Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dean Corll

The Party

It was truly bad judgment that Wayne Henley used when he decided to bring his good friend Rhonda to Dean Corll’s house, considering that Wayne was genuinely concerned about the young woman’s safety. He did not understand the danger to which he had exposed himself and his friends by taking them there.
But bring her he did — without the approval of Dean Corll.
Dean Corll was an electrician for Houston Power and Light, but most of Henley’s friends knew him as the Candy Man, so named because he had labored for years in the candy manufacturing plant that he and his mother had once owned. Corll was famous for giving away candy to the kids.
Elmer Wayne Henley and his friend Tim Kerley had left the Corll’s house in the Pasadena suburb of Houston in the early morning hours of August 8, 1973 in order to meet Rhonda. Earlier in the evening, Henley had been to Rhonda’s house when he heard her father, who was drunk at the time, yelling at her. Knowing that Rhonda was very afraid of her father that night, Wayne promised to come back for her.
With the face of a child and the body of a woman, tiny Rhonda Williams was suffering from some severe emotional and physical traumas. Her mother had died when she was very young and her father was an intimidating man. Then her first love, a boy named Frank Aguirre, disappeared suddenly. Recently, she had sprained her foot in an accident. While she painfully convalesced, her relationship with her father became increasingly strained and he banned many of her friends from visiting the house. Wayne was the only one of her friends that her father liked.
That night, frightened by her father’s anger after he had too much to drink, she packed an overnight bag and decided to get away from the house until he sobered up. Wayne left Tim at a laundromat nearby and went to the house to get Rhonda. She was too afraid to unlock her bedroom door to let Wayne in, so he came to the window to escort her from the house. The two of them then met Tim Kerley at the laundromat.
Wayne told Rhonda that they were going to Corll’s house. She didn’t want to go there, but finally agreed. Tim gave her a beer to drink.
The three teenagers reached Corll’s house around 3 a.m.. Rhonda did not realize that Corll was infuriated that the two boys had brought a female to the house, but she knew that something was wrong. Henley was able to take the edge off Corll’s anger and the small party started back up again. While Corll smoked pot and drank beer, the boys drank some moonshine that Wayne’s dad had given him. Rhonda joined them in smoking some pot and fell asleep while sitting against the wall.
Hours later Henley awakened to Corll handcuffing his wrists. His ankles had already been bound together. From much previous experience, Henley understood that torture and painful death were imminent. Looking around him, he saw that Tim had been stripped and both of his friends had been bound with rope. Electrical tape sealed their lips.
” I’m gonna kill you all!” Corll shrieked, according to Henley. “But first I’m gonna have my fun.”
Henley pleaded with Corll: He would help Corll torture Tim. Corll could assault Tim and he would rape Rhonda. Then they would kill Tim and Rhonda together.
After threatening Henley with a .22 caliber pistol and a knife, Corll relented and took off the handcuffs and ropes. Corll told Henley that if he did not do something to Rhonda that he, too, would be a victim.
Corll then took Rhonda and Tim into one of the bedrooms where he had a long “torture” board. Rhonda’s and Tim’s hands were handcuffed to the board and their feet were tied with rope. Henley had convinced Corll to remove the tape from their mouths.
“Cut off her clothes!” Corll told him and gave him the large knife.
Henley whispered in Rhonda’s ear his promise that he would not let anything happen to her. She asked him not to cut off the shirt she was wearing because it belonged to a friend, so he cut off her pants, whispering an apology as he did so.
Corll tried to rape Tim, but the young man fought him as best he could. Henley got up to go to the bathroom and when he returned, he picked up the gun that Corll had left on the nightstand.
Corll’s face was flushed with rage when he saw the gun pointed at him. “Kill me, Wayne,” he challenged. “Kill me!” Henley backed away as Corll charged at him. “You won’t do it!” Corll sneered at the terrified teenager.

