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'Killer Clown' John Wayne Gacy’s Attorney Believes Serial Killer Likely Had 20 More Victims

Gacy was convicted for killing at least 33 young men, ranging in age from 14 to 21.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Peacock
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Peacock

The defense attorney for a serial killer has shared crucial details on a case that shook the nation nearly four decades ago. John Wayne Gacy from Illinois earned the moniker of "Killer Clown" after committing horrifying atrocities on young boys for years, Fox reported.

Karen Conti was part of the defense team that fought on his behalf during death row appeals. She researched the case and had meetings with Gacy himself, before sharing her observations.

Image Source: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy posed for the above Des Plaines Police Department mug shot in December 1978. (Photo by Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images)
Image Source: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy posed for the above Des Plaines Police Department mug shot in December 1978. (Photo by Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images)

Gacy was convicted of murdering 33 young men and boys, in and around the Chicago area, the FBI reported. He reportedly buried most of his victims in his Norwood Park Township, Illinois, property located about 15 miles north of Chicago. 

In 2011, the remains of eight victims were exhumed from the property in hopes of identifying them, BBC reported. Three of those eight have received a name.

Gacy had two jobs, the Chicago Tribune reported. He ran a remodeling business and on the side, he also dressed up as “Pogo the Clown” at community parties. 


Gacy's modus operandi was to lure young men and boys to his home, and then strangle them, AETV reported.

In 1978, he came to the attention of authorities when 15-year-old Robert Piest went missing, Oxygen reported. His body was dumped in the Des Plaines River because there was no space anymore in the property.

The police found numerous bodies buried in the sprawling land, many of whom had been dismissed as runaways.


Conti penned a book titled Killing Time with John Wayne Gacy: Defending America's Most Evil Serial Killer on Death Row, Fox reported. She also explained why she believed that Gacy's number of victims was way more than 33.

Conti asserts that officials and crime sleuths should look more into Gacy's travel history to bring more victims to light.

"I'm almost positive about that," she told Fox News Digital.

"Gacy traveled during his crime spree, and he traveled to rural areas to do construction work. I actually saw his business records, which were meticulously kept," said Conti. 


Conti added that the man was out for business, sometimes for weeks. "I just can't imagine why he would stop killing during that time," she shared. Conti believes that rural areas, where Gacy often went, "would have made it easier to solicit, abduct young men and boys and to bury the bodies." 


In her opinion, investigators might have missed Gacy's victims in other locations because of the lack of tech support. But, now with all the advancements, she believes that pursuit could help find and identify new victims.

"We didn't have a database that was integrated at the time, but my guess is that if some podcast or sleuth were to go to these areas and look at these business records and try to figure out if there were people that went missing, they may connect the dots and conclude that what I'm saying is true," Conti added.


Conti speculated that Gacy possibly preyed on 20 more victims outside the suburban town's boundaries. She also believes that Gacy had help in committing these crimes.

She believes two other individuals were involved in the assault and murders Gacy committed. She points to the two men who were living with Gacy when he was on his killing spree.


"They were taking money and drugs from him, and they testified at trial that they actually dug the trenches underneath the house," Conti said.

"To me, it's impossible for them not to have known what they were doing and why they were doing that," Conti alleged.

She added that a man of Gacy's stature couldn't go into the crawlspace alone and bury the victims without help. She referenced Jeffrey Rignall's testimony to explain her point. 


Rignall was someone who was assaulted by Gacy but did not suffer the same fate as his other victims. Rignall was offered a ride from a local bar by Gacy, who then knocked him out by putting a chloroform-soaked rag on his face.

Court documents show that Rignall fell in and out of consciousness as he was sexually assuaulted. By the time he woke up, the victim was next to a Chicago statue, and Gacy was nowhere to be seen.

A West Virginia University Research paper documented that Rignall claimed in court that Gacy was aided by an accomplice.

No other arrests were ever made for the killings.


Though prosecutors never went down the route of investigating whether or not others helped the serial killer, Conti believes that it is a worthy angle to explore.

"It's my really strong feeling that these two young men helped procure the young men for Gacy and helped tie them down and maybe even helped perpetrate the crimes, certainly helped bury the bodies," Conti said. 


When speaking about his interactions with Gacy, Conti emphasized the killer's dry humor. "Gacy, for all of his evil acts, did not appear to be evil, and that is exactly why he got away with it," she said.

"He was very genial. He was affable. He was glib. He could be very aggressive with the other males on the team, but not so much with me," she noted. "He was a little softer with me."

In her opinion, humor was a tool Gacy used to get people to like him and deflect the truth about his darker side.  

Conti also claimed that humor was one of the weapons Gacy put to use to commit murders.

"And I think that was one of his tools in doing his crimes," she shared. "These people (like Gacy) are very manipulative and very interested in manipulating the people around them. And Gacy certainly was that."


Conti has been told that Gacy maintained his humor to the very end, The Fuzzy Mic reported.

Gacy was sentenced to die by lethal injection in May 1994, and he told guards that he wished it was by electric chair instead. "And the guards were like, ‘Why?’ And he was like, ‘Because then I’d ask you to hold my hand,'" Conti said. 

Conti also believes that Gacy was glad to be behind bars because he just wanted the killings to end. "He was in a frenzy (when he was arrested)," Conti said.

"A lot of serial killers, they start out killing once a year. Then, it ramps up. And they need more violence. They need more victims," Conti said. "So, I think Gacy, in the end, it was just wearing at him."

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