John Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist who took the lives of at least 33 young males in Cook County, Illinois, burying most under his home. Gacy had an abusive childhood and struggled with his sexuality. After being convicted of sexual assault in 1968, his murders were uncovered. Although he maintained his innocence, he was found guilty in 1980 and given multiple death penalty and life sentences. In 1994, he was executed by lethal injection.
Gacy, also known as the “Serial Killer Clown,” aka "pogo the clown"killed 33 boys and young men, the majority of whom had been buried under the house and garage. Others would be recovered from the nearby Des Plaines River. Gacy was a clown performer at children's parties; when he killed, he sometimes dressed as his alter ego "Pogo the Clown." He lured his victims with the promise of construction work, and then captured, sexually assaulted and eventually strangled most of them with rope.
Gacy and his siblings grew up with a drunken father who would beat the children with a razor strap if they were perceived to have misbehaved; his father physically assaulted Gacy's mother as well. Gacy's sister Karen would later say that the siblings learned to toughen up against the beatings, and that Gacy would not cry.Gacy suffered further alienation at school, unable to play with other children due to a congenital heart condition that was looked upon by his father as another failing. He later realized he was attracted to men, and experienced great turmoil over his sexuality.
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