
Sentences and Deaths
Initially in 1968 for his sexual harassment
Convicted for sodomy, sentenced to 10 years at Anamosa State Penitentiary
February 6th, 1980
Charged for 33 murders, sexual assault, taking indecent liberties with a child (referring to Robert Piest in particular)
Attempted to convince psychologists that he was suffering from dissociative personality disorder but actually wasn’t
Jury deliberated for less than two hours, verdict 12 counts of murder, given the death sentence
Death row for 14 years in Menard Correctional Centre, to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, and was executed with a lethal injection
Reported his final words were “Kiss my ass”
1 One is influenced by their personal interests, medications, and their upbringing.
Observe Gacy's childhood
Not popular at school and thus had few friends: first signs of that he would later diagnosed as antisocial in a psychiatrist test
Hit by a swing in head leading to blood clot in brain. Unnoticed for five years until black outs at sixteen. Medicated.
Possible trauma to brain causing serious problems. Strong medication used, could also have influenced brain.
Variety of health issues, including heart problems that couldn't be specifically diagnosed.
Father was abusive and an alcoholic, who abused Gacy's mother physically. Gacy's father also abused Gacy and his sisters verbally.
Gacy admired his father despite this, and his greatest regret was never being able to be close with his father.
Furthermore, molested at nine by a family friend.
= Traumatic events impacted Gacy's brain negatively, causing further issues.
2 What do you do with your time--what are you motivated to do?
Gacy committed horrible crimes in his community
but at the same time
Was extremely involved in his society, having joined several organizations simultaneously.
Psychological Perspective Continued
With all these stressors in his life, being antisocial, having long term damage to his brain, taking a variety of medication, being generally unhealthy, having trouble with his sexuality, and dealing with conflicting thoughts, psychologists are clearly able to explain Gacy’s actions.
View of Gacy really transformed
At first, seemed nice: Hosted street parties, dressed up as a clown for children at hospitals, and participating in the Jaycees charity organization
People thought he was generous, friendly, hard-working and loving to family and community
People did notice weird smells coming from his house which he said was moisture build up
As quickly as they liked him, it was as quick as they hated him
Think about the amount of victims, how brutal they were treated, what their future was
Over 1000 gathered outside to witness the execution
Wearing t-shirts like “No Tears for the Clown” and having posters
Gacy liked to paint in jail and his paintings were auctioned; many bought for a public bonfire attended by approx. 300 people including victim’s family members
Media created films like To Catch a Killer, Gacy, books like: 29 below, The Chicago Killer, The Last Victim, The Man Who Killed Boys, etc. all bold commentary on Gacy’s actions.
With Gacy’s case in mind, the Missing Child Recovery Act of 1984 was created, eliminating the 72-hour wait period before police take action for a missing child.
John Wayne Gacy: Concluded
Now we will pass around some photos related to John Gacy’s crimes to remind everyone that while we will discuss the possible reasons as to why Gacy had become the way he did through his childhood and society, it does not justify his actions; he is still a brutal murderer.
Significant or well-known were:
Steven Soden (body found in Burlington 1999, DNA taken from sister, found match in Dec 2012)
15 year old Piest from Des Plaines high school disappeared from the pharmacy that Gacy had just remodeled
Gregory Godzik and John Butkovich disappeared (workers of Gacy)
Timothy McCoy, 18, January 3, 1972
John Butkovitch, 17, July 21, 1975
Darrell Sampson, 18, April 6, 1976
Randall Reffett, 15, May 14, 1976
Sam Stapleton, 14, May 14, 1976
Michael Bonnin, 17, June 3, 1976
William Carroll, 16, June 13, 1976
Rick Johnston, 17, August 6, 1976
Kenneth Parker, 16, October 25, 1976
Michael Marino, 14, October 25, 1976
Gregory Godzik, 17, December 12, 1976
John Szyc, 19, January 20, 1977
Jon Prestidge, 20, March 15, 1977
Matthew Bowman, 19, July 5, 1977
Robert Gilroy, 18, September 15, 1977
John Mowery, 19, September 25, 1977
Russell Nelson, 21, October 17, 1977
Robert Winch, 16, November 10, 1977
Tommy Boling, 20, November 18, 1977
David Talsma, 19, December 9, 1977
William Kindred, 19, February 16, 1978
Timothy O'Rourke, 20, June 1978
Frank Landingin, 19, November 4, 1978
James Mazzara, 21, November 24, 1978
Robert Piest, 15, December 11, 1978
Police discovered a total of thirty-three bodies in Gacy’s property and in the nearby area. Gacy’s trial began on February 6, 1980. Gacy was found guilty after a short trial and sentenced to death by lethal injection. On May 10, 1994, after a failed appeal, he was executed, ending a criminal legacy that horrified the nation. Please remember that though Gacy has died but his crimes still live: people are still haunted with the memory of
John Wayne Gacy, one of America’s worst serial killers and rapists
The family is the most important agent of socialization
Failure of school and peer group socialization
Copy Cat Aggression
Modeling Theory + Media
- brings what’s unrealistic to seemingly reality
Total Institution: Prison Fails
The Sociological Perspective
- viewing the downhill of Gacy's socialization
Examining the sociological perspective, we believe Gacy’s actions were affected by his direct influences; his family, friends, and the media as well.