The Story

Around 8:30 a.m. that Wednesday morning, the Pasadena, TX, police department got a telephone call from a hysterical Wayne Henley. Patrolman A.B. Jamison raced over to the address, 2020 Lamar Drive, a green and white frame house. Three teenagers, two boys and a girl stood in front of the house.
Dean Corll's home
Dean Corll’s home
One of the boys, a timid, slender young man with light brown hair and a skimpy goatee came forward and identified himself as Wayne Henley. He motioned the cop inside where Corll’s body lay on the floor.
Corll had been a large muscular man over six feet tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds. His dark brown hair, graying at the temples, was styled in little waves. His identification showed his name as Dean Arnold Corll, a 33-year-old electrician for Houston Power and Light. Corll had been shot six times with bullets lodging in the chest, shoulder and head. His body was taken to the morgue, while the three teenagers were taken to the police station for questioning.
At this point, detectives had arrived to examine the sparsely furnished crime scene — one of the more interesting ones they had witnessed in some time. Of particular scrutiny was the bedroom, which appeared to have been rigged up for a special purpose.
Plastic sheeting covered the carpet to protect it from dripping blood. The bedding on the one single bed was all tangled and disarrayed. Most sinister was the large thick plywood board with several sets of handcuffs, ropes and cords attached to it. On the floor was a bayonet-like knife, a huge dildo, binding tape, glass tubes and petroleum jelly.
In a shed in the backyard was a plywood box with air holes cut into it and some strands of human hair inside.
Neighbors said that the house had belonged to Dean Corll’s father Arnold, also an electrician, who had let his son take over the house when he had moved away. Son Dean had taken care of the house and had done nothing to arouse the suspicions of his neighbors in the quiet middle-class neighborhood.
At police headquarters, detectives got quite an earful from the two teenage boys. Earlier Tim Kerley said that Henley told him, “If you weren’t a friend of mine, I could have gotten fifteen hundred dollars for you.”
Henley told police that Corll was a homosexual and pedophile that paid him to procure victims, which Corll later murdered and buried in a boat shed.
Detectives took this “revelation” cautiously, as they would from any youth who claimed that the man he killed was really a criminal. When Dean Corll’s father and stepmother talked to the police, a different story emerged. They said that the story the teenagers had told police was a lie and that Dean had never been a homosexual or a violent person. In fact, Dean loved kids and had always been generous to young people. These teenagers, had taken advantage of their son’s hospitality and then, crazed by drugs, had murdered him in his own home.
Had the police not found the implements of sexual torture in Corll’s home, they would have been more likely to assume that the parents’ version of events was the correct one. As it was, the police were more interested in hearing the confession of Elmer Wayne Hensley and just who this Dean Corll really was — sexual psychopath or the victim of vicious, drugged-up youths.

Victim or Victimizer?

