One of two reasons: Number one, the most compelling reason: I truly believe in my heart to this day that, subconsciously, Gacy wanted to stop the killing — he wanted to be caught. I think he broke the mold at that point. He was dropping all of those hints to the police. He was doing different things. There was a last bit of sanity he had—sort of like the Jekyll and Hyde from the novel. The evil was completely taking over the good in John Gacy. I really think he broke his MO at that point. It was almost like he wanted to get caught. He did everything differently than he had in the past.
Another thought in that regard is that he was just becoming so… Evil was taking over, and his insanity was becoming so enraging that he couldn’t control himself anymore. He did this to Robert Piest. He’d been “smart” in concealing his crimes before that.
I think he was coming to a point, as defined by law in IL, of insanity when you suffer from a mental disease and cannot conform your conduct to requirements of the law or you cannot appreciate the criminality of your acts. I think he was getting to the point in his mental disease - -which we believed he had—that he couldn’t conform his conduct or appreciate the criminality of his acts.
The argument of the state was, of course, that he could. It was our argument that he was progressively getting worse and worse. So, I think it may have been a combination of really wanting to stop it with the good side of him and not being able to control himself any more—his illness was progressing.
The murders were becoming more and more frequent, and he was being less and less careful with each one. He was going out to the Des Plaines River with the last four bodies and throwing them off the bridge on the highway. Anyone passing in a car could have seen him.
As Gacy's defense attorney, you spent countless hours sifting through the horrific details of his crimes — all the while having to work with him on a very intimate level. How did you manage to remain professional and keep from being overwhelmed by emotion or revulsion?
I don’t think it’s that difficult when you are a lawyer or a physician who believes in the oath that you take. A physician takes the Hippocratic Oath; a lawyer takes an oath to protect the constitution. You focus on the issues. You focus on the matters at hand. You don’t think about the type of person you are representing. You are not a psychologist or a social worker—you are a lawyer. You are the person protecting that individual.