"I lost count of how many I killed" -Gacy

When Gacy was eventually caught, he admitted to killing 33 boys but, given the number, was unsure of all of their names and the exact chronology. He admits to his first killing in January 1972, with his second occurring in January 1974. After his second wife’s departure in late 1975 the rate of murder escalated dramatically. He admitted to the police that he had, on a number of occasions, killed more than one boy on the same day.Gacy's preferred approach was to invite the young men back to his home, where he would offer to show them a magic trick using “fake” handcuffs, which were part of his clown act. Once the victims were manacled the cuffs were shown to be real, at which point he would overpower them or drug them with chloroform, then strip and gag them, often with their own underwear. Torture and rape followed, then they were either garrotted or asphyxiated by their gags.

Many of Gacy’s victims lived outside of mainstream society, and worked as gay prostitutes, like Billy Carroll, but identified victims also included PDM employees, 17-year-old John Butkovich, who had a disagreement with Gacy over pay owed, and Gregory Godzik, also 17. John Szyc was an acquaintance of the PDM victims but others, like Michael Bonnin, 17, and 18-year-old Robert Gilroy, had no known reason to be in contact with Gacy.In May 1978 one young man had a narrow escape; Jeffrey Ringall was lured into Gacy’s car with the offer of a joint, then chloroformed and taken to Gacy’s home, where he was viciously raped and tortured. For some reason, Gacy chose not to kill him, and he was left in a local park. He was hospitalised and reported the incident to the police. Dissatisfied with their response, he painstakingly retraced the route the car had taken on the night of his attack, identified Gacy’s car and spent several weeks tracking down his home, at which point he confirmed Gacy’s identity and laid charges of sexual assault against him.