Dean Corll
Dean Corll
As police dug into Dean Corll’s reputation and past, early returns suggested that the 33-year-old man was the victim not the monster that Henley made him out to be. This sentiment was summed up in comments like this:
All my friends knew him,
and my friends’ folks knew
him, and they never thought anything [bad] about him…
They always thought Dean
was a good dude. He’d
help me; he’d help them, anything.
Then an old girlfriend, Betty Hawkins, a divorcee with two small boys, came forward. She had known and dated Dean for five years or so, and said only good things about him:
Dean was one of the kindest men I ever knew. If he had something and someone needed it, he’d give it to them. So far as I know, he didn’t have any special hobby, unless it was helping other people. That guy must have gone through 15 TV’s in the last five years. Every time I turned around, his TV would be gone. Somebody would come up and say they needed one and he’d give it to them.
He made me feel like I was somebody, and the biggest majority of men seemed to want to make me feel so much lower than them, and all they wanted was to take me to bed. In five years, Dean and I never really had sex. Sometimes we would hug and kiss. There were times that we came close, but we never did it. He believed that you should be married. There aren’t very many like that.
He’d say things like, ‘You know I been thinking lately I ought to settle down and get married.’ But all of sudden, he would change his mind. And later he’d say he couldn’t afford to get married. And I’d say, ‘Well I can work, you know.’ But he’d say, ‘No way. If we got married, you wouldn’t work. Definitely not.”
Then some information started to leak out that suggested a different picture. A teenaged homosexual who called himself “Guy” claimed that Corll made a sexual pass at him in a public men’s room. “I just wasn’t interested at all,” Guy said. “We became extremely close friends.” He said that Corll was extremely gentle and kind to him, but he had in his house a bedroom that was off limits to Guy. “I’ll never take you in there,” Corll told him.
Guy claimed that Corll was very critical of openly gay bars and bathhouses. There was a barrier that Dean had set up between himself and an overtly gay lifestyle
He was sort of like a cloud of mystique; he was just there. Seemed like he had another life he would go to and I was not a part of it, and I never wanted to infiltrate his other domain. He seemed to set up a barrier and wanted me to stay on one side. The other aspects of his life were taboo. I knew he had a friend named Wayne, but every time I’d bring up his friends, he’d more or less just cut them off… he never wanted me to meet them.
Corll was afflicted by the anxieties that gave rise to the adage, “nobody loves you when you’re old and gay.” In sub-culture that, perhaps, intensifies the angst of Western culture in general, puts a premium on youth and looks, Guy saw Corll as less than self-confident:
He felt like an outcast, especially age-wise. He was hypersensitive about his age, how he looked, if he was young looking, if he had maybe something a little bit wrong with his hair. He’d always want compliments, or he’d want constructive criticism.
At times he would be totally childlike and rambunctious and crazy. He wanted to be in with the youthful crowd; he’d show it by his actions. Someone who is around 35, you don’t want to see him wading in a pond. You don’t want him taking off his shoes, rolling up his pant legs and go skipping down the street.

The Candy Man

Corll spoke to him of getting away from Houston and going some place where nobody knew him — like Mexico or South America. Never in all the time they knew each, did Guy see any signs of violence.
Dean Corll was born December 24, 1939, in Fort Wayne, Indiana to Arnold & Mary Corll. The marriage of Arnold and Mary was not a happy one and when Dean was six, the parents divorced, leaving Mary to raise Dean and a second son, Stanley.
Arnold & Mary made a second go at their marriage and moved to Houston in 1950. A clash of personalities caused the two to separate again. In 1953, Mary found a new mate, a salesman named West, who lived with his daughter from a previous marriage.
At this time in his young life, Dean was diagnosed with a heart murmur, which put a damper on any athletic endeavors. Dean studied music instead and became a trombone player in his high school band. His grades were middle-of-the-road in school, but he was always neat and well behaved.
In the late 1950s, Mary started making pecan candies. Dean helped gather pecans and delivered the candy for his mother. Author John K. Gurwell in his book Mass Murder in Houston, says of Dean:
This was the central, recurring theme in all descriptions of Dean Corll through the years — he did what he was told to do, everything he was asked to do and he was always polite. He was very understanding and very affectionate, especially with children. He never questioned his mother.
Dean helped his mother in the candy business from the time he graduated high school in 1958 until 1960, when he went to Indianapolis to take care of his widowed grandmother.
When Dean came back to Houston in 1962, Mary had set up a candy production facility in her home and turned her garage into a candy store. Dean became second in command in his mother’s candy business and lived in an apartment over the garage. He made candy at night, while during the day he brought in a regular salary with Houston Lighting and Power.
Dean Corll in military uniform
Dean Corll in military uniform
In 1964, Dean was drafted, but was released from the Army a year later on a hardship discharge. He went back to help his mother keep the candy business alive. Mary, in the meantime, had decided to divorce her husband and needed her son’s help all the more. Dean stayed on good terms with his father, who had remarried and lived in the house on Lamar Drive.
The candy company moved to West 22nd street near Helms Elementary School in the Heights area of Houston. Dean invited all the local kids in for free candy and became known as the Candy Man.
Mary found yet another new husband, a merchant seaman, but this union split asunder in 1968 after a few short years. The candy factory was closed and Mary moved to Colorado where she began another candy business.
With the candy store out of his life, Dean turned to the other family business, the electrician’s trade. He was training in that discipline when he was killed.
The secret life that Dean carried on without the knowledge of either parents or stepparents nonetheless had taken a toll on Dean. His family saw the signs of emotional distress without realizing the causes. Mary said that Dean had been very depressed a few days before his death and talked of being in trouble. He also spoke of suicide, but then he seemed to snap out of his black mood and planned to visit her in Colorado. There was even talk of marriage to Betty Hawkins. Dean’s father and stepmother were also aware of his moodiness and concerned that there were people at Dean’s home that were behaving suspiciously. They were frankly concerned that Dean had fallen under the control of someone dangerous.

