john wayne gacy death

The shocking story behind John Wayne Gacy’s death that Netflix’s Dahmer didn’t show

Something went wrong during his execution

Monster – The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has quickly become one of the most popular Netflix shows of all time. But the series – despite its name – didn’t just tell the story of the Milwaukee Cannibal.

It also touched on the horrific story of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was, up until a decade after Dahmer’s death, America’s most prolific murderer. Episode 10 covered one of Gacy’s murders, his later public appearances and, most notably, his execution.

Unlike Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy was eligible for the death penalty and, 14 years after his initial sentencing, he was killed by lethal injection. But he didn’t go as peacefully as the Netflix series suggests.

So, here’s everything that happened in the early hours of 10th May 1994.

Gacy was allowed a last meal, and he could pick whatever he wanted

john wayne gacy death

Photo via Netflix

Having previously owned a chain of KFC stores in the ’60s, John Wayne Gacy decided for his final meal, he wanted a fried chicken picnic surrounded by family.

He chose to eat a bucket of chicken, a dozen fried shrimp and a LOT of strawberries, all washed down by a Diet Coke. It’s unknown which members of his family actually came to eat with him that day, as he left two ex-wives in his past, and his dad had died.

He was taken down to execution late on 9th May 1994


Photo via Netflix

After reading the Last Rites with a Catholic priest, Gacy wasn’t allowed to sleep, and was taken straight down to be executed in front of members of the public. As according to Netflix’s Dahmer, he was strapped onto a wooden bed while medical professionals prepared his IV drip.

Though you might think the lethal injection is just one shot from a syringe, the process is a bit slower than that. According to Human Rights Watch, a direct injection of Potassium Chloride would be excruciatingly painful if administered without anaesthetic; so the execution happens in three stages. First, a doctor will inject a sedative so you simply fall asleep, without being able to feel anything.

Then, you’re injected with a chemical which paralyses the muscles. Finally, Potassium Chloride is fed into your body through an IV drip, which usually stops the heart.

But… something went wrong with Gacy’s drip

dahmer netflix

Photo via Netflix

While the public watched, the anaesthetic drug was administered into John Wayne Gacy’s IV line. But as the liquid travelled, it did something almost unheard of when it comes to executions on Death Row.

The solution crystallised inside the drip, forming solid clumps of chemical and clogging it, so nothing else could get in. Doctors were baffled, and shut the curtain on the public while they tried to figure out what the hell was going on. 18 minutes later, the tube was replaced and the process could continue.

Anaesthesiologists actually blamed prison officials for setting the equipment up the wrong way.

John Wayne Gacy’s last words

A small number of anti-capital punishment protesters showed up to Gacy’s execution, and he reiterated to his lawyers that killing him would never compensate for the 33 deaths, and he himself was being “murdered by the state”.

Just before falling asleep under the sedation, Gacy turned to the public gallery and told everyone to “kiss my ass”. He died at 12:58 AM on 10th May 1994.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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