The 9 Most Vicious Crimes of the 1970s

Just the beginning of the most vicious crimes that took place between 1970 and 1979

Kassondra O'Hara


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The 1970s was prime time for serial killers. It is considered “the golden decade” by crime enthusiasts. With hitchhiking and freedom culture on the rise, their victim pools were exploding.

While serial killers are typically the most well-known criminals, especially those who emerged during the 1970s, I try not to let them be the sole focus of these lists. However, considering the majority of serial murderers who are household names began their crimes during this time, it’s hard to avoid.

John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy, in my opinion, is one of the most sadistic and gruesome serial killers in history. I’m not sure exactly which aspects of his crimes are the most terrible, but I feel nauseous every time I read or write about him.

Gacy was well-liked in his community and was active in political organizations, planning gatherings in his neighborhood, and being a part of the Jaycee’s civic group. He was a building contractor and a member of the “Jolly Joker” club who frequently dressed up as clowns for children’s birthday parties and charity events.

This led the media to call him “The Killer Clown” after his arrest.

Gacy lured his victims to his home with the promise of construction work or some other ruse. He then sexually assaulted and tortured them before killing them. His method of choice was strangulation.

His first known murder was in January 1972. Gacy lured 16-year-old Timothy McCoy to his home for sex. The murder was accidental but awakened a monster in Gacy. He discovered that he received sexual gratification from the killing and that for him, murder was the “ultimate thrill.”

Gacy liked to trick his victims into letting him handcuff them with a promise of showing them a “magic trick.” After their murders, he would hide their bodies in a crawl space in his home.

Even though he was questioned several times in the disappearances of these boys, the police always believed Gacy. On December 11, 1978, 15-year-old Robert Piest went missing after telling his mother that he was going to…



Kassondra O'Hara

Working mom who uses her curiosity to fuel the curiosities of others ~ Writes mostly history and true crime