Wayne & David

The possibility that closet homosexual Dean Corll had become a victim of unscrupulous young druggies or others who might have taken advantage of Corll’s generosity was investigated. However, investigation showed that the only really close friends that Dean had were Elmer Wayne Henley and David Brooks, neither of whom, at least on the surface, seemed likely candidates for victimizing the older man.
Wayne Henley was a pimply-faced, young school dropout with a drinking problem. He was the product of a very broken home and undertook the financial support of his mother and three brothers. Working during the day and the evening, there was little or no time for education. He had tried to enlist in the army, but was prevented because he had dropped out of junior high school and lacked sufficient education to be inducted.
His friend David Brooks introduced Wayne to Dean Corll in 1970. It was, at least at the start and probably at the end of the relationship, a monetary relationship primarily. Corll offered Wayne money — allegedly several hundred dollars — to procure young men for him.
David Brooks was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1955. Like Wayne Henley and Dean Corll, he was the product of a broken home. His parents were divorced in the early 1960s when David was only five years old. He spent part of his time in Houston with his father and the rest of the time with his mother in Beaumont.
Wayne Henley (right), David Brooks (left)
Wayne Henley (left), David Brooks (right)
Despite the divorce of his parents, David had a promising beginning as a student, making excellent grades in elementary school. Then in junior high, his grades plummeted. Around this time, he became associated with Dean Corll, who paid him for his sexual favors. Corll had such a grip on the young man that he dropped out of high school shortly after he started so that he could spend all of his free time with Corll.
David, Wayne and Dean were frequently together, staying at Dean’s house, riding around in his van and meeting other teenage boys at the various places that they congregated.
Author Jack Olsen in his book The Man with the Candy, described the situation:
Corll and the two boys made an unlikely trio; by the early 1970′s, he was in his thirties, the boys in their mid-teens. They seemed to have nothing in common…
To most of the people in The Heights, the odd trio was seen only as a hawk is sometimes seen in the woods: in quick silhouette, or as a subliminal shadow, swiftly past. Individually, Corll, Henley and Brooks maintained low profiles; they were regarded as losers, ciphers in the teen-age society. As a threesome, the old mathematical precept applied: multiples of zero are zero.


