John Wayne Gacy, a lifelong Democrat, got his start in Iowa too

Update: Michele Bachman mixed up John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy during her campaign stump speech in Iowa today. The famous American movie star, John Wayne was born in Iowa. John Wayne Gacy (the Democrat) got his first taste of fame when he was arrested for chasing a teenage Democrat office worker around after hours with his pants down.

I met John Wayne Gacy in 1975. I was teen working part-time at a luxury townhouse development near our home called Barrington Lakes. Gacy was a night watchman/contractor at the development site. We were told he was a “great guy,” very funny, a prominant Democrat and “Pogo the Clown” at special events. Another teenage co-worker and I talked to him once or twice. It just took a split second to form an opinion of Gacy. He was a perv, big time.

The fat slob sat in a construction trailer night after night reading dirty magazines and paperbacks. The stack was four feet high. I remember his fat, scrufty face and glazed-over, puss-filled eyes of a drug addict and drunk. And he had an old Hubert Humphrey bumper sticker on his “office” wall, along with some photos of Chicago politicians including Mayor Richard Daley. He had dreams of running for office some day. He was good friends with a new resident who rented his suite including the furniture. I forget his name, but remember the black man dressed well and paid his rent only in cash. He was a very good friend of Gacy.

It was startling to learn that the guy disappeared months later. We had to clean out his apartment. The new, designer couch had a big, greasy, filthy hole carved into the middle of the cushion. It smelled rancid. The place was wrecked.

Ten years earlier:

John Wayne Gacy seemed to have it all, two kids, a young wife and a career as a fast food manager thanks to his father-in-law in Waterloo, Iowa.

But there were strange stories circulating. It seemed that young boys were always in John Wayne Gacy’s presence. Everyone heard the stories that Gacy was homosexual and made passes at the young boys who worked for him at the fast food franchises his new father-in-law owned. Yet, people close to him refused to believe in the gossip, until May of 1968 when rumors became truths brought out in court.

In the spring of 1968, Gacy was indicted by a grand jury in Black Hawk County, Iowa for committing the act of sodomy with a teenage boy named Mark Miller. Miller testified that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up while visiting Gacy’s home a year earlier, and had violently raped him. Gacy denied all the charges against him and told a conflicting story, stating that Miller willingly had sexual relations with him in order to earn extra money. Gacy further insisted that Jaycee members opposed to him becoming president of the local chapter organization were setting him up. He was convicted to 10 years in prison becuase he had also hired a teenager to beat up Miller. He served just 18 months; his wife divorced him and he moved back to Chicago. He reportedly said that he considered his wife and kids dead.

He soon met and married his second wife, Carole. But Carole and John had drifted apart by 1975. He would be in a good mood one moment and the next moment he would be flying into an uncontrollable rage and throwing furniture. He was an insomniac and took speed. Gacy was rarely home in the evenings and when he was, he was either fixing something with the outside of the house or working in the garage. However, there was one thing that Carole was extremely worried about.

She began to find gay magazines with naked men and boys in her house. She knew that Gacy was reading them and he acted nonchalantly about his new choice of reading material. Gacy told his wife that he preferred boys to women.

Carole filed for divorce. The divorce became final on March 2, 1976.

Although Gacy had a criminal record, was working several night watchman and janitorial jobs, he refused to let it hold him back from realizing his dream of success. Being a man who thrived on recognition and attention, Gacy turned his sights to the world of politics. It was in politics that Gacy hoped to make his mark in the world. He had high aspirations and hoped to one day run for public office as a Democrat.

In 1975, Gacy became the Democrat precinct secretary treasurer. It seemed as if Gacy’s dreams of success were beginning to come true; however his career in politics would be short-lived. Troubles started to bubble up when rumors began to circulate about Gacy having homosexual interest in teenage boys.

One of the rumors stemmed from an actual incident that took place during the time Gacy was involved with cleaning the Democratic Party headquarters. One of the teenagers who worked with Gacy on that particular project was sixteen-year-old Tony Antonucci. According to Antonucci, Gacy made sexual advances towards him, and chased him in the Democrat headquarters with his pants down. According to court records, Gacy backed off when Antonucci threatened to hit him with a chair. Gacy joked about the situation and left him alone for a month.

