U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's gaffe on which John Wayne is a Waterloo native — she referred to her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, as the home of John Wayne. The actor was actually from Winterset, Iowa. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was a Waterloo native.
The mention of Gacy reminded us of another politician from Minnesota, whose roots are in Iowa.
Here's a clip from then Post-Bulletin political reporter John Hughes, now a Bloomberg reporter based in Washington, D.C. Hughes talked with then state Rep. Gil Gutknecht, who was running for the 1st District Congressional seat that Rep. Tim Penny was leaving in 1994. Gutknecht went on that year to win the first of six terms in Congress. This item was filed on May 14, 1994, The item follows:
Mass murderer John Wayne Gacy invited Gil Gutknecht to his home twice to watch stag movies.
``Thank God I never went,'' Gutknecht said.
It was the summer of 1967 and Gutknecht, then 16, was working one of his first jobs for $1.10 an hour at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Gacy, then 35, managed the KFCs in Cedar Falls and elsewhere in the area.
At first, Gacy seemed like a successful businessman. He had a nice car and an attractive wife.
But Gutknecht and other workers at the Kentucky Fried Chicken noticed oddities.
``He was one of the most sadistic people I ever met,'' the Independent-Republican representative from Rochester said.
While Gutknecht and other young boys were working, Gacy would walk up behind them and deliver a knee to the back of their thighs.
``I never saw anyone else who would do that,'' Gutknecht said. ``It was such a sadistic act.''
Gacy at other times would deliver a good-natured punch to his workers' shoulders, but it still hurt, he said.
Then there were the movies Gacy would screen at his house. While Gutknecht never went, some co-workers did. But the co-workers never reported any strange or criminal activities at the events.
Gutknecht only worked the job for a few months, and Gacy was then out of his life.
A few years later, Gacy would be charged with his first crimes -- breaking and entering and sodomy. He served a few years in an Iowa prison and was on parole when he moved to Illinois and committed the 33 murders that brought him infamy.
Gutknecht has always been against the death penalty. But he said, ``in his case, I believe he deserved to be executed.''
He said Gacy's crimes were so brutal and exceptional, it was a miscarriage of justice that he waited in prison 14 years for the excution. ``It has caused me to rethink my whole position on the death penalty,'' he said.
Gutknecht said he might support the death penalty for the most grisly crimes.
Ironically, Gutknecht may be one of the few people acquainted with two killers. He was a good friend of David Brom and the Brom family, and was a pall bearer at the Broms' funeral.
David Brom is serving time in St. Cloud for killing four members of his family in 1988.