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Serial Killer Has Big Plans for a Fortune in Book, Movie Rights

February 5, 1986 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ John Wayne Gacy, convicted of the sex murders of 33 young men and boys, considers himself a hot property worth millions of dollars in book and movie rights and thinks actor Rod Steiger should portray him on film, according to a new biography.

″He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most prolific serial killer in American history and he’s proud of it,″ said Tim Cahill, author of ″Buried Dreams.″

Cahill said he tried in the book ″to get inside the mind of Gacy, to explore his thought processes.″

Gacy, 43, was convicted of 33 counts of murder in March 1980 and sentenced to death.

Now on Death Row at Menard Correctional Center, he would like policeman- turne d-author Joseph Wambaugh to tell his story because Wambaugh ″had a sense of humor,″ Cahill writes. His book was based on interviews with unidentified sources and material from WLS-TV reporter Russ Ewing, who covered the case and maintains contact with Gacy.

Cahill writes that a movie envisioned by Gacy ″should be really classy. John ... was leaning toward Rod Steiger (to portray him). The guy was a powerful actor who had a lot of John’s ‘colorful charisma,’ and like John he could be really deep at times.″

The film would end with Gacy walking out of a mental institution after 90 days, saying as he stares into the camera, ″Gacy outsmarted you again.″

Cahill said Gacy was not directly involved in ″Buried Dreams″ and will see none of the proceeds.

Under state law, royalties from any works based on a specific crime cannot be given to the prisoner who committed them, said spokesman Al Manning in the attorney general’s office.

The movie plan ″is consistent with the Gacy personality,″ said Sam Amirante, an attorney who defended Gacy.

″We argued that he was insane during the murders,″ he said Wednesday. ″He still is.″

Twenty-seven of Gacy’s victims were buried in a crawlspace under his home. Others were found beneath the concrete floor of his garage and in nearby rivers.

Gacy acknowledged during his trial that he had sex with his victims, but claimed frequent blackouts and said he remembered killing only five. The first was stabbed to death; the others were strangled.

Gacy still entertains notions of escaping his death sentence, Cahill said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his home in Livingston, Mont.

″I have no doubt that he still thinks he’ll get out,″ William Kunkle, who prosecuted Gacy, said in an interview. ″He always had a tremendously overly inflated view of himself.″

The U.S. Supreme Court refused nearly a year ago to hear Gacy’s appeal of his conviction. A new appeal was to be filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Cahill, who spent nearly four years researching and writing the biography, said Gacy is a study in contradictions.

″He was a Democratic Party precinct captain, a guy who played a clown for kids, a chaplain for the Jaycees - someone who volunteered for everything and did it well.

″We just do not expect someone like that to be a killer, and when it happens we do not believe it.″

Emotionally abused by his father, who considered him a failure, Gacy achieved business success in Iowa with fast-food franchises. The local chapter of the Jaycees named him its ″outstanding member″ in 1967.

In 1968, Gacy pleaded guilty to a charge of sodomy involving a minor. He moved to the Chicago area after he was paroled in June 1970, having served 16 months of his 10-year sentence.

Working as a remodeling contractor in suburban Norwood, Gacy began building a reputation as an organizer of parties and parades and as ″Pogo,″ a clown who cheered up hospitalized children.