top of page
A black and white image of empty prison cells with bars.

Face to face with America's most evil serial killer.

30 years after John Wayne Gacy's execution, attorney Karen Conti shares her story.


Gacy and his entourage have arrived at the place where he will die. The room where he will take his last breath. The gurney sits in the center of the chamber, with its leather straps dangling off the bright white sheets, proudly laundered and starched by the prison laundry team. . . . 

·  Excerpt from Killing Time with John Wayne Gacy  ·

Get the book

Meeting with a Monster

Karen Conti shares her detailed account of being up close and personal with serial killer John Wayne Gacy. An experience that, ultimately, was about resilience, empowerment and standing up for her beliefs.


*In Two Categories:

#1 Biographies & Memoirs in Abductions, Kidnappings & Mission Persons

#1 on Amazon Audiobooks

The story of how a young and inexperienced attorney spent seven months representing serial killer John Wayne Gacy in his final death row appeals, with flashbacks to her life and experiences leading up to it. The book is about her unusual relationship with a sociopathic killer and, as Gacy’s only female attorney in his 14 years on death row, it is also about her challenges as a female attorney in the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, the book addresses her long-standing opposition to capital punishment, despite the heinous nature of his crimes. 

Karen shares her trips to death row and hours of fascinating conversations with Gacy. She talks about Gacy’s crimes, his psychological and family background, and opines on whether there were more victims and more co-conspirators. The book is about what it is like to zealously advocate for someone who is the epitome of evil and who was despised by the world.

"It's about how I was forced to form a relationship with a sociopath to do my job. How I sought to understand what happened to Gacy along the way that made him capable of heinous and inhumane acts. How as a woman, I was treated differently throughout my career, and how I used my gender to my advantage. And finally, despite the serious nature of Gacy’s crimes and the life-and-death task before me, there were moments of levity that allowed me to cope with the onerous job I undertook." -KAREN CONTI

Young Karen Conti sitting at trial at the "Stateville Correctional Facility." There are men in suits around her.

May 10, 1994 - Day of the execution.

Listen to Karen read from the Audio Book

Prison lunch with Gacy
00:00 / 02:00
Frightening Experience
00:00 / 02:20
00:00 / 01:36

For transcripts of these audio files contact

Karen Conti speaking on stage to a large crowd.
Karen Conti looks at the camera and smiles while wearing headsets standing next to a microphone in a recording studio.

Speaking Appearances

For over twenty-five years, she has served as the designated legal analyst on the local Fox affiliate where she not only appears on-air to give legal commentary, but pitches show topics and writes the interview text. She has appeared regularly on national media programs such as MSNBC, CNN News, Fox News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, NewsNation, the National Desk, Nancy Grace, The O’Reilly Factor, and Court TV. Topics range from high-profile criminal cases, police brutality, the death penalty, family law, business issues, consumer lawsuits, and Supreme Court happenings.


Karen has the unique skill to simplify complex legal issues as well as make them engaging, while being unbiased and factual. She is currently the host of “The Karen Conti Show” on Chicago’s 50,000-watt station, WGN, where she comments on current events, social issues as well as the law.

"I do not believe in the death penalty, even for Gacy but I never advocated, nor would I, for his conviction to be overturned or God forbid that he be released." 


About Karen

About Karen

Karen Conti is one of Chicago’s most prominent lawyers, legal analysts, and law professors. She is a dynamic speaker, writer, and media personality with over 30 years of experience in national and local radio and television.

As an aggressive and driven litigator and trial lawyer for 36 years, Karen has handled numerous high-profile and noteworthy cases across the country including a U.S. Supreme Court appeal and several well-known Chicago-area criminal cases including the death row appeals for serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Her experience spans almost all areas of law including criminal, appellate, family law, and business litigation. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and California. She is a certified mediator and collaborative lawyer.


Karen has a rich academic background lending further credibility to her reputation. She has served as a law professor for over 25 years at DePaul University and University of Illinois law schools.


Karen has won numerous recognitions such as One of the 100 Women Making a Difference in Chicago and Leading Lawyer, selected as one of the top lawyers in the nation, and is a Nonfiction Book Awards Silver Winner. Besides producing and writing radio and television show segments, Karen’s creative talents include writing humorous speeches and musical parodies for political figures and other media personalities. She is an avid athlete, having run marathons, taking second place in a state body building competition, and winning the “Most Fit Lawyer” competition in Chicago. She is a world traveler, voracious reader, award-winning author, handwriting analysis enthusiast, and news junky.

Some of Karen's appearances on:

CNN Logo
Court TV Logo
TODAY Show Logo
Chicago Tribune Chicago Live Logo
American Justice Logo
Fox News Logo
Good Morning America Logo
HS Logo
The National Desk TND Logo
Fox News Logo
News Nation Logo
TruTV Logo

Follow Karen on Instagram


Receive updates about Karen, her book and speaking engagements.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page