The Killer Clown & The Milwaukee Cannibal


Ariana Brandon

The two stories of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer are two of many notorious killers in U.S history. They were both convicted of murder and rape of young boys and men from ages 13 to 33. The two combined admitted to killing 50 men and boys, Gacy with 33 and Dahmer with 17. Unlike Gacy, Dahmer waited AFTER he murdered his victims to indulge in sexual activities with them. While the two engaged in similar acts they both had different M.O and uprisings that caused them to become how they were. I will be going into detail about both of the two individuals’ pasts and how they have now affected the present and the media

John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. He was said to have had a fairly normal childhood and was raised by a blue-collar family. His Father, however, had drinking issues and would frequently take his anger out on Gacy which caused Gacy to have a lot of identity issues including his sexuality. He never came out because of his father and the period. After this, he started to have an interest in sadism and fantasies which got him into a few legal issues over the years. Over the years everyone knew and loved the neighborhood. He was a very social man who not only ran a business but dressed as a clown for town parties he threw or even when he would visit the children’s hospital. His killings began in the 1970s, shortly after he was arrested in 1968 for the sodomy of a teenage boy in Iowa. Most believe the anger he took out on his victims was a result of his fathers towards him and the confusion about his sexuality. He killed most of his victims by tricking them into handcuffs with a promised magic trick and then strangling them. After he killed and raped his victims he would bury them in his home in Iowa. His identity crisis is another reason he hid behind the “Pogo the clown” persona.

 He and his fiance moved to Springfield Illinois. Then to Iowa where his father-in-law owned the McDonald’s. He and his wife had a son and daughter who Gacy treated better than his father treated them, he said he did not believe in hitting, hitting children at least. After being convicted of his crimes he was sentenced to the death penalty and he received the lethal injection in 1944.

The story of Jeffery Dahmer however has less family abuse and killings but just as much of a twisted mind. Jeffery was born on May 21, 1960, in Milwaukee, WI. He grew up in a decent family were the only real problem was the love between his mother and father. His mother was depressed and had multiple failed suicide attempts. He had a good relationship with his father and they shared an interest in the dissection of animals. His father’s job as a chemist caused the family to move around a lot. His mother despised this and it caused Jefferey to have a not-as-good relationship with her. He was bullied a lot during school and this caused him to take his anger out on the dead animals and dissect and mutilate their bodies. Jeffery’s sexual identity was not as hard for him to understand as Gacy’s was. He just enjoyed the thought of death. He generally picked out his victims from gay bars or malls. Dahmer’s first victim was a white male who when he tried to keep the remains of this young man, accidentally stripped the bones of nutrients causing him to be very upset and rage out. Dahmer was diagnosed with multiple mental and personality disorders including schizoid. This caused him to be socially distant from others. Dahmer’s work consisted of Drugging his victims and then killing them, usually by strangulation but sometimes he would just see some of their skulls open taking out pieces of the brain, after the killing he would engage in sexual intercourse with the corpse. Once he was done depending on the victim he would sometimes sleep next to them before dissecting their body parts and preserving parts of them to eat or keep as a souvenir. He was arrested on July 22 1991 after he took one of his victims home, Tracy Edwards,  and the man escaped. Unlike Gacy Dahmer had a certain type besides younger boys, he typically only killed men of color such as African American, Asian and Hispanic men. Usually African American. Dahmer was sentenced to life in prison and was killed by a former inmate at age 34


The podcast Serial Killers by Parcast on Spotify, episodes “Jeffery Dahmer special pt. 1” and “The Killer Clown’- John Wayne Gacy” are sources I used for this article. The new Dahmer series also was used along with the tapes of Dahmer and Gacy for insight. Jeffrey’s First victim was 18-year-old Steven hick. Gacy’s however was Timothy Jack Mcoy age 16. Another difference between the two is the ages of the victims. The oldest victim of Gacy was 19, unlike Dahmer who was 23.

 John Wayne Gacy List of victims 

  • Timothy Jack McCoy, 16
  • John Butkovich, 18
  • Darrell Julius Samson, 18
  • Randall Wayne Reffett, 15
  • Samuel G Dodd Stapleton, 14
  • Michael Lawrence Bonnin, 17
  • William Huey Carroll Jr, 16
  • James Byron Haakenson, 16
  • Rick Louis Johnston, 17
  • Kenneth Ray Parker, 16
  • Michael M Marino, 14
  • William George Bundy, 19
  • Francis Wayne Alexander, 21
  • Gregory John Godzik, 17
  • John Alan Szyc, 19
  • Jon Steven Prestidge, 20
  • Matthew Walter Bowman, 19
  • Robert Edward Gilroy Jr, 18
  • John Anthony Mowery, 19
  • Russell Lloyd Nelson, 21
  • Robert David Winch, 16
  • Tommy Joe Boling, 20
  • David Paul Talsma, 19
  • William Wayne Kindred, 19
  • Timothy David O’Rourke, 20
  • Frank William Landingin, 19
  • James Mazzara, 20
  • Robert Jerome Priest, 15

5 Unidentified bodies as of 2022.


Jeffery Dahmer’s list of Victims

  • June 18, 1978: Steven Hicks, 18
  • November 20, 1987: Steven Tuomi, 24
  • January 16, 1987: Jamie Doxtator, 14
  • March 24, 1988: Richard Guerrero, 25
  • March 25, 1989: Anthony Sears, 26
  • May 20, 1990: Raymond Smith (also went by “Ricky Beeks”), 33
  • June 1990: Edward W. Smith, 28
  • September 1990: Ernest Miller, 22
  • September 24, 1990: David C. Thomas, 23
  • February 18, 1991: Curtis Straughter, 18
  • April 7, 1991: Errol Lindsey, 19
  • May 24, 1991: Anthony “Tony” Hughes, 31
  • May 27, 1991: Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14
  • June 30, 1991: Matt Turner, 20
  • July 5, 1991: Jeremiah Weinberger, 23
  • July 15, 1991: Oliver Lacy, 23
  • July 19, 1991: Joseph Bradehoft, 25

I believe now the media a racing with stories about the two because number one: gacy hid behind a persona that became known as the killer clown which inspired the steven king book IT, Causing an uproar in the clown costume being a scary figure instead of a pleasant entertainer. And recently through the years, there’s been many events involving clowns sending people into fits that all turn back around to Gacy. Number two: Dahmer is a part of history much like other serial killers, it’s naturally going to come back around. Also with the New tv show coming out, A Lot like when the ted Bundy tapes and movies came out. He became popular. But teens don’t understand that these are bad people and their praise of them is insensitive to the family of the victims and making them more famous for their notorious crimes is not a good idea. Many can admit the topic of true crime is very interesting, or else I wouldn’t be writing this article right now.