To most people, Gacy was known as being not only normal and well-adjusted, but unusually warm, kind and selfless. He often hosted themed street parties, which were always very successful. He was a member of the Holy Name Society and of the Illinois Civil Defense. He devoted most of his spare time working in the Jaycees, where he became First Vice-President and was elected "Man of the Year".
Even more notably, he would often dress up in a homemade clown costume (as "Poco the Clown") and perform acts for sick children in local hospitals. Nobody had any idea of his astonishing capacity for sadism and homicidal cruelty until it was far too late.
Gacy grew up in a middle class neighborhood. Although his father was mildly abusive to him and vicious to his mother, John always hoped to win his respect. As he grew into adulthood, he found that he had a natural talent for business and decided to become a contractor. He was twice married and twice divorced, both times as the result of his wives finding out that Gacy was a closet homosexual.
Unfortunately, Gacy's sexual irregularities did not end with homosexuality. In a sort of double life, Gacy repeatedly lured young men or boys to his house or another isolated location. After drugging them or tricking them into a pair of handcuffs, Gacy assaulted his helpless victims mercilessly. He anally raped, beat and tortured his victims using kinky sexual implements and common household items. The climax of his attacks usually involved simultaneously raping a victim and strangling him with a rope or board.
When police searched Gacy's house in 1978, they found many disturbing items. Gacy possessed marijuana, amyl nitrate, syringes, and valium. He had Swedish pornographic movies, an eighteen-inch dildo and child sized clothes. Handcuffs, police badges, a pistol, rope, and books with titles such as Tight Teenagers and Pederasty: Sex Between Men and Boys rounded out his most unsettling possessions.
But most macabre of all was that underneath the floorboards of his house, Gacy had thirty dead bodies permanently stashed away. Further investigation uncovered three more in his back yard.
In 1980, Gacy unsuccessfully pleaded insanity. He was convicted of 33 murders; more than any other American serial killer has ever been convicted of. In prison, Gacy took up art as a hobby, painting pictures of clowns. After many delays, John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection.