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John Wayne Gacy

JohnWayne Gacy


JohnWayne Gacy

Overthe past, the United States has experienced the impacts of moralturpitudes perpetrated by serial criminals who had psychologicalimpairments. It is important to understand the psychosocialconditions that surrounded the illegal activities perpetrated bythese serial murders to avoid future occurrences and educate thepublic. is one of the habitual serial criminals whosefrequent sexual abuse and murdering of teenage boys finally led tohis execution in 1994. However, Gacy experienced a difficultchildhood with an alcoholic, violent father who could physicallyabuse him with or without any provocation. Gacy also experiencedsexual abuses from a family friend, an experience he could not tellhis father due to fear of being blamed. These childhood experiencesare later on reflected in his life when he turns to abuse teenageboys and even murders some of them sexually. Gacy did not feel guiltyfor his inappropriate actions because he learned that violence is anintegral part of human relationships from the physical abuses heexperienced from his father. Freud’s theory can be used to explainthe interference with Gacy’s ego at childhood by the abuses thatmake him unable to learn moral behavior. Therefore, he was executedby a lethal injection to avoid constant conflicts with the societybecause he could continue to murder people, an action he did not seeas wrong at all.

TheCriminal’s Background

JohnWayne Gacy was born in Chicago, Illinois County, USA, on 17 March1942. He was the second born to John Stanley Gacy who was an autorepair machinist and Marion Elaine Robinson who was a homemaker(Gacy, 2010). Therefore, he was from the Danish and Polish ancestry.As a child, Gacy had a complicated relationship with his father whowas an alcoholic with a violent temper and could physically abuse hiswife and the children. However, Gacy had a good relationship with histwo sisters and the mother who took good care of them. According toCrime and Investigation (2015), Gacy’s father attributed him tofailure and accused him of being effeminate and sickly. The poorattitude of Gacy’s dad towards him led to Gacy’s fondling by afamily friend in 1949 without the father noticing because Gacy wasafraid to report such incidences to his father. He could notparticipate in sports at school due to a heart condition. Therefore,Gacy, being an average student, had very few friends at school andwas mocked by other students in school. However, he was courteous inschool and could easily volunteer to run errands for his teachers. Gacy was struck by a swing on the forehead at 11 years leading to acerebral clot that went undetected until age 16 when he startedexperiencing seizures (Gacy, 2010). However, his father accused himof faking a medical condition to obtain sympathy from him. The fathercould shout and beat Gacy without any prorogating reasons whether inpublic or private. Gacy appeared helpless before his father, and hismother could not defend him either.

Gacy’slife turned when he joined politics at the age of 18 to gainsatisfaction and appreciation from the society, something that henever received from his father. However, the father again criticizedthis step perceiving as a waste of time because Gacy had dropped outof school. Gacy did not finish his senior schooling before joiningpolitics. His father bought him a car after being a Democratic Partycandidate, and the father used to confiscate the car key to frustrateGacy. The constant frustrations led to the young Gacy moving to LasVegas to work in ambulance service and later as a mortuary attendant.As a mortuary attendant, one day he entered a coffin of a teenage andcaressed the body before experiencing a shock. He later returned homefollowing the frustrations in the mortuary. In 1963, Gacy graduatedin the Northwestern Business College and took the management traineepost in Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. He was later transferred in 1964 toSpringfield, Illinois to work as a salesman with subsequent promotionto manager role of the sales department. He got engaged to MarilynMyers who was a co-worker within his department, and they got marriedin September 1964.

Marlynn’sparents offered Gacy management job of Waterloo, Iowa Kentucky FriedChicken, and the new couples moved to Iowa from Springfield. AtWaterloo, the Gacy had a son and a daughter, and he continued to workat the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and later joined the Jaycees.Despite the rumors of his homosexual nature, Gacy was named as theoutstanding vice-president of the Waterloo Jaycees in the year 1967(Gacy, 2010). However, Jaycee life in Waterloo involved pornography,prostitution, and drugs that led to Gacy regularly cheating on hiswife. Gacy even opened a club for the young boys in the region wherethey could drink and Gacy could be sexually aggressive towards them.In March 1968, two boys aged 15 and 16 accused Gacy of sexually them,he proved himself innocent but later sent a youth to beat up one ofhis accusers leading to Gacy’s arrest. Before the end of 1968, Gacywas again accused of sodomy resulting to ten years sentence in theIowa State Penitentiary. While in prison, his father died, and thewife divorced him, and he never saw her or their two children (Crimeand Investigation, 2015). Gacy was paroled in 1970 for his goodbehavior after serving eighteen months in prison and moved toIllinois where he stayed with his mother.

