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Witnesses shed new light on John Wayne Gacy murder, suggest he had accomplice

AP

John Wayne Gacy was convicted of murdering 33 young men between 1972 and 1978.

Three people have come forward with new information that suggests serial killer John Wayne Gacy had an accomplice in some of his grisly rape and torture murders, two Chicago lawyers say.

The three were friends of one of Gacy’s 33 victims, John Mowery, and their stories indicate Mowery’s roommate had a hand in his death, criminal defense attorneys Robert Stephenson and Steven Becker say.

“We conclusively believe this individual was involved as an accomplice at least in this one (murder), and we suspect others as well,” Stephenson told msnbc.com on Friday.


Mowery, a 19-year-old former Marine, disappeared the night of Sept. 25, 1977. He was last seen alive leaving his mother’s house in Chicago after dinner. His body was among 29 corpses of young men and boys found buried on Gacy’s property in an unincorporated part of Norwood Park Township, a little over a dozen miles outside Chicago, in 1978. Four other victims were dumped in a river.

Becker and Stephenson said they recently spoke with two women and a man who knew Mowery. According to their accounts, a man who knew Gacy moved into Mowery’s Chicago apartment three days before Mowery went missing.

The day after Mowery disappeared, the two women went to his apartment looking for him. While there, they say, the roommate told them he knew of a location in the Chicago area where dead bodies were stored.

“He told us that he knew of a location where there were a bunch of dead bodies that nobody knew about, not even the police, which I remember very clearly because he said this with such a terrible smirk on his face,” one of the women told WGN.  (The women also spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times. Neither WGN nor the Sun-Times used their names because the women said they still fear the roommate.)

The roommate also reportedly said Mowery probably just took off on a trip and tried to persuade one of the women to take Mowery’s dog.

“If John was simply on his trip, there would be no need to give John’s dog away and seems to imply that Accomplice knew John was not coming back,” Stephenson and Becker conclude in a written summary.

They also said it’s unlikely that Gacy had enough time to kill Mowery and bury the body alone, and then show up for work at 6 o’clock the next morning at his contractor’s job in Michigan.

Mowery’s roommate would later testify as a prosecution witness at Gacy’s trial. He told the court he helped dig a trench in the crawlspace of Gacy’s home where most of the victims were found. But he denied knowing about any of the murders.

Stephenson and Becker say the roommate also matches the description of a second attacker that a man who survived a March 1978 sexual attack in Gacy’s home gave to authorities.

Related: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say

Msnbc.com is not naming the former roommate because he has not been charged in the Gacy case. Stephenson and Becker said the man is apparently still living in the Chicago area. A message msnbc.com left at the telephone number the lawyers provided for the man was not returned.

Court records provided by Stephenson and Becker indicate the man served prison time in 2003 on a state aggravated battery charge for attacking a man with a bat. He was also among nine people indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2003 in an alleged conspiracy to burn down movie theaters in retaliation for labor contract disputes. He served 31 months in prison for that crime, according to Stephenson.

Stephenson and Becker have been pursuing new leads in the Gacy case on their own time for several months. They say the evidence they’ve uncovered suggests the so-called “Killer Clown” had help carrying out some of the murders.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has said it will review the lawyers’ findings and pursue investigations as warranted.

"Have we ruled out that someone would have helped Gacy in one or more of the murders? No," Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart told msnbc.com last week.

Stephenson and Becker say the women in the Mowery case contacted Chicago police at the time about their encounter with the roommate but their information was never followed up on or forwarded to prosecutors working on the Gacy case.

“Had they known this accomplice moved in with John Mowery three days before he disappeared I think that would have changed the nature of this investigation,” Stephenson said. “This guy was an accomplice. There’s no other way to explain the connections."

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