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Pogo the Killer Clown

Pogo the Clown a.k.a John Wayne Gacy

By C. FordPublished 4 years ago 5 min read

To his neighbors, he was an ordinary businessman who ran a construction firm and did part-time work as Pogo the clown entertaining kids. He lived and committed his evil deeds in Norwood Park township a Chicago suburb close to O’Hare Airport. Most who knew him said they liked him and never could have guessed at his secret life.

He often used his construction business to lure his victims who hoped to get a job. Other victims were abducted and most were sexual meetups that to him would be his victim’s final affair. His victims were men and teenage boys.

John Wayne Gacy one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, killed 33 people between 1972 and 1978. Gacy usually tricked his victims into becoming vulnerable to him in two ways; he would handcuff himself and like a magic trick, escape the cuffs and then would tell his victims to give it a try, but after handcuffing their hands behind their back he would reveal that he had the keys. He strangled his victims using another trick involving a rope around their necks. As early as 1975, Gacy was already on the authority’s radar after multiple teens from the area said that he would cruize around uptown. Police had seen young men come and go from Gacy’s home, but those that spoke had nothing bad to say about him.

In March of 1977, a man named Jeff Rignall claimed that Gacy had offered him marijuana and once he was in the car, Gacy then chloroformed and kidnapped him. Rignall woke in Gacy’s home handcuffed, where Gacy sexually assaulted him before letting him go. Rignall told police about the encounter but there was a hesitancy to investigate Gacy. According to Rignall, “They began to make me believe I was the crazy one, that he was quote-unquote a model citizen.” Gacy was charged with battery and had to pay $3,000 in a civil suit. Later in December of 1977, police arrested Gacy after a 19-year-old accused him of kidnapping and sexually assaulting him. However, the assistant states attorney never prosecuted Gacy because she claimed the young man consented to it.

On the night of December 11, 1978, Elizabeth Piest arrived at the Nisson pharmacy where her son worked to pick him up after his shift around 9 pm, but he told her to give him a few minutes while he talked to a man about getting a construction job that would pay double what he was making at now. Mrs. Piest waited but her son never returned. She filed a missing person report with the police just before 11:30 pm. The next day Des Plaines police lieutenant Joseph Kozenczak, began looking into the matter when he discovered that Gacy’s construction business had just finished a remodeling job with Nisson Pharmacy. Lieutenant Kozenczak asked Gacy to come into the precinct for questioning. Gacy returned the phone call around 11 PM and said that he could be there in 30 minutes. Kozenczak waited until 1 AM, he assumed Gacy wasn’t going to show up but Gacy did show up, at 3:20 AM on December 13, 1978, with mud on his clothing and shoes. He was told to return again later when Kozenczak would be in. Later in the day on December 13, Kozenczak questioned Gacy. He then produced a search warrant for Gacy’s home. While holding Gacy in a jail cell, police searched his home, during which they seized several items found in his home, although none are related to Piest. Authorities found one receipt that Robert Piest’s family say came from him and the cops believe that the 15-year-old was at Gacy’s home that night. He was released late at night on December 13, but two Des Plaines police officers, Michael Albrecht and Dave Hatchmister, began shadowing him 24/7. Gacy was aware of the surveillance and according to Albrecht he would sometimes joke referring to them as his bodyguards and even seemed to enjoy having the officers on his tail. Gacy even offered Albrecht and Hatchmister coffee and sometimes told them where he was going. Albrecht said in an interview that Gacy told him, “clowns can get away with murder.”

On December 15, 1977, there were two breaks in the case. Investigators identified a Maine West High School Class Ring, that belonged to John Szyc, who had gone missing two years earlier, in the items they took from Gacy’s house. And someone who worked for Gacy stated that two of their coworkers had also gone missing. On December 20th, Albrecht and Hatchmister tailed him when he paid a visit to his lawyer, Sam Amarante. Who would later say that Gacy confessed to him saying, “I’ve been the judge, jury, and executioner of many, many people.” Authorities believed Gacy to be a suicide risk at this point and arrested Gacy the following day for giving marijuana to an employee at a gas station. This arrest was made to prevent him from killing himself while they waited to get another search warrant.

That same day authorities learned what he had admitted to his lawyer, again a search warrant was used to enter Gacy’s house and this time officers pushed Gacy to tell them where Robert Piest’s body was, saying, they were ready to dig up his floors to find it. Gacy insisted Piest was not in the home. He finally conceited that he once had to kill a man in self-defense and he buried that body under his garage. Gacy even marked a spot for them where he wanted them to look. However, investigators found a trap door in his floor that led to the crawlspace below Gacy’s home. They first found evidence of three different bodies underneath. The search of Gacy’s home continued on for several days, where authorities would find 29 bodies, nearly all of them hidden within the crawlspace of the house. Gacy them gave a statement to authorities in which he confessed to 32 murders and explained how he murdered Robert Piest.

Gacy asserted that he had an alter ego named Jack Hanley, who performed his most horrible crimes. As body after body was recovered and identified, authorities had still not found Piest by early January, even though Gacy had already admitted to killing him. On January 4, they did discover Piest’s jacket in Gacy’s home after he had told them where to find it. Finally, in April 1979, Piest was identified as one of the bodies found in the Des Plaines River. Then four more victims were discovered in the river. Gacy said he had dumped them there from the I-55 Bridge, apparently because there was no longer room in his crawlspace. Gacy was officially convicted on January 8th, 1979 for seven murders as well as other felonies. On January 10th, Gacy pleaded not guilty. At a later date on April 23rd, 1979, he was convicted for 26 more murders, bringing the total to 33. His house was torn down on April 10th, 1979, and he spent the next fourteen years waiting on death row at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. Gacy’s death sentence was carried out on May 10th, 1994, he died at 12:58 in the morning, local time, after stating one last time that he was innocent.


About the Creator

C. Ford

Just a girl, trying to find her way in this creative word.

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