Certainly not all parents know for sure that their children did not run away, but could instead be the victims of foul play. Often parents are oblivious to the tensions, unhappiness or external pressures that lead a youngster to leave home. However, there are many situations in which parents are close enough to what is going on in their children’s lives and have a good enough relationship with their children to know for sure that they did not run away. Often this firm belief on the part of the parents is buttressed by other factors: when the youngster disappeared, there was no evidence of planning. The youngster had not taken any clothes or treasured belongings or money. There were no major arguments, punishments, or troubles at school that could cause desperation. The youngster disappeared under circumstances that do not correspond with behaviors of a runaway. For example, the young person may have vanished on the way to the swimming pool or a movie or after getting into a strange car. The list of circumstances that argue against a kid being a runaway is lengthy.
Why is it then that police departments all over the globe persist in assuming that missing teenagers are runaways, unless evidence of foul play is documented? Yes, kids do run away. In fact, many kids run away, not just to avoid responsibility for something they have done, or because real or perceived environmental conditions at home or school are intolerable, or they think their parents don’t care or don’t love them, but sometimes they are running to something or someplace they believe is more exciting, more tolerant, more fun….
Yet, the history of serial murder is haunted by hundreds of cases of missing youngsters and adults, who the authorities have decided have chosen to runaway. Why? Some of the reasons are likely that the missing persons sections of police departments are frankly not staffed with the upwardly mobile officers and they are frequently understaffed and under-budgeted. Very few police departments are interested in expending limited resources when it is not crystal clear that a crime has been committed. Not unless, it is a high-profile case like the recent Chandra Levy case where there is a scandal involving a congressman and parents who were not about to let the police bury the case in a file cabinet.
In so many, many cases of serial murder — the Atlanta child murders, the Moors murders in Britain, and the crimes of Ted Bundy, Jeff Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy to name a few well-known cases — the list of victims is far longer than it would have been if the police had simply spent more effort separating out suspicious disappearances of young people from probable runaways.

The First Victims

Such was the case in Houston in the early 1970′s. Houston was growing rapidly and there were simply not enough police per capita to keep the crime rate under control. Missing persons was a real afterthought, especially if the person missing was a kid from a rundown neighborhood. Such a neighborhood was The Heights, an old area of the city that boomed in the late 1800′s, but was tired and decrepit after World War II.
Dean Corll's early victims
Dean Corll’s early victims
A huge tragedy began quietly in The Heights on May 29, 1971. 13-year-old David Hilligiest and his 16-year-old friend Gregory Malley Winkle did not come home from a trip to the neighborhood swimming pool. According to author Jack Olsen, the Hilligiests were told by police that:
Times had changed. Boys were running away from the best of homes nowadays, and said he would have to list David in the runaway classification. No, there would be no official search for the child, but if he were spotted during school hours, he would be stopped and questioned. That was all the law allowed. A runaway was not a criminal.
The boys’ parents put forth a Herculean effort to track down what happened to the kids. That night, Mrs. Winkel got a very strange phone call from Malley just before midnight. When she asked where he was, there was a long pause.
“We’re in Freeport, Mother,” her son told her. “I called to let you know where I was.”
She was very angry that he had gone some 60 miles away from Houston and asked him what he was doing and who was with him. He told her he was just with a bunch of boys swimming, but that they would bring him home later. The next day, she heard that Malley and David had been seen in a white van, but none of his friends knew what had happened to the boys.
The Hilligiests drove to Freeport to search for the boys, distributed flyers, offered a reward, and even hired a private detective with their very meager funds, but to no avail.
One of David’s friends, Wayne Henley, dropped by the Hilligiest home with an offer to help pass out the posters that the parents had printed up. The younger Henley boys played with David’s younger brothers.
A few months later, on August 17, 17-year-old Ruben Watson was given some money by his grandmother to go to a movie and told his mother he would see her when she got home from work at 7:30 p.m., but he never made it.
Ten months later on March 24, 1972, Rhonda’s boyfriend, Frank Aguirre, finished his shift at the Long John Silver’s restaurant and told his mother he would be home by 10 p.m. He also called Rhonda and said he was on his way to her house. She waited outside, but he didn’t come. She walked down to the corner and noticed that Frank’s car was gone. Rhonda went back home and continued to wait, but he never showed up. Instead, he disappeared.
Months later when Rhonda and some of her friends were hanging out at Long John Silver’s after school, Wayne Henley came into the restaurant looking for Rhonda. He pulled her aside and told her to stop thinking that Frank would ever return. Wayne told her that Frank had gotten into some trouble with Mafia-type people and they had taken him. Wayne told her that he couldn’t say any more than that because he was afraid of those people and he was putting himself in danger for speaking to her about Frank. Then Wayne left the restaurant and got into Dean Corll’s van.

