Dean Corll
Birth name: Dean Arnold Corll
Also known as: The Candy Man
Born: December 24, 1939(1939-12-24)Fort Wayne, Indiana
Died: August 8, 1973(1973-08-08) (aged 33)
Cause of death: Shot to death by accomplice Elmer Wayne Henley
Number of victims: 28-29+
Span of killings: September 25, 1970–August 3, 1973
Country: United States
State(s): Houston, Texas

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Dean Corll

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Dean Corll, photographed in the spring or summer of 1973.

Dean Arnold Corll (December 24, 1939 – August 8, 1973) was an American serial killer and pedophile, also known as the "Candy Man", who, together with two youthful accomplices named David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley, abducted, tortured and murdered a minimum of 28 boys in a series of killings spanning from 1970 to 1973 in Houston, Texas. The crimes, which became known as the Houston Mass Murders, came to light only after Henley shot and killed Corll.At the time, the Houston Mass Murders were considered the worst example of serial murder in American history.

Early life

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Dean Corll, aged 24, shortly after his enlistment in the U.S. Military in August, 1964.



Dean Arnold Corll was born on December 24, 1939 in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the first child of Mary Robinson and Arnold Edwin Corll. Corll's father was strict with his son, whereas his mother was extremely protective of Dean. The marriage of Corll's parents was marred by frequent quarrelling and the couple divorced four years after the birth of their younger son, Stanley, in 1942. Mary Corll subsequently sold the family home and relocated to a trailer home in Memphis, Tennessee, where Arnold Corll had been drafted into the Air Force after the couple had divorced, in order that her sons could retain contact with their father. Corll's parents subsequently attempted reconciliation.

Corll was a shy, serious child who seldom socialized with other children and had a tendency to display concern for the wellbeing of others. At the age of seven, he suffered an undiagnosed case of rheumatic fever, which was only noted in 1950, when doctors found Corll had a heart condition, and he was ordered to avoid P.E. at school.

In 1950, Corll's parents remarried and moved to Pasadena, but the reconciliation was short lived and, in 1953, the couple once again divorced, with the mother again retaining custody of her sons. The divorce was on amicable grounds and both boys maintained contact with their father.

Adolescence
Following the second divorce of Corll's parents, his mother married a travelling salesman named Jake West and the family moved to the small town of Vidor, where Corll's half-sister, Joyce, was born in 1955. In Vidor, Corll's mother and stepfather started a small candy company, operating from the garage of their home, and almost immediately, Corll was working day and night while still attending school.

As had been the case in his childhood, Corll remained somewhat of a loner in his teenage years. During his years at Vidor High School, his only major interest was the high school brass band, in which he played trombone. At Vidor High School, Corll was regarded as a well-behaved student who achieved satisfactory grades prior to his graduation.

Following his graduation from Vidor High School in 1958, the family moved to the Heights district of Houston and opened a new shop, which they named "Pecan Prince." In 1960, Corll moved to Indiana to live with his grandparents. He stayed in Indiana for almost two years, even forming a close relationship with a local girl, but returned to Houston in 1962 to help with his family's candy business. He later moved into an apartment of his own above the shop.



Corll's mother divorced Jake West in 1963 and appointed Dean as vice-president of the candy company. The same year, one of the teenage male employees of the candy company complained to Corll's mother that Corll had made sexual advances towards him. In response, Mary West simply sacked the youth.

Army life

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Corll was drafted into the United States Army on August 10, 1964, and assigned to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training. He was later assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, before his permanent assignment at Fort Hood, Texas as a radio repairman. Corll reportedly hated military service; he applied for a hardship discharge on the grounds that he was needed within his family's business. The Army granted his request and he was given an honorable military discharge on June 11, 1965, after ten months of service.

Corll Candy Company

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Following his honorable discharge from the army, Corll returned to Houston and resumed the position he had held as vice-president of his family's candy business.

In 1965, shortly after Corll completed his military service, the Corll Candy Company moved across the street from a Heights elementary school. He was known to give free candy to local children, in particular teenaged boys. The family company also employed a small workforce, and he was seen to behave flirtatiously towards several teenage male employees; he even installed a pool table at the rear of the factory where employees and local youths would congregate. In 1967, he befriended 12-year-old David Brooks, then a sixth grade student and one of the many children to whom he gave free candy.

