Up Front: CRIME PAYS
Here's one way to trim prison-system costs: Attach killers' art earnings. Serial murderer John Wayne Gacy has caused a stir with his sometimes-macabre paintings. Like his self-portraits as Pogo the Clown, the character he played as an entertainer at children's parties, on the lookout for victims. Prices for a Gacy, once about $200, are climbing: One painting at a recent Gacy show in Los Angeles was priced
at $20,000. Why? Gacy, found guilty in 1980 of murdering 33 young men and boys, will be executed by lethal injection on May 10.
So the state of Illinois is suing Gacy to recover the $141,000 his incarceration has cost. Since the suit won't be heard until Apr. 25, the state will likely end up suing Gacy's estate. Does he have the cash? Authorities aren't sure, but they know he has had up to $3,000 in his prison bank account. They suspect he transfers money to somebody outside the prison. His attorney, Greg Adamski, denies Gacy has made big bucks from his art. Kevin Kelly