Will County provides DNA samples from John Wayne Gacy
By BRIAN STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org December 4, 2012 3:06PM
In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Chicago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, left, and sheriff's detective Jason Moran are photographed with three recently discovered vials of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy's blood. The sheriffs office is creating DNA profiles from the blood of Gacy and other executed killers and putting them in a national DNA database of profiles created from blood, semen, or strands of hair found at crime scenes and on the bodies of victims. What they hope to find is evidence that links the long-dead killers to the coldest of cold cases and prompt authorities in other states to submit the DNA of their own executed inmates and maybe evidence from decades-old crime scenes to help them solve their own cases. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:49AM
A reluctance to totally clean out the fridge means modern technology could potentially identify more victims of one of the most notorious serial killers.
John Wayne Gacy was convicted of raping and killing 33 boys and young men in the Chicago area between 1972 and 1978. Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994, at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.
Will County Coroner Patrick K. O’Neil was on hand to pronounce him dead and supervise the post-mortem examination.
Earlier this year, O’Neil saw news coverage of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s efforts to “bring additional closure” to Gacy’s murders using advances in forensic technology in the last 30 years.
“Their only blood sample (from Gacy) hadn’t been refrigerated and couldn’t be entered into a database,” O’Neil said. “We had a frozen sample from the execution.”
O’Neil said there is no real reason the extra tubes of blood from Gacy and three other executed prisoners were preserved, other than feeling they might be used someday.
Gacy’s DNA profile has now been added to the Combined DNA Index System, which the FBI uses to match convicted felons, murder victims, missing persons and DNA found at crime scenes, including cold cases.
The laws requiring prisoners to submit DNA samples went into effect years after Gacy was executed, but because O’Neil was legally required to determine his death was a “homicide” at the time, his blood was taken and he could now be put in the system. The Will County coroner and Cook County sheriff’s offices use the same dentist for investigations and were able to develop the project together.
Dart said having the DNA could discover if Gacy committed any other murders in other parts of the country and set a precedent for other agencies to submit biological samples of executed offenders to be included in the DNA index system and to help close cold cases.
O’Neil noted Gacy was seen in California, Indiana, Wisconsin and other states during the time he was known to be committing crimes.
“This has the potential to help bring closure to victims’ families who have gone so long without knowing what happened to their loved ones,” Dart said. “We are proud to have helped pave an additional avenue to do that.”
“Luckily we had the extra blood,” O’Neil said.
Investigator Gene Sullivan located Gacy’s blood along with samples from Walter Stewart, Durlynn Eddmonds and Lloyd Wayne Hampton.
Stewart and Eddmonds were executed on the same day in November 1997. Stewart murdered two men during a 1980 Berwyn jewelry store robbery. Eddmonds smothered a 9-year-old boy while raping him. Their DNA has also been put into the database.
Hampton, the final inmate executed at Stateville in January 1998, robbed and tortured a 69-year-old man in his motel room in Troy in 1990.
O’Neil said Hampton’s sample is being tested to see if it can also be added to the database.