Friendship with David Brooks

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Brooks initially became one of Corll's many youthful close companions. He allowed Brooks to play pool with other teenage boys and youngsters at the rear of the candy company. He also allowed Brooks to join him and other youths on the regular trips he took to south Texas' beaches. He also gave Brooks rides on his motorcycle and money when he told him he was in need of cash.

Brooks' parents were divorced: his father lived in Houston and his mother had relocated to Beaumont, a city 85 miles east of Houston. In 1970, when he was 15, Brooks dropped out of high school and moved to Beaumont to live with his mother. Whenever he visited his father in Houston, he also visited Corll, who allowed him to stay at his apartment if he wished to do so. Upon Corll's urging, a sexual relationship gradually developed between the two: Corll paid Brooks to allow him to perform fellatio on the youth.

By the time Brooks dropped out of high school, Corll's mother and half-sister, Joyce, had moved to Colorado after the failure of her third marriage and the closure of the family candy company in June 1968. Although she often talked to her eldest son on the telephone, she never saw him again.

Following the closure of the candy company, Corll took a job as an electrician at the Houston Lighting and Power Company, where he tested electrical relay systems. He worked in this employment until the day he was killed by Elmer Wayne Henley.

Murders

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Mark Scott, aged 17.

Between 1970 and 1973, Corll is known to have killed a minimum of 28 victims. All of his victims were young males between the ages of 13 and 20; the majority of whom were in their mid-teens. Most victims were abducted from Houston Heights, which was then a low income neighborhood northwest of downtown Houston. With most abductions, he was assisted by one or both of his teenaged accomplices: Elmer Wayne Henley and David Owen Brooks. Several victims were friends of one or the other of his accomplices, and two other victims, Billy Baulch and Malley Winkle, were former employees of the Corll Candy Company.



Corll's victims were typically lured into his van with an offer of a party or a lift and driven to his house. There, they were either plied with alcohol or drugs until they passed out, tricked into putting on handcuffs or simply grabbed by force. They were then stripped naked and tied to either Corll's bed or, usually, a plywood torture board where they were sexually assaulted, tortured and, sometimes after several days, killed by strangulation or shooting with a .22 caliber pistol. The victims were then tied in plastic sheeting and buried in one of four separate locations: a rented boat shed; a beach on the Bolivar Peninsula; in a woodland near Lake Sam Rayburn (where his family owned a lakeside log cabin) or on a beach in Jefferson County.

In several instances, Corll forced his victims to either phone or write to their parents with explanations for their absences in an effort to allay the parents' fears for their sons' safety. Corll is also known to have retained souvenirs—usually keys—from his victims.

During the years Corll is known to have abducted and murdered young men, he frequently changed addresses. However, until he moved to Pasadena in the spring of 1973, he always lived in or close to Houston Heights.



Corll killed his first known victim, an 18-year-old college freshman named Jeffrey Konen, on September 25, 1970. Konen vanished while hitchhiking with another student from the University of Texas to his parents' home in Houston; he was dropped off alone at the corner of Westheimer Road and South Voss Road near the Uptown area of Houston. At the time of Konen's disappearance, Corll lived in an apartment on Yorktown Street, near the intersection with Westheimer Road. He likely offered to drive Konen to his parents' home. What is known is that Konen evidently accepted a lift from him.

David Brooks led police to the body of Jeffrey Konen on August 10, 1973. The body was buried at High Island Beach. Forensic scientists subsequently deduced that the youth had died of asphyxiation due to manual strangulation and a cloth gag which had been placed in his mouth. The body was found buried beneath a layer of lime, wrapped in plastic, naked and bound hand and foot, suggesting he had also been violated.

Around the time of Konen's murder, David Brooks interrupted Corll in the act of assaulting two teenage boys whom he'd strapped to a plywood torture board. Corll promised Brooks a car in return for his silence; Brooks accepted the offer and Corll bought him a green Chevrolet Corvette. Brooks was later told by Corll that the two youths had been murdered, and he was offered $200 for any boy he could lure to Corll's apartment.

