"We haven't had any initiative where we are going back to executed offenders and asking for their samples," said David Coffman, director of Florida Department of Law Enforcement's laboratory system. "I think it's an innovative approach."
O'Neil said he is still looking for blood samples of the rest of the 12 condemned inmates executed between 1977 when Illinois reinstated the death penalty and 2000 when then-Gov. George Ryan established a moratorium. So far, DNA profiles have been done on the blood of Gacy and two others; the profile of the fourth inmate has not yet been done.
Among the other executed inmates whose blood was submitted for testing was Lloyd Wayne Hampton, a drifter executed in 1998 for his crimes. Not only did Hampton's long list of crimes include crimes outside the state — one conviction was for the torture of a woman in California — but shortly before he was put to death, he claimed to have committed other murders but never provided details.
So far, no computer hits have linked Gacy or the others to any other crimes. But Moran and O'Neil suspect there are investigators who are holding DNA evidence that could help solve them.
That is exactly what happened during the investigation into the 1993 slayings of seven people at a suburban Chicago restaurant, during which an evidence technician collected a half-eaten chicken dinner even though there was no way to test it for DNA at the time.
When the technology did become available, the dinner was tested and it revealed the identity of one of two men ultimately convicted in the slayings.
Moran says he wants investigators in other states to know that Gacy's blood is now open for analysis in their unsolved murders. He hopes those jurisdictions will, in turn, submit DNA profiles of their own executed inmates.
"That is part of the DNA system that's not being tapped into," he said.