Gacygot financial assistance from his mother enabling him to buy a housewith a four-foot deep crawl space basement room in Cook County.Later, Gacy was faced with charges of disorderly conduct in 1971 and1972 where two young men claimed that Gacy had forced them into sex.However, the two cases were dropped because the boys never appearedin the court. Gacy married Carole Hoff who was his teenageacquaintance in 1972, and they moved to stay in the Summerdale AvenueHouse in Cook County with Hoff’s daughters. Gacy’s murderbackgrounds began during this period. On January 3, 1972, Gacy pickedup one of the youths to his house where the boy was found dead thefollowing morning with Gacy’s explanation that he thought the boyintended to attack him with his kitchen knife (Gacy, 2010).Similarly, a teenager working for Gacy disappeared in 1975. Gacylured the young man into his home and strangled him to deathfollowing an argument over back pay between the two of them (CrimeMuseum, 2016). Gacy hid the body under his concrete garage floor.

Gacylater ventured into Contraction Company as a personal business in1975. Gacy’s marriage became unstable because he could go out ofthe house late and stay out the whole night. These actions togetherwith his tendency to bring gay pornography into the house led totheir divorce in March 1976. The divorce gave Gacy some freedom andled to his raping and killing of more young men totaling to 29 over afew years. The police did not take heed to investigate any of thesemurders until he killed a 15-year old boy who went to his home toinquire about his construction company in 1977 (Crime Museum, 2016).The Des Plaines Police performed a thorough search of Gacy’s homefollowing the incidence. He was arrested despite his insanity pleaand executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.

Explanationof the Criminal’s Behavior

Gacy’scriminal behavior of sexually abusing and murdering young men can beexplained regarding his biological, situational, and developmentalfactors. Gacy participated actively in other roles in the communitysuch as voluntary works and leading the Jaycees. Furthermore, heaccomplished his education in Northwestern Business College andperformed managerial roles in his job placements. Therefore, his lackof moral behavior cannot be attributed to insanity but rather otherissues that could have impacted his behavior such as his situationsat the time of the crimes, the biological predispositions, and hisdevelopmental history during childhood.

Biologically,the mishap in Gacy’s behavior could be attributed to the violenttemper of his father that he might have inherited from the parent.Also, he experienced seizures following a hit on the head duringchildhood. His father did not even take his blackouts seriously andstill blamed him for faking the blackouts. This might have led tobehavioral changes due to the traumatic damage to the brain.According to Diaz et al. (2012), traumatic brain injury can lead tofuture sequelae of personality changes. Therefore, Gacy might havedeveloped the violent behavior of murdering the young men followingthe previous brain injury that he expressed while young.

Thenext explanation to Gacy’s extreme violent behavior is attributedto his development conditions. Gacy experienced a difficultrelationship with an alcoholic violent further who could alwaysattack him and violently abuse him and his mother. Sigelman &ampRider (2014) opined that children raised in abusive environmentscould mature into abusers as well because they learn that violence isa normal part of human life. Therefore, Gacy learned that violenceand physical abuse of children are integral and regular in thesociety through the mistreatments from his father. Furthermore, theearly exposure to sodomy and sexual abuse that he could not report tohis father is translated to his future sexual assault and murderingof the teenagers. The sexual violence and murdering of the teenageboys by Gacy could also be attributed to his situation at that time.It is evident that Gacy became sexual aggressive towards the youngboys after the divorce of his first wife. The wife divorced Gacy whenhe was arrested and was sentenced to serve eighteen years in prison.He did not see his wife and their children even after he was releasedfrom the jail following his good behavior. Therefore, he did not havea wife to get sexual pleasure from and was lonely. Consequently, hefound himself in a situation whereby he had to look for alternativemeans of gaining sexual pleasure. Unfortunately, he had experiencedsexual abuses as a boy and learned that sexual aggression towardsyoung boys was to be followed by no guilt. As a result, he went aheadto abuse the young boys in his basement sexually. The acts ofmurdering are facilitated by issues such as the disagreements withhis teenage workers and the teenagers who file cases against him.Therefore, he murdered these teenagers as revenge for going againsthis wishes. Gacy also keeps on changing locations after he wasreleased from prison after the end of his 18 years sentence. He movesto Cook County where his previous criminal history is unknown, andtherefore, quickly convinces young boys who are not aware of hispast.