Without a Trace

Four friends from the same neighborhood had vanished without a trace. Their families and friends knew that they weren’t runaways, but the police? That was another matter. They were considered runaways and that was the end of police involvement.
But that was not the end of it for families in The Heights. On May 21, 1972, 16-year-old Johnny Delome vanished along with his friend 17-year-old Billy Baulch. Three days after they disappeared, Mr. Baulch got a letter from Madisonville, Texas, 70 miles out of Houston:
Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry to do this, But Johnny and I found a better Job working for a trucker loading and unloading from Houston to Washington and we’ll be back in three to four Weeks. After a week I will send money to help You and Mom out. Love, Billy.
The Baulches were not relieved when they read the letter. While the address on the envelope was in Billy’s handwriting, the note itself was either made to look like Billy’s handwriting or Billy had written it under duress. But, more sinister than that was that Mr. Baulch, who drove a truck for a living, realized that there was no job like what was described in the note.
Johnny’s family also received a similar letter which they believed was in Johnny’s handwriting, but the spelling was so perfect that they knew he had not composed it unassisted.
The police were no help, so the Baulches tried to run down clues on their own. As they trawled through suspicious incidents in their son’s past, they remembered David Brooks had given Billy some dope, which they reported to the police. They also recalled Dean Corll, Brooks’ companion, who used to have Billy and other neighborhood kids in his home on a continuous basis.
When Mrs. Baulch asked Billy what he and the other boys do for hours at the home of Dean Corll, Billy told her:
We play the stereo and watch TV, and Dean shows us things. Once he showed us his handcuffs. We were there with a couple of other boys, David Brooks and somebody else, and they got to playing around with the handcuffs and put them on one of the boys, and then Dean couldn’t find the key. He like never found the key to take them off.
When Billy’s father heard about that, he was very displeased. “It’s not normal for a man that old to be playing games with little boys.”
The Baulches went looking for the candy man. When they found him, Dean Corll was polite and respectful, but he said he had no idea where Billy or Johnny had gone.
Almost unbelievably, variations of this story played out for over one more year until August of 1973. But still, no one understood the magnitude of the tragedy that had unfolded. That is, until Wayne Henley took the police to the boat shed.

The Boat Shed

Wayne Henley claimed that Corll had murdered several boys and buried three of them in a boat shed several miles south of Houston. In late afternoon, he guided police and some prison “trusties” to a street named “Silver Bell” and a marina with a business called “Southwest Boat Storage.” Dean Corll’s stall was Number 11. Author John K. Gurwell describes the scene:
The stall had no windows, and the officers moved slowly as they accustomed their eyes to the gloom of the deep interior. Two faded carpets covered the earthen floor, stretching from the entrance back 12 feet. One was green, the other blue. Inside the doors on the left stood a huge, empty appliance carton. A half-stripped car body, covered by a sheet of canvas, sat in the right-rear area of the stall…behind the barrel in the corner was a plastic bag and inside this was an empty lime bag.
“Trusties” excavate the area
In the blazing August heat, the “trusties” that police had brought along for the digging, reached a layer of lime. The sweat poured off the prisoners as they dug through the white layer of lime. A few inches later, detectives saw some plastic sheet, which held the naked body of a boy about 13.
Police dig near the boat shed
Police dig near the boat shed
“It’s my fault,” Wayne whined to the detectives. “I can’t help but feel guilty, like I done killed those boys myself. I caused them to be dead. I led them straight to Dean.”
Wayne Henley hides his face
Wayne Henley hides his face
Below the first body was a skeleton. Then when they dug to the right of the first grave, the bodies of two additional teenagers were found. One had been shot and the other strangled.
The owner of the boat storage facility, Mrs. Meynier told the police what a nice person Dean Corll seemed to be. He had rented the shed for almost three years and visited it several times a week. While she did not know what was in the shed, Corll told her it was almost filled and wanted to rent additional space.
While the bodies were being uncovered, the news media had gotten wind of the discovery and had descended in force. By midnight, the bodies of eight victims had been recovered. Jack Olsen captured the horror of the police in a phrase: “They had all seen death, but none had encountered the wholesale transfiguration of rollicking boys into reeking sacks of carrion.
By the end of the first day, the Hilligiests and Mrs. Winkle and several other parents understood why they had never seen their boys alive again.


