John Wayne Gacy murdered 33 young men and buried the bodies in the crawlspace of his suburban Chicago home

Mugshot of John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy murdered 33 young men and boys and buried them in his house. Pic credit: Des Plaines Police Dept.

This week Evil Lives Here looks at one of America’s most prolific serial killers John Wayne Gacy aka The Killer Clown. John Wayne Gacy was convicted of murdering 33 young men and boys throughout the 1970s.

Gacy’s neighbors saw him as a very ordinary individual who ran a construction firm during the day and had a side project playing Pogo the Clown at children’s parties and fundraising events. But he was leading a horrific secret life from his Chicago suburb.

At the same time, as engaging in charitable and political activities within his community, he was also performing a series of sadistic torture murders.

He often lured his victims through his construction business with the promise of employment. Other men, he enticed to his home for a homosexual liaison, he would then strangle or choke them to death. He buried the bodies in a crawl space under his house.

The police finally caught up with Gacy in 1978 after 15-year-old Robert Piest went missing from the pharmacy where he had worked. Gacy had been working on the pharmacy and was the last person to see Piest.

Police discovered a roll of film belonging to Piest at Gacy’s home. A second search revealed a body covered in lime in the house’s crawl space, at which point, Gacy confessed and told cops where he’d hidden other corpses.

There were 29 bodies hidden in John Wayne Gacy’s crawlspace

A total of 29 bodies were discovered at his home, and four more were found in a nearby river. The rotting corpses had caused the house to emit a foul stench for years, but Gacy had covered it up by telling house guests and his wife that the smell was the result of moisture buildup.

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At his trial, he pleaded insanity, which was backed up by several psychologists who diagnosed him as schizophrenic. However, a jury still found him guilty of murdering 33, and he was sentenced to death. He received a lethal injection in 1994.

His last meal included shrimp, KFC, and strawberries. Gacy showed no remorse at the end, and his last words were, “kiss my ass!”

More from Evil Lives Here.

Follow the links to read about more horrendous crimes profiled on Evil Lives Here.

Keith Jefferson, aka The Happy Face Killer, got his nickname because he would send letters to the media and police bragging about his crimes, and he would sign the letters with a smiley face sticker. He was convicted of killing eight women, but he claimed to have murdered many more.

Jack Spillman brutally murdered and mutilated two girls and a woman with such ferocity that he was called The Werewolf Butcher. He once told a cellmate that he hoped to be the “world’s greatest serial killer.”

Evil Lives Here airs Thursday, April 16 at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery. 

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