The following month Gacy tried to trick the teen into handcuffs and believing he was securely cuffed he began to undress the boy. However, Antonucci had made sure that one of his hands was loosely cuffed and he was able to free himself and wrestle Gacy to the ground. Once he had Gacy on the ground he handcuffed him, but eventually let him go after Gacy promised he would never again try touching him. Gacy never made sexual advances towards Antonucci again and the boy remained working for Gacy for almost a year, following the incident.

When Gacy was exposed in December 1978 as a sadistic homosexual serial killer, it came as a huge shock to his neighbors, friends, local politicians and business associates.

It was also deeply embarrassing for the Democratic Party of President Jimmy Carter as Gacy was an enthusiastic supporter who had been photographed with the First Lady, Rosalyn Carter. He presented a check for $5,000 to Jimmy Carter’s campaign. The media didn’t cover the politics of the killer clown. The media filters the news that is harmful to their overall liberal Democrat creed.


37 thoughts on “John Wayne Gacy, a lifelong Democrat, got his start in Iowa too

  1. I think the point is that the mainstream media hides the stories if they are negative to Democrats or socialists, but if the crimes are by free enterprise Republicans, it is page one and top of the news show for a week.

  2. Ian. Let me guess? Is it just another little news blurb that should not have been printed, that a former president accepted $5,000 from a mass murderer who was a prominant member of his politial party, Democrat? They are America’s socialists like those you vote for in Germany.

    • I just took it that Gacy was a slob. There doesn’t need to be a point does there? To some extent this disclosure make me feel better about having executed him, although I was never particularly troubled in the first place.

  3. Hi Mick Gregory,

    I’m a researcher at Twofour Broadcast, a production company based in the UK. As you can see for our website, we specialize in factual entertainment and are currently in production for all the major British networks. Presently we are producing a documentary series, provisionally entitled Conversations With A Serial Killer, in which we will attempt to track down, and get inside the minds of America’s most prolific and notorious serial killers. For one episode, expected to be filmed next year, we will be featuring a case study of John Wayne Gacy. I am trying to find potential contributors to the program; people who knew Gacy on a personal level, those who represented him in court and those involved in apprehending quite possibly America’s most infamous serial killer. I understand from the above article that you met Gacy in 1975. I wonder if you are interested in contributing to the program, perhaps sharing in an on screen interview your recollections of working on a construction site with him? What was he like as a person? Were there any indicators of what was to come, seemingly insignificant then, but with hindsight holding much greater resonance?

    If you could get back to me with any thoughts on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    Cavelle Leigh

  4. Mick:

    The bitterness and spite against journalists in general that comes through on this blog gives me the impression that at one time you really, really wanted to be a real journalist, but were kicked out of j-school or otherwise failed to make it in a genuine newsroom. It’s tough out there, I know.

    Ian, this is the USA, not some Eastern European socialist state. You can’t be “kicked out” of J-school and that’s it you are out. If that happens here, you would enroll in another J-school if that’s the career path you choose. This is a free country. I know that’s why so many of your pals come here to get a higher education.

  5. I always had the sense that the MSM enjoyed calling Gacy by his full name because it taints the memory of the actor who committed the sin of portraying traditionally-masculine All-American heroes in the movies.
    If one day a serial killer named George Clooney Smith is apprehended, the MSM will call him George Smith or George C. Smith.

    • It was pretty common at one time to refer to notorious killers/ assassins by their full name– Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, and so forth.
      As for the thesis of this article, you are being paranoid. Serial killer Ted Bundy was a Republican– that didn’t get coverage either. It’s not terribly relevant.

  6. I am an American and it appears you are grasping at straws…It doesn’t seem to be too difficult to find people in either party that are sickos, idots, etc… all you have to do is turn on the newsThe two parties should be more respectful of their differences….

  7. Stacy, you are right. We need many opinions. America is close to being a one-party nation. The Democrats control the House and Senate and most of the courts. Next, it will be the White House.

  8. John Wayne Gacy was a lifelong Democrat
    In 1972, Gacy married Carole Hoff, an insecure divorcee and mother of two daughters that knew of Gacy’s prison experience, but believed him to be reformed, and a good provider for her children. The Gacys became a very popular family in their neighborhood due to their frequent and extravagant parties, despite the pervasive stench that their guests had noticed pervading through the home.

