Assignment 1 – Case Study – John Wayne Gacy
Edith Cowan University
John Wayne Gacy had a nickname as the “Killer Clown”, who was admitted of torturing, raping and strangling 33 young people mainly all young males of whom 29 of them were found buried under his home that he was residing and the remaining bodies were disposed elsewhere which was later discovered by police. He was the worst known serial killer in United States of America history. Gacy was executed in March 1994. Both in life and death, John Wayne Gacy left a profound mark on the fabric of American life and the American legal system. The startling news of the former clown's thirty-four murders and their grisly and horrific details-previously unimaginable to a public yet to be exposed to the macabre deeds of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer-forced society to confront the deepest depths of the human spirit and the moral soundness of a civilization... in which the unthinkable becomes reality. Gacy left an equally penetrating and perhaps longer-lasting mark on the legal system. His federal habeas corpus petition, which marked his last attempt to stave off the executioner's sword, forced the federal judiciary to confront the realities and inherent weaknesses of a judicial sys- tem in which a jury, tethered to the rule of law only by the judge's instructions on the law, determines who will live and who will die. When Gacy presented the federal courts with compelling empirical data ad- dressing the fundamental issue of whether capital Ref: Marquette Law Review, Vol. 78, Issue 4 (Summer 1995), pp. 791-806 MARQUETTE LAW REVIEW the presumption's application in civil and noncapital criminal cases and demonstrates that, throughout our jurisprudence, the presumption has not been inviolate but instead has given way whenever the defendant's interests outweigh those of the State.(Pg 792) Anderson, Kimball R.; Braun, Bruce R.
The Early Years to Adult Hood
John Wayne Gacy was born in 1942. He was the second of three children. He had an older and younger sister and the children were raised on the northern side of Chicago (Rachael Bell and Marilyn Baradsley)- Crime Library Criminal minds and methods. It was cited that to his neighbors and friends Gacy hardly seem to be a person who would have committed such horrifying crimes. Gacy as a child did suffer from agonizing headaches and blackout spells that occasionally resulted in visits to the hospital. Throughout his growing years as a child in Chicago Gacy had a strained relationship with his father who was a alcoholic and would often abuse and hit him. Despite all that according to Gacy, he did have a great affection for his father but somehow was never able to please him. (Pg 1178). Gacy Childhood - It was also cited that serial killers are usually described as a little “off”. As children, fledgling serial killers often set fires, torture animals. These red flag behaviors are known as the “Triad” of symptoms. (Court TV's crime library, n.d.). Other historical factors common in serial killers are abuse, trauma, insecure attachment, loss or abandonment of a parent or caretaker, antisocial behavior, head injury, and low arousal levels. In this instance as mentioned was physically and verbally abused by a parent and most likely endured some type of trauma. (Court TV's crime library, n.d.). Ref:West Virgina Law Review, vol 86 Issues 4 (Summer 1984) pp.1169 -1274) At a tender age of 19 Gacy left his home and ran away to Las Vegas after he had an argument with his father. He managed to find a job as an ambulance driver and a watchman at a mortuary where he worked for three months. During this period there were times where he would sometimes sleep at night in the same room with stored bodies. (Pg 1179). Gacy then returned to Chicago where he found a job as a salesman for a shoe company, which transferred him to Springfield in 1964 where he assumed the position of a manager of one of the company’s...
References: West Virgina Law Review, vol 86 Issues 4 (Summer 1984) pp.1169 -1274)
Mathews & Maier, Double Life of a Clown, 93 Newsweek 24 (Jan 8 1979)
Dr.Helen Morrison, “Psychiatric Analysis of John Wayne Gacy,” Jan 25, 1980 (psychiatric report submitted to the court)
Chicago Sun-Time, Mar 1 1980 at 6, col.3 - Gacy Implicated in Iowa Attack
C.Linedecker, The Man Who Killed Boys 40 (1980).
Douglas JE, Burgess AW, Burgess AG, Ressler RK. Crime classification manual: A standard system for investigating and classifying violent crimes (1992) New York: Simon and Schuster.
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