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Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
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Records and Archives

The "Killer Clown"

People v. John Wayne Gacy,  79C-69 et seq.

The 33 indictments of John Wayne Gacy document the State of Illinois' case against one of the most prolific and notorious murderers in United States history.

Gacy, a construction contractor, lived in a quiet suburb northwest of Chicago.  He made himself well known in his community for his political work and his help to charitable causes.  He often appeared at children's performances dressed as a clown.  But the friendly clown had another life.

The law caught up with Gacy late in 1978.  The mother of a young man who disappeared after applying to Gacy for a job notified the police.  A search warrant allowed police to search Gacy's home.  Warrant pages 1, 2, 3.  Authorities eventually discovered the remains of 27 corpses underneath the house, plus 2 more under the garage and driveway.   Eventually Gacy told police he had thrown 4 other corpses into the DesPlaines River.

Gacy was indicted for 33 murders.  Indictment 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.  He was found guilty in March of 1980.  Verdit pages 1.  Judge Louis B. Garippo sentenced him to death.  Execution pages 1, 2, 3, 4.

The Circuit Court ruling was appealed.  The Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the death sentence of execution by lethal injection.  Supreme Court pages 1.  On May 10, 1994, the sentence was carried out.  Clerk's Memorandum 1.

People v. John Wayne Gacy may be viewed in the Archives Reading Room.  This large case file totals 22 boxes.  Much of the written and visual material is extremely graphic in nature.  To view the file, contact the Archives at 312-603-6601.

For further reading in the background of the case, researchers may consult:

   Crimes of the 20th Century:  A  Chronology , by Bill G. Cox, et al  (Crescent Books,1991)
           Serial Murderers and Their Victims, by Eric W. Hickey  (Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1991)
   KillerClown, by Terry Sullivan  (Grosset & Dunlap, 1983)Buried Dreams, by Tim Cahill


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