ON the day John Wayne Gacy was executed, fellow serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was also preparing to meet his creator.
Dahmer did not face the death penalty for murdering his victims, also boys and young men, but by a strange coincidence he was baptized in prison as he sought redemption for his horrific crimes.
The day of March 10, 1994, which links the two murderers, who between them killed 50 young men and boys, is all the more strange because there was a solar eclipse.
Gacy marked the end of his life with a defiant send-off, telling those who gathered to see his execution to “kiss my ass”.
Born on March 17, 1942, John Wayne Gacy began his crime spree with a series of sexual assaults for which he was convicted in 1968.
He would lure his victims with the promise of construction work.
When he was released from prison in 1970, Gacy faced multiple allegations of sexual assault.
Gacy terrorized the Chicago area for six years until 1978 and earned his chilling nickname “killer clown” after it emerged he worked as a clown prior to his crimes.
His first victim was 16-year-old Timothy McCoy, whom he stabbed to death after picking him up from a bus terminal.
It is at his home in Chicago that he would claim his victims.
He trapped boys and young men in his house and pretended to perform magic tricks on them, often in his clown persona.
After convincing his victims to put on a pair of handcuffs, he raped and tortured them before killing his captive.
He would then bury several of his victims under his house.
Police were investigating the disappearance of teenager Robert Piest, with Gacy the last person believed to have been with the 15-year-old, when they made a gruesome discovery.
They came across the bodies of 29 boys and young men while four other bodies were found in the Des Plaines River.
The smell of the bodies had been building up for years, but Gacy dismissed the questions, saying it was just a buildup of dampness.
In another bizarre coincidence, Gacy was arrested in 1978 – the same year Dahmer, nicknamed the Milwaukee Cannibal, killed his first victim, Steven Hicks.
Nicknamed “The Milwaukee Cannibal”, Dahmer killed and dismembered at least 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
He murdered and dismembered 17 men over a period of 13 years before being apprehended by authorities and upon his arrest police also made a grisly discovery.
They came across seven skulls, two hearts, severed hands, skeletons and dismembered torsos, along with Polaroid photos of the victims, saws, knives, a drill and acid.
Dahmer was sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences in 1992.
During his time behind bars, prisoners remember him shaping his food into body parts and injecting ketchup into them to replicate blood, as if in reference to his macabre cannibalism.
Dahmer was killed by Christopher Scarver, another inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, on November 28, 1994.
Just before his death, it was reported that he had found God while in prison after receiving religious materials from Curt Booth, a member of the Crescent Church of Christ in Oklahoma.
Booth had seen an interview Dahmer had given in which he said he wished he could “find some peace,” according to the Oklahoman.
Dahmer responded to Booth by thanking him for the classes but said he was “worried” he couldn’t find a pastor to perform the baptism.
Booth then contacted Roy Ratcliff, an evangelist at Madison Church of Christ in Wisconsin.
Ratcliff set up weekly Bible lessons with Dahmer and baptized him on May 10, pushing him underwater until he was completely submerged.
“I tried several other (preachers) but they were a little scared to come in,” Booth said afterwards.