John Wayne Gacy

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Biography

Family and early life

Waterloo IA period

Chicago move

Murders committed

Arrest and confession

Murder trial

Death row

Controversies

Use of accomplices

Sex trafficking connection

Main article: Phillip Paske

Political connections

Democratic Party

Criminal underground

See also

References

External links

Victim information

  • John Butkovich (17) - 1975/07/29
    • From the Des Plaines Police Department file in the 1978/12/18 CID supplementary report: "[...] Although LEADS and NCIC do not show a hit on him as missing, Chicago does confirm him as still active for missing. Missing Persons also provided the name of Officer Burkart as having been the one who handled the case from Area 6/Missing Persons, and I had a conversation with him at phone number 744-8266. Officer Burkart related to me that according to the information he had the youth had been at [REDACTED] with friends the night before he was found missing and, while there, he had been involved in some kind of disturbance, but nothing drastic. He indicated that he was to be moved in to an apartment the following day, but never did make it to the apartment. His 1969 gold and black Dodge was found approximately one block from his residence and in the car were found the items that he had left behind, which included his wallet and jacket. Approximately four months later he indicated they received, his family, a phone call from a girl calling from Puerto Rico, who indicated that John was alright, he was with them and hung up. The officer was able to trace the call, since it was a collect call, and called a business establishment in Puerto Rico where the owner, one Juan Perez, indicated that the phone was a business phone and was used by a lot of people and could not provide any further information. The officer indicated that the only thing odd about it was that all friends who used to come by the house all of a sudden stopped coming and never were heard from again. He indicated that the youth did hang around with Puerto Ricans and that he had worked for P.D.M. Construction Company, 8213 West Summerdale, Norwood Park Township. The officer indicated that he also contacted those people, but they advised him he had been terminated and that as a matter of fact the subject never removed his money out of the Ravenswood Bank that he had left. He indicated that he had heard some rumors that the subject had been going to Puerto Rico and had been running dope. Subsequent to this, Detective Ryan and myself went to the Chicago Police Department, Area 6/Youth, and obtained a copy of the original report and one supplement, which pretty much gave us the same information that Officer Burkart had given us with the exception that the call had come at approximately one year after the subject had been shown missing. This subject did have in his possession a card from P.D.M. Construction Company. The father listed under the missing person's report is one Marco Butkovich, of [REDACTED] with a phone number of [REDACTED]. I determined that this phone number was not a good phone number and did, through the Soundex Machine, locate a license plate number for a Mark Butkovich. That was [REDACTED]. This registered to Marco Butkovich at [REDACTED]. We went to that location, however there was no Marco Butkovich living there at that time. This report is all filed under Report Number T300203."
    • From p.100-101 of Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Terry Sullivan and Peter T. Maiken: "Tovar followed up and learned that Butkovich had been involved in some sort of disturbance at a friend's place the night before his disappearance. He was supposed to move into an apartment the next day but never got there. His car, with wallet and jacket inside, was found a block from where he lived. There had been rumors that Butkovich had gone to Puerto Rico to run drugs, and after he was reported missing his family had received a collect call from a girl in Puerto Rico who told them that John was there and well. The call had come from a pay phone and had proved impossible to trace. Butkovich's employer, PDM Construction Company, 8213 Summerdale Avenue, Norwood Park, said that the youth had been terminated."
  • Rick Johnston (17) - 1976/08/06
    • From p.183 of Programmed to Kill: "The family of victim Rick Johnston was convinced that Rick had been abducted by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, an organization heavily steeped in mind control and with extensive connections to South Korean’s version of the CIA (which was created and trained by our own CIA)."
  • Kenneth Parker (16) and Michael Marino (14) - 1976/10/24
    • As was discovered by 2016, the body identified as Marino was not really him, nor (because it was proposed that Marino and Parker's remains were mixed up) was the body buried right next to it. Two witness sightings of Michael after his disappearance were revealed in a 2018 story on WGN. 2 months after he disappeared, a witness saw Michael, then going by the name Louis Soto, planning to "board a bus" with a man. 2 years after he disappeared, a former classmate of Michael's ran into him at the intersection of Clark Street and Diversey Parkway, a known center of homosexual prostitution only a couple blocks from John Norman's apartment. Michael told his old friend Darrell Rivers that he was working, but did not say where.
  • Gregory Godzik (17) - 1976/12/12
    • From p.183 of Programmed to Kill:

          Following the disappearance of one of Gacy’s employees, Greg Godzik, John was not questioned by police for a full three months. Godzik’s frustrated parents turned for help to private investigator Anthony Pellicano, Jr., a shadowy character who tends to surface in organized crime and Hollywood circles, and who, as this is being written, is facing a variety of charges in Los Angeles in connection with a case he was working on for actor Steven Seagal. Pellicano never checked out Gacy and later claimed that he had never been given the name by Godzik’s parents, which was an interesting claim given that the primary reason for his hiring was to investigate the man that the police refused to investigate. Pellicano nevertheless maintained that he had been told that Greg worked at a gas station, not for John Gacy.
          Godzik was reportedly seen still very much alive after the time of his reported abduction, as was at least one other victim and former Gacy employee, John Szyc. In one of those bizarre ‘coincidences’ that seem to surround serial killer cases, the Godzik home was burglarized the night before the story of John Wayne Gacy’s arrest hit the airwaves.
       
  • John Mowery (19) - 1977/09/25
    • As discussed below, just a couple days before Mowery disappeared, Gacy employee Michael Rossi moved in with him. He insisted that Mowery meet a friend of his who was about to go out of town (Gacy did go out of town right after Mowery disappeared), and after Mowery disappeared, he acted unconcerned and told Mowery's friends that he knew about a place where a bunch of dead bodies were buried that the police had no knowledge of.
    • Chicago Tribune, "Victim's sister slain in 1972", 1979/01/29
      • "On Nov. 9, 1972, John's sister, Judith Mowery, a 21-year old clerk-typist for the county assessor's office, was found stabbed to death in her blood-stained North Side apartment."
      • "Judith's slayer has never been found. "The case is not closed," Robert Mowery said."
      • "John Mowery had just completed 18 months with the Marines when he returned to Chicago in early 1977, Robert Mowery said. At age 19, John moved away from the family home to live in an apartment at Cullom and Western avenues with a friend, who the family knew as "Mike"."
  • Russell Nelson (21) - 1977/10/17
    • As discussed below, when Nelson disappeared, he was traveling with Gacy associate Robert Young. While Young claims that Nelson just suddenly vanished, it is doubtful that Nelson could have disappeared without Young noticing.
    • From p.134 of The Man Who Killed Boys: The John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Story by Clifford Linedecker (1993):

          In September 1974 he enrolled at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis as a major in pre-architecture. A few weeks after beginning classes, he met Thomas Maurer, a sixty-year-old clergyman with the United Church of Christ and a lecturer in sexuality at the university's medical school. Russell moved into Maurer's condominium in the Towers, a posh apartment complex.
          According to reporter James Warren in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Maurer acknowledged that he is homosexual, but insisted that he never had sexual relations with his young roommate. He said that their ties were closer to a father-son bond. It was a relationship approved of by Russell's parents. "I think Russ became the son Tom never had," Mrs. Norma Nelson was quoted as saying. Maurer went so far as to change his will, making Russell the sole beneficiary.
       
      • The News-Herald (Franklin PA), "Pleas, challenges to churches on attitudes toward homosexuality", 1971/04/15: "The Rev. Thomas Maurer, a clergyman of the United Church of Christ who works with San Francisco's Drug and Sex Forum, declared, "Homosexuality as a way of life has come of age. Either the church will recognize it or the church will die." The 52-year-old Californian said he had recently made public admission of his homosexuality and reported he was glad. "We've got to have Churches that will free people to be themselves," he said."
      • The Dispatch (Moline IL), "Homosexuals Urge Open Acceptance By Churches", 1971/04/17: "Included were numerous seminarians and ministers, some in clerical collars. Many freely asserted their homosexuality. "Homosexuality as a way of life is an idea whose time has come," said the Rev. Thomas Maurer of San Francisco, urging churches to recognize it as a moral alternative. "If something is sexually loving, it's good," he said."
      • The Daily Journal (Fergus Falls MN), "Black group takes stand", 1975/06/27: "The Rev. Thomas Maurer, a lecturer in human sexuality at the University of Minnesota, responded that "straight" young people have dating opportunities through church and school from early youth, while homosexuals "must wait until they are of drinking age to go to bars and seek dates.""
      • St. Cloud Times, "Lecture", 1977/01/06: "A University of Minnesota professor, Thomas Maurer, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the St. John's University Science Center Auditorium. Maurer's topic is "Sexual Images of Man." He has investigated the changing roles of the sexes and studied sexuality therapy. His lecture is free and open to the public."

