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updated: 9/15/2011 7:43 PM

Mother wants tests to see if son was Gacy victim

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  • The bodies of 28 young men and boys were found buried in the crawl space of John Wayne Gacy's Norwood Park Township home in December 1978.

    The bodies of 28 young men and boys were found buried in the crawl space of John Wayne Gacy's Norwood Park Township home in December 1978.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • John Wayne Gacy

    John Wayne Gacy

Associated Press

The mother of a 14-year-old boy who authorities say was among the 33 victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy wants a judge to order his remains exhumed.

Sherry Marino, of Chicago, wants to determine if the body that's been buried for more than 30 years is actually her son, Michael Marino.

Chicago attorney Robert M. Stephenson says Sherry Marino has long wondered if the body pulled out of Gacy's crawl space was her son's, because the remains were not publicly identified until four years after his 1976 disappearance.

Stephenson says he's filing a request for the exhumation to test the body's DNA. It comes after the discovery of dental records that Stephenson says raise questions about the identity of the remains, which are buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Gacy's attorney, Sam Amirante, declined to speculate on Sherry Marino's action Thursday, but says he can understand that a grieving mother who has even a shred of doubt would want peace of mind.

During the 1980 trail, Amirante said the prosecution proved Michael Marino's life and death.

"Every one (of the victims) was proven in court," Amirante said.

Gacy mentioned the names of several of his victims to Amirante, but now that more than 30 years have passed, Amirante said he can't recall whether Gacy specifically mentioned Michael Marino.

Former attorney Danny Broderick, who just released a book about Gacy which he cowrote with Amirante, believes it's highly unlikely Michael Marino's body was misidentified.

"They meticulously went through the identification process. They don't willy-nilly say, 'It's this guy,'" Broderick said. "The likelihood of it not being her son is slim."

Broderick has "thousands of pages" of transcripts of Gacy interviews and notes from the trial, and said he plans to go through them to see if Gacy specifically mentioned Michael Marino by name.

"He didn't mention that many kids by name. He'd say 'that kid' or 'that kid from there,'" Broderick said.

When asked if the court has ever proven someone's death only to find out it was the wrong person, Broderick said, "Of course it's happened. But it doesn't happen very often."

Daily Herald Staff Writer Jamie Sotonoff contributed to this report.

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