Onthe grounds of victimology, Gacy sexually abused and murdered teenageboys. The sexual aggression towards the young boys can be attributedto the sexual abuse he experienced while still young. The abuse bythe neighbor made him mature to know the vulnerability of the youngboys and that it is normal to abuse teenage boys sexually.

Applicationof Psychological Theories in Apprehension, Prosecution,Understanding, and Treatment of the Criminal

Theunderstanding of Gacy’s behavior was influenced by Freud’s theoryand the Neo-Freudian theory of criminality. These psychologicaltheories focus on an individual’s self-esteem. According to Webb,R. (2012), Freud’s theory postulates that superego results infeelings of guilt while the neo-freudism results in the need topunish and need to satisfy. These two theories fit Gacy’s casebecause his ego had been destroyed by the mischievous mistreatmentsby his father and the sexual abuse by the neighboring family friend. Therefore, he did not have any sense of feeling guilty while sexuallyabusing and murdering the boys. Similarly, Gacy felt the need topunish the boy who argued with him at workplace following salarydisagreements resulting to murder crime as noted by theneo-Freudians. Also, he felt a need to satisfy his sexual needs afterthe divorce that led him into sexually assaulting young boys. Gacywas prosecuted by a lethal injection in 1994. This prosecution wasinformed by the two Freudian theories because they ascertained thathis level of criminal activity was high based on his personaldecisions rather than insanity. Therefore, the prosecution by deathwas appropriate because his failure to be remorseful about hiskillings and sexual abuse meant he would not change his behaviors andcould still be a threat to the society. However, Gacy was not remorsefor his disorderly killings and sexual abuses, and therefore, killinghim was not a good compensation for the lives lost.

Lastly,there was no suitable treatment option for Gacy’s condition thatwas as a result of the long-term effects of his interaction with thesociety. He had lost his ego from childhood and felt no guilt formischievous behaviors in the society. Also, his history of childhoodabuses and mistreatments from his further could not be corrected atold age. Therefore, he could be in constant conflict with the societyand the community where he lived because he did not understand thevalue of moral behaviors. The Freud’s and neo-Freudism also helpsin the development of an understanding of the nature of the serialcriminals. It is evident that Gacy had several risk factors thatcould distort his moral behavior and perception of the world. He hadsituational, biological, and developmental predispositions.Biologically, he experienced traumatic brain injury during childhoodwhile developmentally, he was exposed to sexual abuse and physicalviolence as a child and this led to his poor ego. On the grounds ofsituational predispositions, Gacy did not have a wife at the time hebecame overwhelmingly aggressive towards the teenage boys, sexuallyabusing and murdering them. Therefore, a conclusion can be made onthe understanding of serial criminals such as Gacy that they havemore than one risk factor that can be attributed to their sociallyunacceptable behaviors.

Inconclusion, was a serial criminal who murdered andsexually abused teenage boys before his prosecution in 1994 by alethal injection. However, these gross misconducts of Gacy can belargely attributed to the sexual abuse he experienced during hischildhood and the violent mistreatments he received from his fatheras he grew up. Gacy’s wife divorced him, and this further put himat risk of sexually abusing young boys to satisfy his sexual desires.However, he murders the young boys who retaliate against him due tothe need to revenge such retaliation. Gacy is a typical serialcriminal who did not understand the importance of moral behavior andhad no guilt for sexually abusing and murdering young boys.Therefore, his execution was a strategy to avoid constant conflictbetween him and the society.


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