    In 1974, Gacy quit his job as a chef and went into business for himself as a painter and remodeller. He told friends that he hired teenage boys in order to keep his costs down, but in reality he would attempt to seduce his assistants. He also threw himself into several local volounteer projects, in order to set himself a foundation to run for public office. He attracted the attention of the local Democratic Party members by volounteering to clean up their headquarters, and by dressing up as Pogo the Clown to entertain children at local parties and events. He was nominated to the local street lighting commission, then made the jump to secretary treasurer in 1975.

    By this time, John and Carole had grown apart, first sexually, then emotionally. John was having wild mood swings and leaving pictures of naked men and boys lying around the house. When Carole asked him about the photographs, Gacy readily admitted that he was more attracted to men than he was to her. In March 1976, the couple was divorced. At about the same time, more rumors were circulating about Gacy and the teenaged boys that were working for him. At least one was based in fact: During the cleanup of the Democrat’s headquarters, Gacy had approached 16 year old Tony Antonucci and propositioned him, then backed off when the youth rebuffed his advances. A month later, he tricked the Antonucci into a pair of handcuffs and tried to undress him. The youth got free, wrestled Gacy to the ground, then handcuffed him, releasing him only when Gacy promised not to touch him again. I suppose that the labor market must have been incredibly tight back then, because Antonucci continued to work for Gacy without incident for another year.

    During his time in Chicago, several youths who either worked for Gacy or had tangential relationships with him had disappeared mysteriously. The police seemed to be unable to put two and two together until the disappearance of 15 year old Robert Piest, who worked at a pharmacy and was last heard from when he told his mother that he was going to talk to a contractor who had offered him a job. Gacy was discovered to be the contractor, and Lieutenant Joseph Kozenczak was sent to his home to pick him up for questioning. At the door, Gacy claimed a death in the family prevented him from leaving the house at the time, and offered to come by later. He did eventually show up at the police station, where he claimed ignorance of the boy’s disappearance and left. Kozenczak was suspicious enough of Gacy’s actions to run a background check, and was surprised to discover the previous sodomy charge. This was enough to obtain a search warrant for Gacy’s house.

    On December 13, 1978, police entered Gacy’s house while Gacy was away, and confiscated a pile of suspicious evidence, such as:

    A box of driver’s licenses and class rings from recent high school graduates
    Some marijuana
    Swedish erotica.
    Amyl Nitrite and Valium
    A stained rug section
    Several works of homosexual and pederast literature and reference.
    A homemade spreader bar
    Police badges
    An 18 inch rubber dildo
    Children’s clothing.
    Pieces of hair in Gacy’s car
    A receipt for a roll of film
    In the crawl space beneath the house, police noticed a rancid smell, and saw that the earth was sprinkled with lime. However, there was nothing found that directly linked Gacy with any crime. When Gacy was called in to the station and told of the articles the police had confiscated, he flew into a rage and demanded to see his laywer. On instructions from his attorney, he refused to sign his Miranda waiver, and eventually had to be released by the police due to lack of anything to arrest him on. They did put Gacy under 24 hour surveillance as they contacted his friends to try and learn more about him. However, few of Gacy’s friends could believe that John would be capable of killing a teenaged boy. Finally, the police decided to pick him up on marijuana posession charges so that they could hold him while lab work was done on the confiscated materials.

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  10. And there must be a republican who was very involved with the party and a mass murderer…Wasn’t Ted Bundy?
    There is no public record of Bundy being involved in politics. Did Bundy give $5,000 to Reagan and pose for pictures with him and Nancy, like John Wayne Gacey did for Jimmy Carter and wife? Gacey was a prominant Democrat.

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  12. Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo’s own John Wayne.

    The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo’s John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.

    Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: “Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” (Someone has already posted the clip to YouTube under the name BachmannLovesGacy)

    John Wayne, the movie legend, is in fact from Iowa and the John Wayne birthplace is a celebrated landmark — only it’s in Winterset, which is a nearly three hour drive away from Waterloo.

    Gacy, though, had his first taste of the criminal life in Waterloo, where he lived for a short time, and where he had his first criminal conviction for an attempted homosexual assault, which landed him in prison for 18 months.

    He would move back to Illinois, where his killing spree started, and lasted about six years. In 1980 he was convicted on 33 counts of murder, and was executed in 1994.

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