Others involved

  • From p.180 of Programmed to Kill: "While his home was being searched, Gacy was taken to Holy Family Hospital for a medical examination, allegedly due to complaints of chest pains. Immediately upon his release from the hospital, John read and signed a Miranda waiver and began confessing to the murders. One of his first questions to police was: “Who else do you have in the station? There are others involved.” Gacy was then asked if the others were involved directly or indirectly, to which he responded: “Directly. They participated.” Asked who these others might be, he answered simply: “My associates.” He was also asked where Rob Piest was, to which he answered: “I don’t know. I didn’t transport him.” When asked who did, he replied: “I can’t say.”"
  • From p.183-184 of Programmed to Kill: "As for the unnamed others who were possibly involved in the killings, there were any number of people who lived for varying periods of time in the Gacy home, or who regularly spent time there, all of whom denied knowledge of the crimes and of the source of the stench permeating the house. One of Gacy’s longtime employees and sometime houseguest, identified only by the pseudonym of Dick Walsh [Michael Rossi], was said to be evasive when questioned. He was given a polygraph examination, but his examiners claimed they were “unable to render a definite opinion.” There is no indication that further examinations were attempted. Another Gacy employee was Gordon Nebel, who reportedly worked as the company’s bookkeeper. He was curiously misidentified in the logs that Gacy’s surveillance team kept of his visitors, even though the officers were well aware of Nebel’s identity, and aware that he worked two days a week inside the death house. Two other associates of Gacy’s, Donald Morrill and Ronald Rohde, were known to have protected and shielded John from police during his period of surveillance. Neither of them appears to have been investigated in connection to the crimes, nor were any of the numerous names that appeared in Gacy’s address book marked with a mysterious “H.”"
  • Gacy appeal process - a central argument was that he did not commit many of the murders
  • WGN9, "Did John Wayne Gacy have an accomplice?", 2012/02/09
  • Southtown Star, "Lawyers contend Gacy had help in some killings", 2012/02/09
  • Chicago Sun-Times, "Gacy had at least one accomplice, two lawyers believe", 2012/02/10 - mentions Gacy asking "Who else do you have in the station?" after his arrest; says that Gacy got the torture board idea from the Dean Corll case; mentions the early evidence of victim Jeffrey Rignall noticing another man in the house while he was being tortured
  • Chicago Sun-Times, "Sheriff to investigate possible Gacy accomplice theory", 2012/02/10
  • MSNBC, "Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say" by James Eng, 2012/02/11 (newer link) - says that one of the suspected accomplices is Russell Nelson's friend (ed. note: Robert Young); reveals that of the three suspected accomplices, two are alive and the other one is believed to be dead (ed. note: though Robert Young has died, the lawyers claim that he is still alive and living out of state, so they're more likely referring to Cram or Paske)
  • CBS story on 2012/02/12 about Gacy accomplices - his defense lawyer Sam Amirante (ed. note: who Dave McGowan suggests was railroading Gacy) shifts position and says he doesn't know to this day if Gacy had accomplices
  • TIME, "Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy May Have Had Accomplices", 2012/02/13
  • WGN9, "John Wayne Gacy investigation continues into possible Gacy accomplices", 2012/02/16
  • Chicago Sun-Times, "Women tell of links between Gacy friend and victim", 2012/02/17
  • MSNBC, "Witnesses shed new light on John Wayne Gacy murder, suggest he had accomplice", 2012/02/17 - the Gacy employee who moved in with John Mowery is evidently Rossi, as Rossi and Cram were the employees who told the police about digging trenches in Gacy's crawlspace, and Cram was found dead of suicide in 2001, leaving Rossi as the only one who got arrested for unrelated crimes (movie theater violence) and would still be alive in the Chicago area
