On the 900-line, serial killer John Wayne Gacy asserts his innocence in the slaying of 33 young men and boys. The phone line isn't the brainchild of Mr. Gacy but of All Star Communications, Boca Raton, Fla.
"People like hearing about criminals, reading about criminals and looking at pictures of criminals," said Ric Lazio, sales representative at All Star, a 900-number service that's promoting and handling the Gacy line, which carries 12 minutes of comments.
Mr. Lazio is putting together an ad campaign for the $1.99-a-minute line. He said he's using classified and personal ads in "most of the major papers across the country." Outdoor boards will read: "If you don't believe John Wayne Gacy, don't call this number."
Mr. Lazio said he didn't know how many calls had been made to the phone line since it started up earlier this month.
Once word of the 900-line got out, the Illinois attorney general's office sued Mr. Gacy for $140,000-the estimated cost of his 14-year imprisonment. "He's profiting from doing what he did. There's something terribly wrong with that," said a spokesman for the office.
However, attorney Greg Adamski said Mr. Gacy has written nearly 30 letters protesting the phone line, and none of the money goes to the Death Row inmate. Mr. Gacy never approved using his comments, given in a phone interview with a company that contracted with All Star, Mr. Adamski said.
Mr. Lazio said he's now working on similar phone messages from several other criminals. The Gacy 900-line may have a short life. Mr. Gacy is currently scheduled to be executed May 10.