Netflix’s three-part docuseries ‘Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes’ by director Joe Berlinger looks at the notorious serial killer’s crimes. The viewers learn more about John’s murderous streak through never-before-heard tapes of his interrogation apart from several interviews of people involved or affected by the case. Steve Nemmers, who met John as a teenager, recounts the night he spent at the killer’s home. So, if you’re wondering what happened, here’s what we know.
Who is Steve Nemmers?
In 1967, Steve was an 18-year-old from Waterloo, Iowa, and a student at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. At the time, he drove to school with two others who lived in Waterloo. On one night in January 1967, one of these guys had to pick up a check from a local KFC restaurant where he worked. This was where Steve met John Wayne Gacy. Back then, John managed the restaurant.
As per the show, John invited the guys over to his place for a night of drinks and playing pool since his wife and children were out of town. So, the three of them later headed to John’s house in a Waterloo suburb. There, Steve remembered playing pool with John in his basement, where he had a pool table and a bar set up. John had mentioned that he had connections in Chicago, Illinois, and said he was good friends with the mayor and the chief of police there.
Eventually, the two other guys talked about a party the next day and suggested that Steve should stay back that night to bring John to Iowa Falls the following day. On the show, Steve said that he was apprehensive about staying there because he didn’t know John but felt it was better than going back home with a drunk driver behind the wheel. Once the two guys left, John and Steve continued to play pool when the former made a proposition. According to Steve, John said that whoever lost the next game of pool would have to perform a sexual act on the winner, as per the show. Steve said no right away, and then John began to laugh.
At this point, things took a weird turn when John asked Steve if he had ever watched a pornographic film. On the show, Steve said that John set up a projector, played the film, and left the room. He returned minutes later with a gun pointed to Steve’s head. Then, he asked Steve to pull his pants down. By now, Steve was crying and begging John to stop. In a bizarre turn of events, John began laughing and asked Steve to pull his pants up.
According to Steve, John told him that he had this obsession with putting people under psychological stress to see how they reacted. This was repeated when Steve went to sleep. Later in the night, he saw John holding a knife to his throat, saying he would commit a sex act on the teenager. When Steve began to cry and asked him to stop, John laughed again, saying he was frustrated about not breaking him earlier in the basement and wanted to try again.
Where is Steve Nemmers Now?
Steven didn’t go back to sleep after that and resolved to leave for Iowa Falls early in the morning with John. He stated on the show that John threatened to have him killed if he spoke about the previous night to anyone. As an 18-year-old, Steven was scared and never talked to the police about what happened. In the end, John was captured and convicted of murdering more than 30 young men. He met Steve about four years before his first murder.
Today, Steve seems to be doing much better. Now in his seventies, he seems to live in Tennessee and enjoys spending time with his large family that involves many grandchildren. He is also a fan of golf. Regarding Steve’s involvement in the documentary, Joe said, “Steve Nemmers has never talked before, he’s one of the few Gacy survivors, and he’s just an incredible storyteller.”
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