The next day, with eight bodies on their hands, police wanted to talk to Wayne Henley again. Wayne said that he had not participated in the torture or the murders, but he was a witness to the atrocities that Corll committed. When he heard that David Brooks had made a statement, it encouraged Wayne to confess his complete involvement.
Between the confessions of David Brooks and Wayne Henley, a terrible tale unfolded of treachery, torture, mutilation and murder. Wayne finally admitted that he had taken part in the sadism and murder, as well as the procurement of new victims.
Prospective victims had to be young and good looking. Corll, Henley and Brooks would recruit them individually or as a trio. They planned regular parties with alcohol and marijuana. What was so astonishing was that Henley and Brooks recruited their friends, childhood friends of many years, knowing full well that these friends would be tortured and murdered. Some of the boys had been castrated; another’s penis had been chewed; some had been beaten or kicked to death.
By the end of the second day of the investigation, the body count had risen to 17. Both Henley and Brooks were told to make a list of every boy that they remembered as a victim. Henley, who never stopped talking, told police that several boys were buried near Lake Sam Rayburn and on the High Island beach. A trip was planned immediately to those sites. Several bodies were discovered fairly soon, but since it was late in the day, further digging had to wait until the following day.
Over the coming days, 17 bodies were found in the boat shed and before the investigation was completed, the bodies of 27 boys had been unearthed — making the serial murder case the largest in U.S. history, beating the existing record of Juan Corona’s 25 victims.
As the digging and discovery of bodies wound down, the evidence against Henley and Brooks increased. The future of the two young men did not appear bright.
Brooks (seated left) and Henley (seated right) rest during the search for bodies.
Brooks (seated left) and Henley (seated right) rest during the search for bodies.


Elmer Henley heading to court.
Elmer Henley heading to court.
Wayne Henley delivered justice to Dean Corll on August 8, 1973, when he shot him in self-defense. Wayne and David Brooks had been planning to kill Corll because they were afraid of him and afraid that he had gone crazy. They had always considered themselves potential victims and worried that they might not see it coming fast enough to escape. Also, Dean had been acting very strangely and they feared that his increased need for new victims and intensified savagery with the latest victims posed a threat to their collective security.
Despite their confessions of murdering and torturing a number of victims, neither Henley nor Brooks were likely candidates for the newly defined Texas guidelines on capital punishment. The Legislature did not provide that murder committed during just any felony could be punishable by death — only kidnapping, robbery, burglary, forcible rape and arson.
In 1974, Wayne Henley was convicted of murder in the deaths of six boys and was sentenced to six consecutive 99-year terms. In 1975, David Brooks was convicted of murder in the death of one 15-year-old boy and was sentenced to life.
Every three years by law, they come up for a parole hearing, but each time it is rejected. Mr. & Mrs. Walter Scott, whose son was murdered in the serial murder case, attends each parole review to ensure that the parole board does not forget their crimes, which topped the list of the worst crimes in the past 100 years in Houston history.
One of Henley's paintings
One of Henley’s paintings
Wayne Henley has taken up art in prison and paints flowers and other nonviolent subjects. The offering of his paintings and other personal items on e-Bay has caused a stir of protest in the city of Houston and elsewhere. Unlike some states, Texas does not have a “Son of Sam” law that prevents criminals from profiting from books, paintings, etc. that become popular because of criminal notoriety.
Another Henley painting
Another Henley painting

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