A Gacy Postscript

Last night, we did a segment with Sam Amirante, one of the lawyers who defended John Wayne Gacy at his trial.  Amirante has co-authored a book about his experience as Gacy’s lawyer, John Wayne Gacy:  Defending a Monster.  Amirante was a riveting guest with tales about the alcohol-aided conversation in which Gacy finally admitted to him the extent of his crimes and how Gacy used his rosary (which he always carried with him) to demonstrate to prosecutors how he would use a rope to strangle his victims.  If you didn’t have a chance to see the interview, click here for the link.

But he told me a story off-camera that I wished we’d gotten to during the interview. Amirante did not defend Gacy on appeal; other attorneys did.  Once when Gacy was on Death Row, he called one of his attorneys to complain about something.  Apparently that was not a surprise to the attorney, as Gacy apparently called her frequently.  This time he was calling to complain about the temperature  in his cell.  He told his attorney that it was so hot that the paint was peeling off the walls.  The attorney listened, paused for a second and then replied, “John, if you think it’s hot now, just wait.”

John Wayne Gacy went to his grave having convinced himself that he had not committed the crimes after all.  How he convinced himself of that is a mystery.  Also a mystery–the setting of his current thermostat.

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  • Michelle Sura

    That was a terrific interview, Phil. Sam Amirante was indeed riveting.

  • John Hahn

    Strange world. Sam Amirante mentioned moving from Des Plaines to a Park Ridge law office. On my Park Ridge lawn today, I was spreading 50# of lime to improve the turf. It was then the creepy thought arrived…Mr. Gacy also used a lot of lime!

  • Marge Collins

    Phil –
    Your interview with Sam Amirante was very interesting – as are so many others on Chicago Tonight …… but please have someone check the shelves on the set. Some look like they are sagging! No need to re-do the set – somone can glue a strip or two of something on the underside of the shelves to stiffen them. ….. Sorry to mention this but it’s been a distraction — or is it an optical illusion??