Gacy, a homosexual who had served time in a reformatory for committing sodomy, developed a successful business as a building contactor, and nurtured ambitions to be a politician. He was regarded as a friendly man who loved children, and he staged huge parties at his ranch-style house in the Norwood township near Chicago. He also liked to dress up as a clown to entertain children at the local hospitals.
But Gacys genial exterior masked perverted sexual urges. He committed his first murder in 1972 after abusing a youth he had picked up in Chicago. During the next six years he murdered thirty-two boys and youths after using them to satisfy his sexual needs. He killed them by strangulation, and corpses of twenty-seven victims were found in shallow graves under his house. Gacy made three confessions, but declined to testify at his trial for murder. Defence psychiatrists pictured him as psychologically inadequate, but knowledge that he had posed as a police officer with a red light on his car during his prowling for victims suggested he well knew what he was doing. The jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Later Gacy was sentenced to death in 1994.
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