  • Andy Matesi video on 2012/04/22 playing a tape recording of Gacy - he remarked there were 12 other people with keys to his home and implicated some of those he believed were complicit in the murders; at 3:35 he said (referring to his young male employees Michael A. Rossi, David F. Cram, and Phillip R. Paske along with Paske's child trafficking partner John D. Norman) "we already know that Rossi, Cram, Paske, and Norman were involved in the case", accusing the authorities of covering it up; at 5:00 he said "David Cram, Rossi, and Paske all had keys to the house. In fact, they used the house while I wasn't in town."
  • Andrew Lutzke, "Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: John Wayne Gacy’s Unknown Victims", 2013/07/30: "The police did have 5 men on the suspect list (along with Gacy) and ultimately seemed to believe that two of the men actively took part in the torture sessions but not the murders. The two men were never prosecuted in any manner for these crimes. Worse yet, Gacy was actually out of the area when one of the victims went missing, and the circumstantial evidence surely points to Gacy not committing this particular murder. One of the two key suspects did admit to police that he procured young boys for Gacy to fuck, but he added he had nothing to do with any murders."
  • David F. Cram / David Cram
  • Michael Rossi / Mike Rossi - likely the accomplice who Jeff Rignall saw
    • From p.148 of The Chicago Killer: The Hunt for Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy by Joseph R. Kozenczak: "Venice [Rossi] claimed innocence or ignorance of all the questions regarding Piest and the polygraph results were unclear-what we call an “inconclusive.” To help confirm the test results, and possibly obtain new information, I decided to give Venice an optional test called the “Peak of Tension Test.” It involved a map of Cook County divided into twelve grids. Grid #4 included unincorporated Norwood Park Township where Gacy's house was located. I instructed Tom [Mike] to respond “No” each time I pointed to a grid and asked, “Is the body of Robert Piest buried in grid #1? . . . Is the body of Robert Piest buried in grid #2? . . .” There was an extreme response in his blood pressure reading when we reached grid #4. I assumed from this that he actually believed Rob was buried there, but the overall test was inconclusive because Venice refused to continue. He said that he didn't like the way the test felt and he asked to have all the attachments removed. I did that and asked if he'd talk for a while. He refused and walked out of the polygraph lab."
    • Legal representation by Edward Hanrahan
      • From p.309 of Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders by Terry Sullivan and Peter T. Maiken: "[...] prosecution strongly opposed granting immunity because in the jurors’ eyes it taints a witness and harms your case against the defendant. Hanrahan, however, was adamant. We went back and forth for months. In the end, Hanrahan relented, mostly, I think, because he was willing to trust me when I personally promised him that we’d stick to the questions he and I already had discussed and that we’d protect Walsh [Rossi] as best we could on cross-examination."
      • While Cook County State Attorney, Hanrahan ordered a raid on the apartment of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, which ended in the murder of Hampton and Mark Clark. Hanrahan essentially did so on behalf of the FBI. The raid was carried out by Chicago police under the direction of Sgt. Daniel Groth, who (according to p.204 of JFK and the Unspeakable by Jim Douglass) frequently went on "training leaves" to Washington DC, and most likely worked undercover for the CIA. Sgt. Groth was one of the two Chicago Police Department officers who arrested Thomas Arthur Vallee, the patsy in the Chicago assassination attempt on JFK. See articles: The Nation, "Was Fred Hampton Executed?", 1976/12/25
    • Chicago Tribune, "Friend of murderer Gacy pleads guilty in beating", 1982/07/29: "A MAN WHO once testified that he dug trenches for John Gacy without knowing they later would be used as graves for some of Gacy's 33 murder victims pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of battery in connection with the abduction and beating of a Northwest Side man Jan. 4. The defendant, Michael Rossi, 23, 4726 N. Drake Ave., testified in February, 1980, during Gacy's trial, that he worked for and lived with Gacy, and that at Gacy's request he had dug "a trench line for some drain tile" and had spread lime to "sweeten the odor" of the crawl space of his Norwood Park Township home where many of Gacy's