Criminal Minds Wiki

John Wayne Gacy

1,511pages on
this wiki
Real World Bio
John Wayne Gacy
Name John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Alias Pogo the Clown
The Killer Clown
Gender Male
Birth Date March 17, 1942
Place of Birth Chicago, IL
Date of Death May 10, 1994
Place of Death Crest Hill, IL
Job Numerous professions
Pathology Serial Killer
Serial Rapist
Modus Operandi Stabbing (first murder)
Asphyxiation (later)
Type Organized lust
No. of Victims 33+ killed
2 raped
Status Deceased (executed)

"The dead won't bother you, it's the living you have to worry about."

John Wayne Gacy, a.k.a. "The Killer Clown", was an American serial killer and rapist.



Gacy as Pogo the Clown.

Gacy was raised by an abusive, alcoholic father, who referred to him as "sissy", and a passive mother. He was close to his sisters and his mother, who called him "Johnny". After attending four different high schools, Gacy dropped out before completing his senior year and left his family, heading west. After running out of money in Las Vegas, Nevada, he worked long enough to earn money to travel back home to Chicago. Without returning to high school, he enrolled in and eventually graduated from Northwestern Business College. A management trainee position with the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company followed shortly after graduation, and in 1964, Gacy was transferred to Springfield, Illinois. There he met coworker Marlynn Myers, and they married in September 1964. He became active in local Springfield organizations, joining the Jaycees and rising to vice-president of the Springfield chapter by 1965. Gacy would later become involved in political activism, construction, and several other fields, all the while racking up minor criminal charges. In 1975, Gacy created the character "Pogo the Clown", which he used to support himself. His habit of wearing the costume at charity events and parties later led to him being nicknamed the "Killer Clown". During this time, his involvement in politics eventually landed him clearance by the U.S. Secret Service. Shortly thereafter, he would begin his murders. He started with a young juvenile named Tim McCoy, whom he allegedly killed in self defense. He soon murdered a co-worker name John Butkovich. After many years of murdering, Gacy was eventually apprehended in Des Plaines following the disappearance of 15-year-old Robert Piest who was last seen with Gacy, police had obtained a search warrant to search Gacy's home where they discovered a powerful odor and numerous items belonging to other missing young men.

Authorities then suspected Gacy of murder and would soon obtain a second search warrant. The second search would target the crawlspace in which police ripped up the floorboards and began to dig into the earth of the crawlspace. During the search, police found human bones buried in the soil of the crawlspace and, at that point, they placed Gacy under arrest for murder. Gacy would admit to 25-30 murders in the 1970s. When police searched his home, the remains of at least 29 people were found buried in various places. The other remaining victims were found in the Des Plaines River. During his trial, and in order to lessen his sentence, Gacy began telling officials and prosecutors that he had an alter-ego personality named Jack, who was responsible for the murders. Psychiatric evaluation proved the claim to be false. Later on in an interview on Death Row shortly before his execution, Gacy claimed himself to be the 34th victim as he was innocent and had no involvement with the murders and subsequent burials. Gacy claimed that his employees set him up. This proved to be false as he had already claimed responsibility for the murders of the young men years prior. It is reported that Gacy killed 33 young men between 1972 and 1978. He is also known to have raped two males of the same age, one in 1968 and one in May, 1978, both of whom were left alive. The nine unidentified victims were all buried in individual graves with headstones reading "We Are Remembered". Gacy was later found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to execution by lethal injection at Stateville Prison in Crest Hill, IL on May 10, 1994. When asked whether he had any last words during his execution, he reportedly snarled, "Kiss my ass." He was then executed.

Modus OperandiEdit

According to Gacy's confession to the police, he would pick up male teenage runaways or male prostitutes from the Chicago Greyhound Bus station or off the streets, take them back to his house by either promising them money for sex, offering them a job with his construction company, or simply grabbing them by force. Once they got back to his house, he would handcuff them or tie them up in another way after intoxicating them with alcohol or another drug. One of his most infamous ways of binding his victims was convincing them to allow him to handcuff them under the pretense that it was part of a magic trick. Gacy would often stick clothing (even their own underwear) in their mouths to muffle their screams. After this, he would choke them with a rope or a board as he sexually assaulted them, then bury the bodies in his crawlspace. Periodically, Gacy would pour quicklime in the crawlspace to hasten the decomposition of the bodies. Three victims were disposed of off the property by being dropped into the Des Plaines River.

