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John Wayne Gacy Trial: 1980 - Gacy Confesses, Trial Focuses On Gacy's Sanity

boy robert disappearance home

Defendant: John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Crimes Charged: Murder, murder during the commission of a felony, aggravated kidnapping, deviate sexual assault, indecent liberties with a minor
Chief Defense Lawyers: Sam Amirante, Robert Morra
Chief Prosecutors: William Kunkle, Robert Egan, Terry Sullivan
Judge: Louis B. Garripo
Place: Cook County, Illinois
Date of Trial: February 6-March 12, 1980
Verdict: Guilty

SIGNIFICANCE: John Wayne Gacy was convicted of more murders than any other serial killer. His case focussed attention on the vexing question of the sanity or mental state of sadistic serial killers.

John Wayne Gacy was arrested on December 22, 1978 in connection with the disappearance of a 15-year old boy, Robert Piest. Gacy was 36 years old, twice divorced, and living in a modest suburban home in Des Plaines, Illinois. He was quite well known in his community, liked by his neighbors, and remembered for his performances in clown costume at children's parties. He was active in local politics and had been recognized for his leadership in the Jaycees. He ran his own successful small construction company, specializing in remodeling. Gacy was quickly linked to the disappearance of Robert Piest because immediately before he was last seen the boy had told his mother that he was going to Gacy's home to talk about a summer job. However, this was not Gacy's first arrest, nor was it the first time that he had been a suspect in the disappearance of young men.

In 1968 Gacy had been convicted of sodomy in Iowa, based on the accusations of two teenage boys. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released on parole in June 1970 and soon returned to the Chicago area where he had grown up. In February 1971 he was arrested after a teenage boy charged that Gacy had forced him to commit sexual acts, but the charges were dropped after the boy failed to appear in court. In August 1975 and again in December 1976, Chicago police questioned Gacy following the disappearances of two young men. The remains of both of them were among those subsequently discovered under Gacy's home. In December 1977 two young men accused Gacy of kidnapping and rape, but charges were not filed.

Jurek v. Texas - Significance, Action And Reaction, Constitutional Infringement?, Impact, Types Of Capital Punishment, Further Readings [next] [back] Joan Little Trial: 1975 - Sexual Advance Prompts Killing, A Quick Acquittal

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over 7 years ago

Don't forget the under the bridge near his house

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over 10 years ago

yes. but originally no one knew about it. and then all four wanted out when they realized the extent of the murders and the number of people were actually under the crawlspace, the drive way, or even his garage.

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almost 11 years ago

he had 4 John the contractor, John the clown, and John the politician. The fourth person went by the name of Jack Hanley.

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about 11 years ago

I was wondering if Gacy had any aliases?, and if he did who were they?