victims were buried. [...] Rossi was sentenced Wednesday to one year of probation and 40 days in jail, time he already has served. He is among five men who were charged in the kidnaping and beating of Joseph Chavez, 22, who the defendants thought made a harassing phone call to the wife of one of the-suspects. CHARGED WITH Rossi were Robert Muller, 24, 1250 N. Mason St.; his brother, Paul Muller, 25, 1647 N. Latrobe Ave.; Brian Bodie, 18, 3625 S. Wolcott Ave.; and John Gunia, 25, 2421 W. 45th St. They were accused of luring Chavez from his home and taking him to the basement of Paul Mutter's home, where they allegedly bound and beat him after blaming him for a phone call Gunia's wife received."
    • Identity as Michael A. Rossi
      • Chicago Tribune, "Man given 5-year term in beating", 2003/08/26: "According to Marchese, Rossi and Macari wanted jobs as union projectionists in Chicago-area movie theaters. They attacked Leyland, a non-union projectionist, in an attempt to impress union officials."
      • 2003 Associated Press stories on the attacks against movie theaters: "Seven union members and two aspiring members have been charged with a wave of fires and violence at movie theaters in 10 states, including Wisconsin, as part of Chicago-area contract disputes, federal officials said Friday. [...] The defendants were described by prosecutors as members or prospective members of Motion Picture Projectionists, Operators and Video Technician Local 110 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of the United States and Canada. The local has an image, acquired decades ago, of corruption and alleged mob links. In the early 1980s, the Chicago Crime Commission said at least 24 relatives of "reputed hoodlums" held ghost jobs with the union. [...] Those charged were identified as Albin C. Brenkus, 48, of Willowbrook, business manager of the local; Carl A. Covelli Jr., 48, of Westchester; Kent B. Dickinson, 52, of Bonfield; Keith J. Dutton, 48, of Chicago; Peter C. Lipa, 48, of Wonder Lake; Peter R. Macari, 41, of Plainfield; Joseph L. Marjan, 29, of Riverdale; Michael A. Rossi, 44, of Ingleside; and Gregory J. Tortorello of Fort Stewart, Ga. Prosecutors said all were Local 110 members except Macari and Rossi, who were promised membership as a reward for the August 1999 baseball-bat beating of a suburban Chicago theater manager. Both are currently serving state prison sentences in connection with the beating."
      • Chicago Tribune, "6 get prison terms in theater arsons", 2004/04/24: "Six men with connections to the movie projectionists union local in Chicago were sentenced to prison Friday for arson-related convictions as part of a plot to coerce labor deals from movie companies."
      • BeenVerified information on Michael A. Rossi of Ingleside IL
      • FastPeopleSearch information on Mike A. Rossi Sr. of Ingleside IL
    • Alison True, "Vito Marzullo and Gacy: the biggest open secret in Chicago history?", 2013/02/24
    • Identity as Michael J. Rossi
      • See below for the story of Frank Marcus, who implicates Michael J. Rossi
      • Clustrmaps page on Catherine Rossi of Yonkers NY - birth date was 1940-06-5; aliases include Cookie Rossi, C Rossi, Cookie A Rossi, Cathie Rossi, Cathy Rossi, Catherine A Rossi, Rossi Catherine; suspected relatives include Ben Marzullo / Bernard Marzullo and Michael J Rossi
  • Robert Young
  • Starting in 2012, Felix Francis Marcus has posted online about Michael J. Rossi and David F. Cram (as well as a third person who may be named Bill or Phil) abducting, murdering, and dumping the bodies of people in Deep Quarry in DuPage County IL: Chris Maloney, "EXCLUSIVE – Unfinished Nightmare: The Search for More Victims of John Wayne Gacy", 2011/02/07; Jason Spraggins, "Interview: Judge Sam Amirante, Author of John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster", 2012/09/13; Second City Cop, "Why Aren't They Digging?", 2012/06/13
  • Harold Wayne Lovell - possible unknown accomplice
    • NBC Chicago, "Presumed Gacy Victim Found Alive", 2011/10/26
