John Wayne Gacy Jr. (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer and rapist. Before his crimes, however, he was considered a model and upstanding citizen in Waterloo.
In 1966, Gacy began to manage the three KFC restaurants his father-in-law purchased in Waterloo. In 1967, he was named "outstanding vice-president" of the Waterloo Jaycees. But Gacy was convicted of sodomy on December 3, 1968, and sentenced to 10 years at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
Gacy was granted parole with 12 months' probation on June 18, 1970, after serving 18 months of his 10-year sentence. One of the conditions of his probation was that Gacy would relocate to Chicago to live with his mother.
Gacy sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois, inside his Norwood Park ranch house. His victims were typically lured to his address by force or deception, and all but one victim were murdered by either asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift tourniquet. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three further victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the Des Plaines River.
Convicted of 33 murders, Gacy was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980 for 12 of those killings. He spent 14 years on death row before he was finally executed by lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994.
Gacy became known as the "Killer Clown" because of his charitable services at fundraising events, parades, and children's parties where he would dress as "Pogo the Clown", a character he devised himself.