By Obinna Odenigbo
As a child, John Gacy was both overweight and nonathletic. And while he was close to his two sisters and mother, Gacy endured a difficult relationship with his father who was an alcoholic. His dad was also physically abusive toward both his wife and children.
Throughout his childhood, Gacy strove to make his father proud of him, but seldom received his approval. One of Gacy’s earliest childhood memories was of being beaten with a leather belt by his father at the age of 4 for accidentally disarranging the car engine components his father had assembled.
On one occasion when he was 6 years old, Gacy stole a toy truck from a neighbourhood store: his mother made him walk back to the store, return the toy and apologize to the owners. When his mother told his father what Gacy had done; 6 year old Gacy was beaten with a belt! After this incident, Gacy’s mother regretted telling her husband and started being more protective of her son. This only succeeded in Gacy earning accusations from his father that he was a “sissy” and a “Mama’s boy” who would “probably grow up queer.”
The abuses endured by little John reached new heights when he clocked 9. Gacy was molested by a family friend- who would take Gacy for rides in his truck, then fondle him. Gacy never told his father about these incidents as he was afraid he would bear the blame.
At the age of 20, following an argument with his father, Gacy left home and moved to Las Vegas, where he worked in a mortuary for three months before returning to Chicago. In Chicago, he got a job as a salesman and met co-worker Marlynn Myers. They married in September 1964.
Although the marriage produced two kids, it became rocky. In late 1967, Gacy began to molest teenage male employees of the restaurants he managed.He even opened a “club” in his basement, where he allowed employees to drink alcohol before he made sexual advances toward them.
In March 1968, John Gacy got into trouble when two local boys, aged 15 and 16, accused him of sexually assaulting them.He professed his innocence, but later hired another Waterloo youth to physically assault one of his accusers in an effort to discourage the boy from testifying against him. The youth was caught and confessed that he was sent by Gacy. Gacy was then arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for Sodomy. He was however paroled after 18 months for exemplary behaviour.
Gacy started a new life after jail as his wife had divorced him. He opened a new business and remarried. But he soon dabbled back into his old ways. He recruited young boys to work for him and eventually sexually harassed them- before killing them!
On December 30, 1977, Gacy abducted a 19-year-old student named Robert Donnelly from a Chicago bus stop at gunpoint. Gacy drove Donnelly home with him, raped him, tortured him with various devices, and repeatedly dunked his head into a bathtub filled with water until he passed out. He then revived him. Donnelly later testified at Gacy’s trial that he was in such pain that he asked Gacy to kill him to “get it over with”
Between April and October 1976, Gacy killed a minimum of nine youths between the ages of 14 and 19, eight of whom were buried in his crawlspace, and one beneath his dining room floor.
Things however took a twist on December 11, 1978. John Gacy visited a pharmacy to discuss a potential remodelling deal with the owner. While discussing, Gacy mentioned that his firm hired teenage boys. 15-year-old Robert Jerome Piest was in the pharmacy store when the discussion was on.
After Gacy left the store, Jerome Piest told his mother that “some contractor wants to talk to me about a job”. So Piest left the store, promising to return shortly. But when Piest failed to return, his family filed a missing person report on their son.
On this day in 1978, the Des Plaines Police arrested Gacy after searching his house. The stench of decaying bodies led them to the precise locations where he had buried them.
John Gacy was eventually sentenced to multiple death penalties for those murders- before being executed in 1994. His last words? “Kiss my a*s”
Cruise Nigeria believes that John Gacy’s story is a lesson for everyone.
A wrecked childhood has deep lying repercussions on the future of the child. Little things have the propensity to boomerang! And who knows, if John Gacy’s dad never abused alcohol, never beat him or mock him- would he have turned out to be the ugly serial killer that he was?
Food for thought.