Patterns in Mass Killers
1. A huge influence was his father whom he idolized. An abusive, alcoholic, homophobic father whom made fun of him consistently. He had a good relationship with his sisters and mother.
- Clearly, no aggression towards women BUT, his father targeted Gacy, a teenage boy from a young age all the way to his 20’s, coincidentally or not so coincidentally the age of Gacy’s victims, all males as well. Because of his father, the abuse specifically towards males must’ve became considered “normal” for Gacy
- Learned to toughen up to the abuse, clearly now accepting this as the world’s reality
- His father’s homophobia likely caused Gacy to ignore his homosexual calls, causing him to be sexually confused, believing that men had to marry women in society, hence he did, but he still liked men (causing his gay pornography, crimes on boys, divorces).
2. A family friend molested him at a young vulnerable age of 9
- A trusted family friend’s repeated actions would lead Gacy to believe these inappropriate actions were “normal” and exposed Gacy to sexual abuse (which his father did not)
[When people see aggression and violence sanctioned, they are more likely to repeat the behavior themselves]
[Emile Durkheim’s Anomie theory states that when rules on how people ought to behave with each other are confused, unclear or not present, deviant behavior occurs]
- Seeing the abuse by his father multiple times, it is now “okay” and “accepted” by his family
- His family friend’s doings that he knew was wrong had no consequences in this scenario, which registered that it was “okay” and “accepted” for this to happen too
Plagued with diseases (heart disease, blackouts, burst appendix), the larger-framed and unathletic Gacy was a perfect target for bullying at school and hence placed more reliance on his father as an influence but he also was a bully to Gacy anyways
- Chose to “suffer in silence”, hence having a low self-esteem in which he did submissive actions
[According to Albert Bandura who revealed children who watched an adult exhibit violent behaviour imitated that behavior immediately when given the opportunity]
- When Gacy grew up and became more popular, he likely felt that now it was his turn to be in charge and others should be submissive to him and allow his assault and abuse. (evident in his way he abused his authority as the KFC and PDM construction owner)
[Modeling theory states that humans learn violence by observing it in other forms
1. Gay pornography was involved in Gacy’s life and as sociologists believe, it must’ve promoted unhealthy values and negative stereotypes and increased aggression and violence
- Rather than putting out his sexual desires, it arouses him and this likely makes him commit more crimes that he did and cruelly, maybe from techniques he observed in the videos
2. Gacy has stated that the two-by-four that he built in his house for manacling his victims was inspired after reading about the Houston Mass Murders
(Another set of terrible serial killings)
- The intention is to wipe out all prior socialization that caused the crime to be committed but clearly that failed with Gacy, as he got worse, from harassment to murder
- He was also let out early for good behavior (during his first arrest), giving Gacy the idea the prison is not as bad and taking it lightly
Mass killers display a number of common characteristics:
- loner with few friends
- broken families (violence major role + abuse) => family may be legally connected through marriage, but with his father’s abuse, it is definitely not, it was like the nuclear family brokedown, he did not obtain the love and care of a fatherly figure
- frustration/anger (difficulty dealing with emotions)
Thus, with environments like prisons, school, and home where his immediate influences such as family, friends, and media socialized Gacy corruptly; sociology can clearly describe how Gacy’s terrifying actions were a reflection the surroundings around him.
Stresses the importance of love and proper nurturing for appropriate development.
Gacy's childhood, which was riddled with abuse, molestation, illness, and a lack of love from the man he admired the most (his father), demonstrates a lack of this appropriate environment.
Harry Harlow: Human Attachment Theory
Divides mind into
ID: seeks pleasure and avoids pain
Superego: strives to do what is morally right
Battle between ID and Superego: What is right? What feels good?
Desires to please himself, but also to be morally correct?
Further demonstration of Gacy's struggle with his conflicting morals is seen through:
Attempting to pretend to have Dissociative Personality Disorder
Using his Pogo the Clown costume when performing these horrible acts on his victims.
Using this guise, Gacy attempts to disassociate himself , the kind hard working and helpful civilian, from the sick pedophile.