THE LOST CHILDHOODS, HORRIFIC CRIMES AND DEMENTED MINDS OF THOSE WHO KILL WITHOUT REMORSE.
They were born into this world as innocent children. They ended up as merciless killing machines. "How to Make a Serial Killer" leads you on an insightful, scary, and ultimately disturbing investigation into what made these infamous murderers go bad. Following the biographies and killing sprees of Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Washington D.C. snipers John Muhammad and Lee Molvo and many others, this book asks:
Is there really a demon seed ?
Do genes play a role?
Was it the killer s family background?
How did peer group pressure influence their murderous instincts?
Can it all be traced back to a shattering experience early in life?
"How to Make a Serial Killer" follows the lives of these lost souls from early childhood to dark destiny. It provides a fascinating look into the potential for disaster created by a violent and abusive upbringing. No matter what their crime, these killers are still human, and this book explores the twisted workings of their destructive minds.
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Christopher Berry-Dee and Steven Morris are the Editors of The New Criminologist. Berry-Dee is also the Director of the Criminology Research Centre and has written numerous books on murderers and serial killers.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
John Wayne Gacy: The Killing Clown
“The dead won’t bother you. It’s the living you’ve got to worry about.”
John Wayne Gacy on Death Row
John Gacy was executed by lethal injection at 12:10 am on Tuesday, May 10, 1994, at the Stateville Penitentiary, near Joliet, Illinois. Convicted for killing thirty-three young men between 1972 and 1978, he holds the record in America for the largest number of convictions for murder.
John Gacy was a serial killer who was unable to curb his homosexual homicidal perversions. He married twice, but also served a prison sentence in 1968 for committing sodomy. He was a very sexually confused individual. He worked at various times for the Kentucky Fried Chicken organization, as a shoe salesman and then as a building contractor. In 1971 he moved into a house in Norwood Park, a middle-class suburb of Chicago, which provided a base for both his contracting business and his homicidal activities.
Not unlike Dean Corll, whom Gacy admired, he also plied his prey with drinks and drugs, then using on them what he called his ‘handcuff trick.’ This is where he showed his victims how he was able to escape from a pair of handcuffs; when the victims tried to repeat the trick on themselves they would find themselves trapped and at his mercy. Gacy’s thirty-three victims were raped, sodomized and tortured. As with Corll’s modus operandi, many victims were strapped to Gacy’s own version of a torture board. Some were strangled, while others were suffocated to death or stabbed.
Thirty of Gacy’s victims were exhumed from the crawlspace beneath his house and the area around his property. Three corpses were found in the Des Plaines River. Only twenty-four of the bodies were identified.
Blue-eyed John Wayne Gacy came into the world at Edgewater Hospital on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1942. He was the second of Marion and John Stanley Gacy’s three children and their only son. Joanne was born two years earlier and, two years after John, Karen completed the family.
Marion Elaine Gacy, née Robinson, was an outspoken and gregarious woman from Racine, Wisconsin. A vivacious girl, she loved to dance, sing and enjoy a few drinks with her friends. She was also hardworking and had supported herself as a pharmacist prior to her marriage at the age of thirty. Her upbringing had been solid to the core. She was no abusive, hard-drinking butterfly; indeed, our focus is on a thoroughly decent woman.
The family patriarch, John Stanley Gacy Sr., was born in Chicago, the son of Polish immigrants. Quite the opposite of his wife, he was serious, self-contained, somber and largely incapable of displaying the gentler emotions such as happiness or sorrow. Nevertheless, he was remembered by colleagues as an industrious machinist, a perfectionist in a perfectionist’s trade, and he earned a good living.
At home, John Sr could do anything with his hands: carrying out household repairs, decorating, even creating his own tools – and beating his wife, which he did frequently. Quick-tempered, he could explode without any warning. At dinner, he would lash out at anyone who said so much as a word that displeased him. He also drank heavily, and believed that to spare the rod was to spoil the child.
It would be fair to say that John Jr. had the shakiest of starts in life, as he barely lived through a difficult breech birth. The Gacy’s home on Opal Street, Norridge, Chicago, was one of six houses on the street but retained its rural charm. Visitors noticed that prairie grass surrounding the house grew like electric wire in every direction.
Norridge was a small community of like-minded people who cared for their homes and their children. Residents kept livestock, including chickens and goats, and carefully tended their vegetable gardens. Doors were never locked and curtains never twitched with gossip. Everybody minded their own business and expected their neighbors to mind theirs, too.
Following his near-death birth, John Jr.’s start in life was not without further problems. One day, as John Stanley worked on his car, his four-year-old came out to help. However, he messed up a pile of parts that his father had neatly laid out in a specific order. Mr. Gacy liked things orderly. He was expected to deal with tolerances of a thousandth-of-an-inch at work and that, in his view, was the way things should be done at home. His mania for tolerances, however, didn’t extend to the treatment he meted out to his family, and little John was no exception. For this slight infraction, Gacy yelled at his son and whipped him with a belt. It was a thrashing John Wayne would remember for the rest of his life.
Around this time, Gacy later claimed that a fifteen-year-old local girl, who had minor learning difficulties, took John out into the long prairie grass and pulled his pants down. John ran off home and told his mother what had happened. The two families fell out over this incident and bad blood existed between them for years afterwards.
When John Gacy was on death row he revived this story as an example of a childhood trauma that contributed to his twisted development: “At the age of three, a fifteen-year-old girl... if you want to call it molesting... she was playing with my penis; and the parents walked in and broke it up. At age three, what do you know about what she’s doing?”
Aged about five, Johnny began to experience seizures that caused him to pass out for no apparent reason at all. The doctors who examined him did not immediately settle on a precise diagnosis; nevertheless, advising caution, they prescribed large quantities of strong barbiturates along with anticonvulsant drugs such as Phenytoin (Dilantin) and Phenobarbital, which are commonly used to treat seizure disorders and status epileptics.
Taken in small doses, these drugs have few harmful side-effects. However, John Jr. was pumped full of these pills. If he wasn’t well when he began taking these drugs, he was certainly worse off under their influence. Dilantin, for example, produces a plethora of side effects, including gingival hyperplasia of the gums – an uncontrollable growth of rapidly reddening gums that spreads throughout the mouth – and this was not all. This condition was followed by a veritable harvest of problems which reaped in ataxia, nystagmus (involuntary movement of the eyeballs), slurred speech, decreased coordination with an inability to execute fine motor skills or manipulate objects, and unpredictable muscle movements. Not surprisingly John suffered from insomnia, dizziness, transient nervousness and was plagued with headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation and, quite understandably, chronic depression. To cap it off, he also ran a very high risk of suffering toxic hepatitis and liver damage.
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