Saturday, March 31, 2012

Give it a rest, already!

It has been nearly 18 years since the date that I went into the old Stateville Correctional Center to watch a homicide committed in the name of “justice” – as in the execution by lethal injection of John Gacy.

That date was some 16 years after Gacy went from being a respectable citizen who once met first lady Rosalyn Carter (left) and was a clown at children’s parties, to the guy who abducted and killed young men and stuffed their remains in the crawl space of his home.

AND SOME OF those incidents were nearly a decade old by the time police got around to arresting Gacy.

My point? This is an old case, one so old that I question how much of the physical “evidence” remains in a state solid enough to be worth anything to a credible investigation.

So I really have to wonder what the point is in terms of any law enforcement entity thinking that there is more to be found at this late date some two score after the original incidents.

Which is why I was kind of pleased to read the reports on Friday about how the Cook County state’s attorney is refusing to let the county sheriff do some more digging at sites where they think more bodies, more remains or more evidence could be found.

OFFICIALLY, THERE ISN’T enough “probable cause” to believe that anything would be found by such digging.

Although I believe even if they found “something,” it would be so weak that it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

So excuse me for thinking that the idea of continuing to investigate the “crimes” of John Gacy is something amounting to a waste of time. I’d like to think our law enforcement people have more important things to worry about.

Perhaps there are some unsolved cases that could get their attention, rather than delving into a case where the prosecution took place more than three decades ago and where the ultimate punishment has already been served.

DOES ANYONE THINK Gacy will come back to life so he could be put on trial again?

Even if that were physically possible, it’s not like we have a death penalty in this state any longer. And propping up the corpse of John Gacy in a prison cell for eternal incarceration strikes me as being even more incredibly twisted than continued investigation.

Heck, would Gacy corpse tampering qualify for prosecution under the bill being reviewed by the Illinois General Assembly this spring that makes necrophilia a crime? Because it would be corpse tampering!

But let’s get serious.

WE MAY WELL have to accept the fact that we already know all we’re ever going to know about the Gacy crimes. Too much time has passed for us to figure out the remaining unknown details.

Evidence deteriorates with time. Which may well have been the ultimate strategy of William Heirens, the longest-serving Illinois inmate who died earlier this month for a trio of slayings in 1946.

He claimed in recent years that he “didn’t do it” and that he was pressured into making the confession that prosecutors threw in his face every time he sought parole. Perhaps he thought that the fingerprints and lipstick smudges on mirrors didn’t mean as much now that they didn’t physically exist anymore.

If you want the truth, it wouldn’t shock me to learn that someone, someday tries to argue for the innocence of John Gacy himself. Not that I expect anyone of any real sense to buy into it.

BUT I WOULD give such a legal effort about as much credibility as I would any further results found in an investigation into Gacy’s guilt.
DART: Idle time?

Even if the latest effort is being inspired by a now-retired Chicago cop who claims he recalls seeing Gacy once with a shovel digging in a certain area – the area that officials checked in 1998, found nothing of substance, but want to check again.

It all comes off as too much of an effort to get one’s name in the papers (or in the 21st Century, one’s name all over the Internet search functions).

Does Tom Dart really need any more public attention? Perhaps we should focus our attention on trying to find things for him to do that will keep him busy.


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