John Wayne Gacy's Last Words Were Nearly as Shocking as the Crimes That Got Him Executed

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Nov. 16 2023, Updated 2:49 p.m. ET

John Wayne Gacy in his mug shot
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • John Wayne Gacy was executed on May 10, 1994.
  • His last words were "kiss my a--."
  • One victim by the name of Jeffrey Rignall was able to escape.
  • Gacy also had his own 900 number from prison.
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"John Wayne Gacy was pronounced dead at 12:58 a.m." said Howard Peters III, the corrections director at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Ill., on May 10, 1994.

After spending 14 years in prison, the man responsible for the deaths of 33 young men and boys was finally executed. Outside of the prison, a crowd gathered to cheer and protest his death. If anyone was looking for regret or contrition during Gacy's final moments, they wouldn't find it. What were John Wayne Gacy's last words?

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What were John Wayne Gacy's last words?

John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. That was also the same day serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was baptized in the Wisconsin prison where he was serving 15 consecutive life sentences.

While strapped to the gurney that would ultimately be the last thing he felt before dying, Gacy was asked if he had anything to say. "Kiss my a--," he said.

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Gacy's execution didn't go smoothly. The Chicago Tribune reported that the "second of three drugs used to kill John Wayne Gacy early Tuesday briefly stopped flowing." This was partially due to the fact that the state prison official administering the drugs violated a "basic law of chemistry." His execution was delayed by 10 minutes while prison officials changed Gacy's "plastic tubing in an intravenous line feeding the chemicals into Gacy's right arm." Apparently, he didn't suffer.

One victim was able to escape from John Wayne Gacy.

According to a March 1986 piece in The Washington Post, Gacy somehow let one person escape from his deadly grasp. Jeffrey Rignall was lured into Gacy's car, which is the last thing he remembered before waking up in Gacy's home. He had been "stripped and was restrained in a kind of pillory device," Rignall told the outlet.

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The incident occurred nine years prior to the interview in March 1978 when then-26-year-old Rignall was walking to a gay bar. When Rignall woke up, Gacy was fixing himself a drink behind a bar. "There is a gun behind the bar and I'd just as soon kill you as look at you," Gacy told Rignall.

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Rignall was then brutally raped by Gacy while claiming another man was in the room. The following day he woke up beneath a statue in Lincoln Park. He walked home and was taken to the hospital by his girlfriend. Rignall was frustrated by the lack of interest in his story by police, so he took to the streets to search for Gacy himself.

Returning to the spot where he was taken, Rignall eventually saw Gacy's car and was able to follow him home. Unfortunately, authorities were still suspicious of Rignall's story. They were probably dipping into their homophobia to discredit him as a victim. So, Gacy wasn't apprehended that day. He would go on to kill four more people after that.

Rignall would later collapse on the stand during Gacy's trial while revealing details of what happened, per the Gadsden Times.

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John Wayne Gacy had his own 900 number in prison

Once upon a time, a 900 number was something a person or company could use to generate income. The individual calling the 900 number was charged for it, usually per minute. While in prison, Gacy set up his own 900 number, per the Chicago Tribune. "According to lawyers familiar with his phone-in stunt, as well as sources in the underground comic community, Gacy has taped and sent to a Florida firm a 900-number 'message' of up to 11 minutes," said the outlet.

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In the message, Gacy maintains his innocence in a rather incoherent fashion. He's babbling, while making very little sense. One source said it sounded as if Gacy had "lost any sense of reality." Some believe Gacy was doing this in order to establish that he was mentally unfit for execution. It obviously didn't work. While this is vaguely amusing, decades after he was caught the families of his victims eagerly awaited his death.

Richard Szyc's son John was one of Gacy's victims. Szyc told United Press International days before the execution, "He's getting off too easy." Szyc also said, "Somebody's been carrying him for 14 years. Look what it's done to all the families." All requests from family members to witness Gacy's execution were denied by the state due to "lack of space." While Szyc wanted to be there, he took a small bit of comfort in the fact that Gacy's end finally came.

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