Known VictimsEdit


Twelve of Gacy's identified victims. From top to bottom:
John Butkovitch, 17
John Szyc, 19
Randall Reffett, 15
John Mowery, 19
Sam Stapleton, 14
Rick Johnson, 17
William Carroll, 16
Matthew Bowman, 19
Russell Nelson, 21
Darrell Sampson, 18
Gregory Godzik, 17
Robert Piest, 15

  • May 1968: Mark Miller, 16 (was tied up and forcibly sodomized, but not killed)
  • January 3, 1972: Timothy McCoy, 15 (stabbed four times in the chest)
  • January 1974: An unidentified victim, 14-18
  • July 29, 1975: John Butkovich, 17 (fatally strangled)
  • 1976:
    • April 6: Darrell Sampson, 18 (was raped and tortured first)
    • May 14:
      • Randall Reffett, 15
      • Sam Stapleton, 14
    • June 3: Michael Bonnin, 17
    • June 13: William Carroll, 16 (raped, then fatally strangled)
    • August 6: Rick Johnston, 17 (fatally strangled)
    • October 24: An unidentified victim, 14
    • October 25: Kenneth Parker, 16
    • October 26: William Bundy, 19
    • December 12: Gregory Godzik, 17
  • 1977:
    • January 20: John Szyc, 19
    • March 15: Jon Prestidge, 20
    • July 5: Matthew Bowman, 19 (strangled with a piece of string)
    • September 15: Robert Gilroy, 18
    • September 25: John Mowery, 19
    • October 17: Russell Nelson, 21 (suffocated)
    • November 10: Robert Winch, 16
    • November 18: Tommy Boling, 20
    • December 9: David Talsma, 19
  • 1978:
    • February 16: William Kindred, 19
    • May 22: Jeffrey Ringall (drugged, raped and tortured, but not killed)
    • June: Timothy O'Rourke, 20
    • November 4: Frank Landingin, 19 (shoved his own underwear down his throat, choking him)
    • November 24: James Mazzara, 21
    • December 11: Robert Piest, 15 (crushed his neck with rope)
  • At least six other additional unidentified victims:
    • A male who died between June 13-August 6, 1976, aged 22-30
    • A male who died between June 13-August 6, 1976, aged 15-19
    • A male who died between August 6-October 5, 1976, aged 17-21
    • A male who died between August 6-October 24, 1976, aged 21-27
    • A male who died between December 1976-March 15, 1977, aged 22-32
    • A male who died between March 15-July 5, 1977, aged 17-21

On Criminal Minds Edit

Gacy is first mentioned on Criminal Minds in the episode "Natural Born Killer", when Morgan states the current unsub has more than triple Gacy's confirmed body count. Three seasons later, in "The Angel Maker", Gacy prison paintings are brought up by Garcia, who is combing through websites known for selling serial killer memorabilia. During a lecture (which Reid is attending) in "Outfoxed", neuroscientist James Fallon mentions Gacy was one of five violent sociopaths (the others being Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Charles Manson, and Dennis Rader) whose brain patterns he has studied. In the novel Killer Profile, copycat Daniel Dryden partially mimicked Gacy for one is his murders, and disposed of the victim in Gacy's abandoned house, where an employee of the gas company discovered it. Gacy was also mentioned in "The Angel Maker" when Garcia looks at an online murderabilia market site and becomes creeped out by clown paintings Gacy made on death row. In the episode "Damaged", the team pursues a clown guilty of killing a young couple more than twenty years before. In one of the final scenes, behind Prentiss's head, a billboard section is shown, and the only letters visible are "GACY". The small detail is hard to catch, but subconsciously makes one think of the Gacy case. In "Profiling 101", Gacy's mugshot is among many mugshots featured in a montage shown by the BAU during a special guest-lecture to a Criminology class.

J.B. Allen, the unsub of "Foundation", also appears to have some basis in Gacy. Both were serial killers and rapists who owned construction companies, which they used in some way to entice their victims (Gacy offered his victims jobs at his, Allen would approach boys who watched the construction work at his), and both also buried their victims on some property they owned. Gacy, along with Robert Berdella, also seems to have been the inspiration for Adam Jackson, the unsub of "Conflicted". All three were abused by their fathers (Gacy and Berdella were abused by their fathers; Adam was abused by his stepfather) and targeted the same type of victims (teenage boys and young men), whom they would lure, rape, and kill by asphyxiation.

Notes Edit

  • In 2012, one of Gacy's victims, Michael Marino, who was originally identified by dental records, turned out to have been misidentified when a DNA test was run. As such, another one of Gacy's victims is unidentified.


Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki