John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster

John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster

by Sam L. Amirante, Danny Broderick
4.0 22

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John Wayne Gacy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
nashvilledave More than 1 year ago
I have read Killer Clown by Terry Sullivan who was the prosecutor, and Chicago Killer by Joseph Kozenczak who was a Lieutenant with the Des Plaine Police Department during the investigation. This book really brings into perspective the great amount of work the defense has to to prepare a high profile defendant such as Gacy. Gacy was his own worst enemy, this book really gets inside and lets you really into the mind of a maniac. I enjoyed this book more than the others I have listed above. while I disagree with the defense on their claims of his mental standing, nonetheless and excellent read.
QKelly More than 1 year ago
In the book "John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster," former Gacy lawyer Sam L. Amirante writes: "The basis of our defense was to save his [Gacy's] life and allow him to stay in a structured environment where he could be studied and hopefully prevent a repeat of such horrific crimes." That is all well and good, but if the defense was conducted like the book's trial portions, I can see why the jury found Gacy guilty of serial killings. But first, let's look at the book as a whole, insanity defense aside. The book is good and well worth reading. The first part threw me a bit. It is apparently a fictionalized account told mostly from the point of view of Gacy's last victim. I found it a bit unsettling (and confusing, as there was no note to explain) that the authors presumed to know this young man's final thoughts and words. The parts about Gacy's interaction with his lawyers and his behavior are interesting. I love true crime and legal thrillers, and this book satisfied both these parts of me. Something Amirante writes repeatedly is that he 100 percent believes Gacy's brain was broken, that Gacy did not know what he was doing was wrong. I wish the book would have made a better case on this. For example, the authors do not present what their rebuttal arguments (if any) would have been for some of the state's claims/examples that Gacy was odd, but knew what he was doing was wrong. Bottom line: Good book, worth reading, but does not go deeply enough to explain why Gacy was insane - IF he was - and how he could have done what he did.
doodlemonkey More than 1 year ago
Great book, but chilling. Living in Illinois during this time, finding out how close his proximity was to me was shocking. The book is great and fills in details I had no idea about. Must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written by his defense attorney, we get to see things from Sam's perspective and his firm belief that even the most evil, in our judicial system, must receive adequate counsel.
twear01 More than 1 year ago
This book shows how the system works, even for the worst of criminals. It made proud to be an Americian.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hope you have this book in nook or electronic format soon. Was planning on buying it until I discovered it was not available....
JennDubb More than 1 year ago
The first half of the book reads like a fiction novel and tells all about Gacy's murders and background, which was a thrilling read. The second half of the book is about his trial from the perspective of the Defense. I don't particularly care for trial books, so the second half was not as thrilling to me as the first (especially since we already know the outcome of the trial).
Anonymous 8 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gave great insight to a defense lawyer and what it's like to defend even a guilty person and every one's right for a defense in this country no matter the crime .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LeylaColeman More than 1 year ago
I was deeply disappointed with this book.  I was looking for a perceptive, in-depth look into the mind of Gacy and his detailed accounts of what he did to his victims -- not out of morbid curiosity, but out of interest in understanding the mind of one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. I read the sample chapter, and was thoroughly intrigued enough to shell out ~$15 for the book.  However, that first chapter was unfortunately the best. This lawyer clearly had absolutely no understanding of how murderers "tick" -- especially organized offenders. He seemed convinced -- or perhaps this is merely lawyerly deviousness - that Gacy was insane.  This idiot actually believed that Gacy's "alter ego" John Hanley was not a carefully crafted ruse to make himself appear insane, but was a way of making himself [gacy] feel important as he was trolling for victims. How DUMB can you be?  While I admire his staunch belief in "innocent until proven guilty", it is abundantly clear that he walked away from Gacy with absolutely no understanding of what a cold-blooded, ruthless predator he was.  In fact, it seems that his sincere belief was that Gacy was simply insane, and needed to be put in some sort of prison mental hospital in order to be "studied" further.  Furthermore, he never gave any sort of explanation as to why he was so convinced of it.  Profilers like John Douglas, Robert Ressler, and John Hagmaier would have been disgusted with him.  If you REALLY want to know exactly how the mind of a serial killer works, read John Douglas' "Mindhunter", as well as "Inside the Mind of BTK".  THIS is a man who understands the deviousness of murderers, and who wouldn't be fooled by such idiotic ruses on Gacy's part.  In fact, Bob Ressler -- one of the foremost profilers/researchers into serial killers -- interviewed Gacy at length.  On a complete side note, the prose is terrible.  He may be a lawyer -- and judge, God save us! -- but he is a horrible writer.  I can't count how many times he asked the inane question "What is wrong with this guy?"  Ugh.  A complete waste of money.  I highly recommend NOT to buy this book, not even for people who are novices in the study of forensic psychology or true crime books.  Amazing as it is for me to say, the book manages to be BORING!  He spends inordinate amounts of time detailing the drudgery of drafting TRO complaints and filing motions, and precious little covering Gacy's personality, crimes, etc. and their history.  I wish I could get my money back, for surely there are other books on Gacy out there that are much better than this drivel.  I apologize for sounding so irate, but his utter lack of shrewdness towards this killer is infuriating.  He also spends precious little time dwelling over the individual victims.  He should have gone over their lives one by one, to honor and respect them.  Instead, it appears to me that he wrote this book to glorify his own role as Gacy's lead defense attorney.  In fact, I feel my suspicion is more than that, as he readily acknowledges that he likes the limelight and was not at all averse to his 15 minutes of fame.  Honestly, I'm disgusted with this man.  Just for a quick comparison, the book "Helter Skelter", written by the brilliant prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi, details the Charles Manson case.  And while he did not understand Manson's personality as well as psychological profilers did, he still understood everything about the case -- and, indeed, was instrumental in finding Manson in the first place -- than this Amirante could ever hope to, with his client, and Manson, imho, was a much more complicated knot to unravel than Gacy.  In short, this book is almost a paradox - boring sensationalism.  I highly recommend looking for information on Gacy elsewhere: anywhere else.  This guy has no clue what he's talking about.  Again, I suggest to all readers interested in this topic to start with Douglas' book Mindhunter.  You'll receive an education in how their minds really work -- in fact, you'll never be the same after you read it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
marthaspranger75 More than 1 year ago
Great book. Creepy details on this infamous serial killer and interesting points of view from the people unlucky enough to encounter him.
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Into the mind of a madman and how they defended him.
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Walks off