Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was convicted in the murders of 33 young men and executed for the crimes in 1994, but two Chicago lawyers who are re-examining the case believe the "killer clown" did not act alone.
“I felt from the beginning that there may be loose ends," prosecutor Terry Sullivan told WGN News. "It was such a huge case that mesmerized the city at the time."
According to Chicago defense attorneys Rober Stephenson and Steven Becker, the bodies of three men found on Gacy's property in 1978 may have been killed by someone other than the amateur clown.
The lawyers told the Chicago Sun-Times that Russell Nelson of Minneapolis and Robert Gilroy of Chicago vanished in 1977 -- when Gacy was out of town. Work records reportedly show that Gacy also "didn't have much time" to abduct, torture and kill John Mowery of Chicago.
“I always thought someone else was involved [with the murder],” Teresa Nelson, a sister-in-law of Russell Nelson, told the Sun-Times. “I don’t think they should let this lie... This caused a lot of hurt. I closed myself off to the world for six months. If there was an accomplice, he should be brought to justice.”
Nelson's family also believes that a friend of Russell's knew Gacy personally -- and may have had something to do with the murders.
Stephenson also told the paper that when he was arrested in 1978, Gacy told officers there were others "directly" involved with the murders, calling them "associates."
In a 1992 interview with CBS Chicago's Walter Jacobson, Gacy said he had accomplices, and that employees from his P.D.M. Construction company often stayed at his house. He blamed some of the murders on those employees.
“The media has always contended there was others involved,” Gacy told Jacobson. “At the time of my arrest, there were four other suspects.” (Watch the interview with Gacy below)
One man who was raped and tortured by Gacy, but survived, reportedly told Stephenson that he believed someone else was in Gacy's home when he was being tortured there.
“There is significant evidence out there that suggests that not only did John Wayne Gacy not operate alone, he may not have been involved in some of the murders, and the fact that he was largely a copycat murderer,” Stephenson told WGN.
Stephenson reportedly became involved with the Gacy case in 2011, when the mother of Gacy victim Michael Marino had doubts about whether the body found on Gacy's property was actually her son's. Dental records later confirmed that Marino was, in fact, killed on the property.
The Cook County Sheriff's office has also become involved with the Gacy case again recently. The office exhumed the bodies of several unidentified victims, and had "solid leads" as to their identities. One 19-year-old victim has been identified through DNA testing.
At least 29 of Gacy's victims were buried in a crawl space under his suburban Chicago home. Others were reportedly dumped in a river when he ran out of room at his house, the Associated Press reports.
Read more about Gacy's alleged accomplices here.