Authors: Judge Sam Amirante
JOHN WAYNE GACY
DEFENDING A MONSTER
SAM L. AMIRANTE
Copyright © 2011 by Sam L. Amirante and Danny Broderick
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the
express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or
articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Skyhorse Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
Skyhorse Publishing books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion,
corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created
to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales Department,
Skyhorse Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor,
New York, NY 10018 or
Skyhorse® and Skyhorse Publishing® are registered trademarks
of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.®, a Delaware corporation.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.
Printed in the United States of America
For our kids:
Jack and Patrick
this country was in its birth throes, the most hated man in America was a man named Captain Thomas Preston. He was the commander of a small cadre of British soldiers who fired upon a gathering of disgruntled colonists, killing five. This event came to be known as the Boston Massacre. The five men who died as a result of this event are considered by most historians to be the first casualties of the Revolutionary War.
As is always the case, there were two sides to the story as to why this tragedy occurred. The colonists, led primarily by Sam Adams, one of the most outspoken writers and revolutionaries of the day, claimed that the British fired upon a peaceful crowd and killed five patriots without just cause. The British soldiers claimed that they had fired upon an angry mob in self-defense.
There are two reasons that will cause good men to abandon their long-standing, dearly held morals, values, and principles and revert to more primitive, barbaric practices to resolve conflict. That is when their hearts are filled with anger or when their hearts are filled with fear.
Because the colonists were angry over taxes imposed by the British without representation, along with other perceived injustices, and because they were fearful of the sheer might of the British Crown, in general, and of the soldiers that were now being billeted
in their town to quell potential uprisings, in particular, their hearts were filled with both.
They wanted revenge against the British captain and the British soldiers under his command. Evidence be damned, facts be damned, they wanted revenge that was swift and sure. They wanted the heads of the captain and his men on a spit.
One man came forth and said loud and clear, “I stand for the law.”
The man that took the soldiers’ case when no other man would stand in their defense was John Adams.
John Adams, one of our nation’s true founding fathers, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, our first vice president, our second president of the United States, a man of principle. (He was also Sam Adam’s cousin and friend.
His response was said to be this: “Counsel is the last thing an accused person should lack in a free country.” He agreed to defend these men in spite of what it might do to his reputation, to his law practice, or to his future plans. He took the case because he believed that free men had certain rights. These were among the heartfelt principles on which he built his life.
Those principles are woven into the fabric of our Constitution. Those principles represent
principles as Americans. Every person accused of a crime shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of his peers. Every person so accused shall have the right to face his accuser in a court of law. Every person so accused shall have the right to counsel.
Many men have fought and died to preserve those principles, those rights.
So keep that in mind when you hear someone say that this crime is too gruesome, or this person is too dangerous, or this issue is too complicated to allow those principles to stand.
(This includes the frightened flock that today seeks to exclude terrorists from those principles.)
Keep in mind that the very men that John Adams defended were uniformed members of an army of a foreign power that would soon become an enemy. Still, they had their day in court. There is no just cause or justification to usurp the Constitution.
Remember the words of Judge Louis Garippo when he said through tears of pride, “What we do for the John Gacys, we’ll do for everyone.”
I will serve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
That is the oath we ask our president to take, together with every other person in public service. Every member of our military takes that oath. Every lawyer takes that oath. Every American citizen lives by that oath.
It does not say, “I will serve, protect, and defend the popularity polls, or the will of the people, or the frightened masses.” It does not say, “I will serve, protect, and defend the Constitution,
…” There are no conditions or qualifications.
When harried and nervous people jump in front of microphones and scream and rail that we should suddenly do something in direct contravention to that upon which we have based our very system of justice; when they tell you that we should abandon that which men have fought and died for and which has worked so well since the beginning of this beautiful experiment that we call America in favor of that which we have always criticized about lesser countries …
Kindly … invite them to pound sand.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
—The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States of America
AM, COULD YOU
do me a favor?”
A telephone call, seven short words, a simple-enough request. That’s how it all began.
I knew the guy on the other end of the line. Everyone on the Northwest Side did. He was a political wannabe, one of those guys that was always around, talking about all the big shots he knew, hoping that the importance of others would rub off on him, a nice-enough guy—maybe a little pushy, a bit of a blowhard, telling tall tales, but still, a nice-enough guy. He was a precinct captain for the Norwood Park Township Regular Democratic Organization, and so was I. He was actually one of the best precinct captains they ever had, better than me, some might tell you. He really brought in the votes for that tiny organization.
I had met him at one function or another. He always bought a full table at all the fund-raisers, ten tickets, which translated into a sizable contribution to the party; and then he’d fill the ten seats with kids that looked like they really didn’t wear business suits very often, unsophisticated … that would be a kind way to put it. They were usually his employees, young kids that worked for his contracting business.
Plus, he was on the Norwood Park Township Street Lighting District as a trustee, the secretary-treasurer, and I did some volunteer work on the side for the district. I was their lawyer. So I knew him.
“What’s the problem, John?”
“You know all of the coppers over in Des Plaines, don’t you, Sam?”
“Sure, John, I know most of them. We all used to work on different sides of the same building. I have worked on cases with most of them. Why?”
“Well, the Des Plaines police are following me around wherever I go. I have no idea why, but they’re starting to cause problems for my business. It’s really beginning to annoy me, Sam. It’s getting nuts. Could you ask around and try to find out what the fuck they want, what they think I did, why the hell they are harassing me like this?”
He seemed genuinely upset—livid, one might say.
“What do you mean following you around wherever you go? How do you know?” Maybe he was just paranoid, imagining things, I thought.
There was a disgusted chuckle at the other end of the line. “If I am at a restaurant having breakfast in a booth, they are in the booth next to me. If I stop at a gas station to get gas, they are waiting across the street for me to finish. Wherever I go, they follow. No matter how fast I drive or how slow I drive, they are always right behind me. They sit outside of my house all night long until I leave in the morning. Then we all leave together. My neighbors are starting to complain.”
Hmm, maybe this wasn’t just paranoia.
I sat there wondering why in the world the Des Plaines police would have any interest whatsoever, but especially such an intense interest, in this rather-overblown, self-important hanger-on.
“How long has this been going on, John?”
“A few days, I think.”
“And you have no idea why they are interested in you?”
“One of them said something about a missing teenager. I don’t know. I sure as hell don’t know anything about any missing kid.”
“Let me see what I can find out. I will look into it.”
“I’ll owe you one, Sam. I really appreciate this.”
“Call me tomorrow.”
I hung up the phone and thought for a second about how John Gacy had once been to my house in his capacity as a contractor. My wife and I were planning an addition to our home to accommodate our expanding family. Our second son, Jimmy, had been born, and we wanted to add a new room, a nursery. That’s what my wife, Mary, called it, anyway. I called it a bedroom.
We did not end up hiring him, but we seriously considered it. So, like I said, I knew him. I thought I knew him pretty well. What I didn’t know, however, what he didn’t mention during our short telephone conversation, was this:
On Monday, December 11, 1978, just three short days previous, John Wayne Gacy had an appointment at Nisson Pharmacy, a busy drug and sundries store located at 1920 E. Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines, Illinois. He had done some remodeling work at that establishment in the past, and when brothers Phil and Larry Torf, the owners of the store, decided to add some shelving and make some other changes, Phil called John.