    • Sun Sentinel, "Man thought to be John Wayne Gacy victim found alive after 34 years", 2011/10/27: "The man who disappeared when he was 19 did not die by the hand of the so-called Killer Clown after all. Instead, he was working busboy jobs in South Beach, partying in Fort Lauderdale, and making another life for himself far from his troubled home near Chicago. "I never stopped thinking about my mom or my brothers and my sisters," Lovell, now 53, said from rural Alabama on Wednesday, during an emotional family reunion. "I feel bad that they had to go through life thinking that I'd been killed like that," he said. "I feel terrible. But I was a teenager, and who didn't want to go to Fort Lauderdale, where it's nice, sunny and hot?" Lovell left his home in Aurora, Ill., in May 1977, telling his relatives he was off to look for a construction job. Instead he made his way to Florida, and for the next three years worked a series of odd jobs in hotels and restaurants. When he never came back, a younger sister, Theresa Hasselberg, along with his brother Tim, became convinced that their brother — who goes by Wayne — had crossed paths with the serial killer. Gacy had done construction work at a Aurora fast-food restaurant about that time. [...] Between media interviews, he has told the family his story. He left home because he didn't feel wanted. He worked at the Fontainebleau Hotel, swam in the ocean in Fort Lauderdale. He met a girl from Wisconsin on South Beach, followed her back to the Midwest and got married. He lived in Wisconsin for several years, he said, and when he and his wife split up, he returned to Florida, this time to the West Coast. Lovell said he has two daughters, ages 30 and 28, whom he has not seen since they were small."
      • Note that the Black Tuna Gang run by Raul Davila-Jimeno, which imported Colombian marijuana during the 1970s and was linked to pivotal Florida drug trafficker Allen Rivenbark, operated out of the Fontainebleau Hotel for part of its existence; United States Tax Court, nos. 26213-81, 26644-81, 29798-82: Robert Platshorn v. Commissioner and Robert Meinster v. Commissioner, Memorandum Findings of Fact and Opinion, 1992/12/07: "Sometime at the end of 1976, Platshorn took over the barbershop concession at the prestigious and luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. [...] Petitioners freely admit to buying and selling marijuana as wholesalers during 1976 and 1977. The headquarters for petitioners' drug importation operation was located at the Fontainebleau Hotel (the Hotel), the same hotel where Platshorn maintained his barbershop concession. Petitioners leased the luxurious 17th-floor oceanfront Presidential Suites during the period of 1976 to 1978. The purposes of the Hotel suites were to provide a place for payments of money, to host elaborate parties for petitioners and their friends at which drugs were freely available, and to create the aura of petitioners' wealth and importance. Petitioners selected the Hotel in part because it offered a marina across the street that would accommodate large yachts. Further, the Hotel was the most prestigious in Miami Beach, and petitioners hoped that this factor would help to establish their credibility in the drug trade."
    • ABC, "Long Lost Brother, Harold Wayne Lovell, Believed a Gacy Victim, Reunited With Family", 2011/10/27

Human trafficking involvement

Mind control evidence

  • Multiple personality disorder
    • Criminal, "Serial Killer Deep Dive: John Wayne Gacy", 2017/12/08: "John's trial took place on February 6th 1980 where he faced 33 murder charges. His lawyers opted for him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which lead to a psychiatric evaluation. Three psychiatric experts testified that John was a paranoid schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder but prosecutors presented a case that indicated that John was sane and fully in control of his actions. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning with a decision to sentence him to death for twelve counts of murder."
    • Reddit comment arguing that his Jack Hanley personality was most likely real: "The mysterious split persona "Jack Hanley." Interestingly, the prosecution attempted to discredit this at trial by calling a man named James Hanley at the trial's eleventh hour. They argued that he had appropriated Hanley's name, though Gacy had first told others about "Jack Hanley" in 1970 - before the two were alleged to have met. Even curiouser, the state claimed that they had produced him so late because "investigators looking for Hanley for more than a year, but somehow the police computer didn’t turn up his name." This does not make sense, however, as James Hanley was a plainclothes detective with the Chicago Police Department since the late sixties."