TV News Reports On The Execution Of John Wayne Gacy

British and American news reports from 1994 covering the death of the infamous serial killer.

As part of our continuing project of salvaging old TV broadcasts from our VHS archives, here are a couple of news reports about the execution of John Wayne Gacy, one of America’s most notorious serial killers.

Gacy’s crimes are probably familiar to most Reprobate readers but his death is something that is far less discussed. Gacy was convicted on March 12th 1980 of committing 33 murders, after the jury had deliberated for just under two hours. His date of execution was set for June that year but of course, was delayed again and again through countless appeals, meaning that he was on death row until May 9th 1994. While the appeals were down to Gacy and his legal teams, who can really blame him for using the legal system to stay alive for as long as possible? The system of appeal after appeal, denial after denial and never knowing just when your time will run out is something that also applies to death row convicts whose convictions are a lot less sound than Gacy’s and surely counts as cruel and unusual punishment. So, you might think, does botching the final execution, as happened here – the chemicals used to kill Gacy solidified in the tube, causing a ten-minute delay. It took the state 18 minutes to kill Gacy, and while the prosecutor commented sneeringly that “he got a much easier death than any of his victims”, that surely isn’t the point, unless the state of Illinois wanted to put itself on the same moral level as a psychopathic serial murderer. Execution is not supposed to be about sadistic revenge, but of course, that is exactly what it is. There is ultimately very little difference between Gacy and those responsible for putting him to death – all are driven by the belief that they have the right to take someone else’s life.

Gacy remains a true crime staple – his artwork is highly collectable (we’ll come back to that some other time) and he has been the subject of several films and documentaries – not nearly as many as Ted Bundy of course, but then Gacy was a lot less photogenic, even if his sideline as a clown does give him an extra creepy edge.

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