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CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been 17 years since he was executed for killing 33 young men, but the name John Wayne Gacy still sends shivers up the spine.
Now, Gacy’s defense lawyer, Sam Amirante, is breaking his silence and explaining why he defended the killer clown.
“John Gacy was the master manipulator, probably one of the greatest con men ever born, very intelligent,” Amirante told CBS 2′s Walter Jacobson.
Gacy was also a sadistic murderer convicted of killing at least 33 boys, burying many of them in the crawl space below his infamous northwest suburban home.
CBS 2′s Walter Jacobson spoke with John Wayne Gacy in an exclusive interview on death row in 1992.
Gacy told him, “When they paint the image that I was a monster who picked up these altar boys like flies, this is ludicrous.”
In 1992, Gacy denied killing anyone, but Amirante remembers the night Gacy confessed to the crimes.
“He said I’ve been the judge, jury, and executioner of many people, now I want to be my own judge, jury, and executioner,” Amirante recalled.
Amirante said he asked his client, “What are you talking about?”
“And Walter, my heart just started pounding.”
Jacobson met with Amirante to discuss his new book and to ask some questions that still gnaw at Americans fascinated by the gruesome case.
Why defend a cold-blooded killer?
“Absolutely everybody deserves a defense,” said Amirante. “It’s irrelevant what they’ve done and what they’re accused of. It’s my job as a lawyer and I believe in that passionately.”
His recently released book, “John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster”, includes chilling, never before told details.
When asked if he thought Gacy would have killed again had his case been dismissed, Amirante did not hesitate.
“He did tell me that he was going to put a second story on his house because he ran out of room for the bodies,” he said.
“He didn’t want to run all the way to Joliet in the Des Plaines River again to dispose of the bodies. He’d be able to do it conveniently in his house between the stories of his house.”
And how would Amirante have felt if Gacy had been cleared of the crime and killed again?
“I would not have had a bad feeling if I won the case because that’s my job, to defend and protect the Constitution,” Amirante said.
Ultimately though, Amirante’s efforts failed, and Gacy was eventually executed in 1994.
Amirante still has the bright-colored suits Gacy wore in court with his mints in the vest pocket, his Bible and a portrait Gacy drew of Amirante.
Does Amirante think Gacy is in heaven or hell?
“That’s something only God knows,” Amirante replied. “I’m not about to guess.”