Gacy was a socialite and used to act as "Pogo the Clown" or "Patches the Clown" in children's hospitals and philanthropic events.
He would typically bring a victim to his house, trucking him into putting on handcuffs under the pretence of doing a magic trick, then he would rape and torture his victim before killing him by asphyxiation or strangulation with a wire or cord. Twenty-six victims were buried in his home's crawl area, when he ran out of space he buried three more victims elsewhere on his property. Four of them were thrown into the Des Plaines River.
In 1968, Gacy was found guilty of sodomizing a teenage boy in Waterloo, Iowa, and was sentenced to ten years in jail, but only served eighteen months. After his divorce from his second wife in 1976, he murdered at least thirty more people.
For years, the area of the house had a bad smell, but Gacy had told his houseguests and wife that it was due to moisture buildup in the area.
He murdered his first victim in 1972, twice more by the end of 1975, and at least thirty more by the end of 1976. Gacy was apprehended on December 21, 1978, after an inquiry into the disappearance of Des Plaines juvenile Robert Piest.
His conviction for thirty-three killings, by one person, at the time was the highest number of homicides in US legal history. On March 13, 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death.
He spent much of his time on death row at Menard Correctional Center painting. On May 10, 1994, he was put to death by lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center.
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