On December 15, 1970, David Brooks lured two 14-year-old boys named James Glass and Danny Yates away from a religious rally held near Houston Heights to Corll's Yorktown apartment. Glass was an acquaintance of Brooks who, at Brooks' behest, had previously visited Corll's apartment. Both youths were tied to opposite sides of Corll's torture board and subsequently raped, strangled and buried in a boat shed Corll had rented on November 17.



Six weeks after the double murder of Glass and Yates, on January 30, 1971, Brooks and Corll encountered two teenage brothers named Donald and Jerry Waldrop walking to a bowling alley. Both boys were enticed into Corll's van and were driven to an apartment that Corll had moved into at 3200 Mangum Road, where they were raped, tortured and strangled before Brooks and Corll buried them in the boat shed. Between March and May of 1971, Corll killed three more boys between the ages of 13 and 16; as with the Waldrop brothers, all lived in Houston Heights. Two of these victims, David Hilligiest and Malley Winkle, were abducted and killed together on the afternoon of May 29, 1971. As had been the case with parents of other victims of Corll, both sets of parents launched a frantic search for their sons. One of the youths who voluntarily offered to distribute posters the parents had printed offering a reward for information leading to the boys' whereabouts was 15-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley, a lifelong friend of Hilligiest. The youth pinned the posters around the Heights and attempted to reassure Hilligiest's mother that there may be an innocent explanation for the boys' absence.



On August 17, 1971, Corll and Brooks encountered a 17-year-old acquaintance of Brooks named Ruben Watson walking home from a movie theater in Houston. Brooks persuaded Watson to attend a party at Corll's address. The youth agreed and was taken to Corll's home where he was subsequently strangled and buried in the boat shed.

In the winter of 1971, Brooks introduced Elmer Wayne Henley to Dean Corll; Henley may have been lured to Corll's address an intended victim. However, Corll evidently decided Henley would make a good accomplice and offered him the same fee — $200 — for any boy he could lure to his apartment, informing Henley that he was involved in a "sexual slavery ring" operating from Dallas.

Henley accepted Corll's offer, and initially participated in the abductions of the victims, then later actively participated in many of the killings. According to Henley, the first abduction he participated in occurred at 925 Schuler Street, an address Corll had moved to in February of 1972 (although Brooks later claimed that Henley became involved in the abductions of the victims while Corll resided at an address he had occupied prior to Schuler). If Henley's statement is to be believed, the victim was abducted from the Heights in February or early March of 1972. In the statement Henley gave to police following his arrest, the youth stated that he and Corll picked up a youth at the corner of 11th and Studewood, and lured him to Corll's home on the promise of smoking some marijuana. Henley duped the youth into donning a pair of handcuffs before leaving him alone with Corll. The identity of this victim is not conclusively known, although it is possible the youth was Willard Branch, a 17-year-old casual acquaintance of Henley and Brooks who disappeared on February 9, 1972, and was found buried in the boat shed.

One month later, on March 24, 1972, Henley, Brooks and Corll encountered an 18-year-old acquaintance of Henley's named Frank Anthony Aguirre leaving a restaurant on Yale Street, where the youth worked. Henley called Aguirre over to Corll's van and invited the youth to Corll's apartment on the promise that he could drink beer and smoke marijuana with the trio. Aguirre agreed and followed the pair to Corll's home in his Rambler. Inside Corll's house, Aguirre was given marijuana and then tricked into donning a pair of handcuffs before Corll pounced on the youth. Henley left Aguirre alone with Corll.

Henley later claimed to having discovered Corll torturing the youth, upon which Corll informed him that he had raped, tortured and killed the previous victim he had assisted in abducting, and that he intended to do the same with Aguirre. Henley was again paid for luring the victim to Corll's home and subsequently assisted Corll and Brooks in Aguirre's burial at High Island Beach.



Despite the revelations that Corll was, in reality, killing the boys whom he and Brooks had assisted in abducting, Henley nonetheless became an active participant in the abductions and murders. Within one month, on April 20, 1972, he assisted Corll in the abduction of another youth, a 17-year-old friend of his named Mark Scott. Scott was grabbed by force and fought furiously against attempts by Corll to secure him to the torture board, even attempting to stab his attackers. However, Scott saw Henley pointing a gun towards him and, according to Brooks, Mark "just gave up." Scott was tied to the torture board and suffered the same fate as Aguirre: rape, torture, strangulation and burial at High Island Beach.

According to Brooks, Henley was 'especially sadistic' in his participation of the murders committed at 925 Schuler: before Corll vacated the address on June 26, Henley assisted Corll and Brooks in the abduction and murder of two youths named Billy Baulch and Johnny Delone. In Brooks' confession, he stated that both youths were tied to Corll's bed and, after their torture and rape, Henley manually strangled Baulch, then shouted "Hey, Johnny!" and shot Delone in the forehead, with the bullet exiting through the youth's ear. Delone then pleaded with Henley: "Wayne, please don't!", before he too was strangled.

During the time Corll lived at Schuler, the trio lured a 19-year-old youth named Billy Ridinger to the house. Ridinger was tied to the plywood board, tortured and abused by Corll. Brooks later claimed he persuaded Corll to allow Ridinger to be released, and the youth was allowed to leave the residence. On another ocasion at Schuler, Henley knocked Brooks unconscious as he entered the house. Corll then tied Brooks to his bed and assaulted the youth repeatedly before releasing him. Despite the assault, Brooks continued to assist Corll in the abductions of the victims.

After vacating the Schuler residence, Corll moved to an apartment at Westcott Towers, where he is known to have killed a further four victims. The first victim killed at Westcott Towers, Steven Sickman, was killed on July 20; two further Heights boys were abducted on October 3 and a 19-year-old youth named Richard Kepner was murdered on November 12. Altogether, a minimum of nine teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 were murdered between February and November of 1972; five of whom were buried at High Island Beach, and four inside Corll's boat shed.

On January 20, 1973, Corll moved to an address on Wirt Road in the Spring Branch district of Houston. Within two weeks of moving into the address, he had killed a 17-year-old youth named Joseph Lyles before vacating the apartment and moving to 2020 Lamar Drive in Pasadena on March 7. No known victims were killed from February to June 3 of 1973, although Corll is known to have suffered from a hydrocele in early 1973, which may account for this sudden lull in killings.

Nonetheless, from June, Corll's rate of killings increased dramatically: Henley later compared the acceleration in the frequency of killings to being "like a blood lust," adding that Corll would make reflex movements and state that he "needed to 'do' a new boy." Between June 4 and July 7, 1973, a further three victims were murdered and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn and on July 12, a 17-year-old youth named John Sellars was murdered and buried at High Island Beach.

In July of 1973, David Brooks married his pregnant fiancee, and Henley temporarily became Corll's sole procurer of victims: assisting in the abduction and murder of a further three Heights youths between the ages of 15 and 18 between July 19 and July 25. According to Henley, these three abductions were the only three that occurred after his becoming an accomplice to Corll in which David Brooks was not a participant. One of these three victims was buried at Lake Sam Rayburn and the other two, abducted together on July 25, were buried in the boat shed.

On August 3, 1973, Corll killed his last victim, a 13-year-old boy from South Houston named James Dreymala. Dreymala was abducted while riding his bike in Pasadena and driven to Corll's home where he was tied to Corll's torture board, raped and strangled with a cord before being buried in the boat shed. David Brooks later described Dreymala as a "small, blond boy" whom he had bought a pizza before the youth was attacked.



The party at Corll's

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Wayne Henley outside Corll's boat shed on August 8, 1973. He is seen here phoning his mother to confess to having shot Corll.

On the evening of August 7, 1973, Henley, aged 17, invited a 19-year-old youth named Timothy Cordell Kerley to attend a party at Corll's Pasadena house. Kerley — who was intended to be Corll's next victim — accepted the offer. David Brooks was not present at the time. The two youths arrived at Corll's house and sniffed paint fumes and drank alcohol until midnight before leaving the house to purchase sandwiches. Henley and Kerley then drove back to Houston Heights and Kerley parked his vehicle close to Henley's home: Henley exited the vehicle and walked towards the home of 15-year-old Rhonda Williams, who had been beaten by her drunken father that evening and had decided to temporarily leave home until her father became sober. Henley invited Rhonda to spend the evening at Corll's home: Rhonda agreed and climbed into the back seat of Kerley's Volkswagen. The trio drove towards Corll's Pasadena residence.

At approximately 3 a.m. on the morning of August 8, 1973, Henley and Kerley arrived back at Corll's home accompanied by Rhonda Williams. Corll was furious that Henley had brought a girl along, telling him in private that he had "ruined everything." Henley explained that Rhonda had argued with her father that evening, and did not wish to return home. Corll appeared to calm down, and offered the three teenagers beer and marijuana. The three teenagers began drinking and smoking the marijuana as Corll, drinking beer, watched them intently. After approximately two hours of drinking and smoking, Henley, Kerley and Williams each passed out.



The shooting
Henley awoke to find Corll snapping handcuffs onto his wrists. His ankles had also been bound together. Kerley and Williams both lay beside Henley: securely bound with nylon rope, gagged with adhesive tape and lying face down on the floor. Kerley had also been stripped naked.

Corll told Henley that he was furious he had brought a girl to his house, and explained that he was going to kill all three teenagers after he had assaulted and tortured Kerley. He repeatedly kicked Rhonda Williams in the chest, then dragged Henley into his kitchen and placed a .22 caliber pistol against his stomach, threatening to shoot him. Henley calmed Corll, promising to participate in the torture and murder of both Williams and Kerley if Corll released him. Corll agreed and untied Henley, then carried Kerley and Williams into his bedroom and tied them to opposite sides of his torture board: Kerley on his stomach; Williams on her back.

Corll then handed Henley a hunting knife and ordered him to cut away Rhonda's clothes, insisting that while he would rape and kill Kerley, Henley would do likewise to Rhonda Williams. Henley began cutting away Rhonda's clothes as Corll undressed and began to assault and torture Kerley. Both Kerley and Williams had awakened by this point. Kerley began writhing and shouting as Williams, whose gag Henley had removed, lifted her head and asked Henley: "Is this for real?", to which Henley replied "yes." Williams then asked Henley: "are you going to do anything about it?"

Henley then asked Corll if he could take Rhonda into another room. Corll ignored him and Henley then grabbed Corll's pistol, shouting: "You've gone far enough, Dean!" Corll approached Henley, saying: "Kill me, Wayne!" Henley stepped back a few paces as Corll continued to advance upon him, shouting: "You won't do it!" Henley fired at Corll, hitting him in the forehead; Corll continued to lurch towards him and Henley fired a further two rounds at him, hitting him in the left shoulder. Corll spun round and staggered out of the room, hitting the wall of the hallway. Henley fired three additional bullets into his lower back and shoulder as Corll slid down the wall in the hallway outside the room where the two other teenagers were bound. Corll died where he fell, his naked body lying face towards the wall.

After shooting Corll, Henley released Kerley and Williams from the torture board and all three teenagers dressed and discussed what actions they should take. Henley suggested to Kerley and Williams that they should simply leave; to which Kerley replied: "No; we should call the police." Henley agreed and looked up the number for the Pasadena Police in Corll's telephone directory.



"I killed a man!"

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At 8:24 a.m. on August 8, 1973, Henley placed a call to the Pasadena Police. His call was answered by an operator named Velma Lines. In his call, Henley blurted to Lines: "Y'all better come here right now! I just killed a man!" Henley gave the address to the operator as 2020 Lamar Drive, Pasadena. As Kerley, Williams and Henley waited upon Corll's porch for the police to arrive, Henley mentioned to Kerley that he had "done that (killed by shooting) four or five times."

Minutes later, a Pasadena Police car arrived at 2020 Lamar Drive. The three teenagers were sitting on the porch outside the house, and the officer noted the .22 caliber pistol on the driveway near the trio. Henley informed the officer that he was the individual who had made the call and indicated that Corll was lying dead inside the house.

After placing Henley, Williams and Kerley inside the patrol car, the officer entered the bungalow and discovered Corll's dead body inside the hallway. The officer returned to the car and read Henley his Miranda rights. In response, Henley shouted: " I don't care who knows about it. I have to get it off my chest!" Kerley later informed detectives that before the police officer had arrived at Lamar Drive, Henley had informed him: "I could have gotten $200 for you."

Confession

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James Glass, aged 14.

In custody, Henley explained that, for almost three years, he and David Brooks had helped procure teenage boys (some of whom were their own friends) for Corll, who had raped and murdered them. Corll had paid $200 for each victim he or Brooks were able to lure to his apartment. Henley gave a statement admitting he had assisted Corll in several abductions and murders of teenage boys, informing police that Corll had buried most of his victims in a boat shed in Southwest Houston, and others at Lake Sam Rayburn and High Island Beach.

Police were initially skeptical of Henley's claims, assuming the sole homicide of the case was that of Corll, which they had ascribed to being the result of drug-fueled fisticuffs that had turned deadly. Henley was quite insistent, however, and upon his recalling the names of three boys — Cobble, Hilligiest and Jones —whom he and David Brooks had procured for Corll, the police accepted that there was something to his claims, as all three teenagers were listed as missing at Houston Police headquarters. David Hilligiest had been reported missing in the summer of 1971; the other two boys had been missing for just two weeks. Moreover, the floor of the room where the three teenagers had been tied was covered in thick plastic sheeting. Police also found a plywood torture board measuring seven-by-three feet with handcuffs in each corner. Also found at Corll's address were a large hunting knife, rolls of clear plastic of the same type used to cover the floor, a portable radio rigged to a pair of dry cells to give increased volume, a number of dildos, thin glass tubes and lengths of rope.



The Ford Econoline van belonging to Corll parked in the driveway conveyed a similar impression. The rear windows of the van were sealed by opaque blue curtains. In the rear of the vehicle, police found a coil of rope, a swatch of beige rug covered in soil stains, and a wooden crate with air holes drilled in the sides. The pegboard walls inside the rear of the van were rigged with several rings and hooks. Another wooden crate with air holes drilled in the sides was also found in Corll's back yard. Inside this crate were several strands of human hair.

Search for victims
Henley agreed to accompany police to Corll's boat shed in Southwest Houston, where he claimed the bodies of most of the victims could be found. Inside Corll's boat shed, police found a half-stripped car, which turned out to have been stolen from a used car lot in March, a child's bike, empty bags of lime, and a box full of teenage boys' clothing.



Police began digging through the soft, shell-crushed earth of the boat shed and soon uncovered the body of a young blond-haired teenaged boy, lying face up and encased in clear plastic, buried beneath a layer of lime. Police continued excavating through the earth of the shed, unearthing the remains of more victims in varying stages of decomposition. Most of the bodies found were wrapped in thick, clear plastic sheeting. Some victims had been shot, others strangled, the ligature still wrapped tightly around their necks.

All of the victims found had been sodomized and most victims found bore evidence of sexual torture: pubic hairs had been plucked out, genitals had been chewed, objects had been inserted into their rectums, and glass rods had been shoved into their urethrae and smashed. Cloth rags had also been inserted into the victims' mouths and adhesive tape wound around their faces to muffle their screams. In some instances, Corll had also castrated his live victims; severed genitals were found inside sealed plastic bags. On August 8, 1973, a total of eight corpses were uncovered at the boat shed.

Accompanied by his father, David Brooks presented himself at the Houston Police Station on the evening of August 8, 1973, and gave a statement denying any participation in the murders, but admitting to having known that Corll had raped and killed two youths in 1970.



On August 9, 1973, police accompanied Henley to Lake Sam Rayburn in San Augustine County, where Henley had told police that Corll had buried four victims he had killed that year. Two additional bodies were found in shallow graves.

Police found nine additional bodies in the boat shed on August 9, 1973. David Brooks gave a full confession that evening, admitting to being present at several killings and assisting in several burials, although he continued to deny any direct participation in the murders. He agreed to accompany police to High Island Beach to assist in the search for the bodies of the victims.



On August 10, 1973, Henley again accompanied police to Lake Sam Rayburn, where two more bodies were found buried just ten feet apart. As with the two bodies found the previous day, both victims had been tortured and severely beaten, particularly around the head. That afternoon, both Henley and Brooks accompanied police to High Island Beach, leading police to the shallow graves of two more victims.

On August 13, 1973, both Henley and Brooks again accompanied the police to High Island Beach, where four more bodies were found, making a total of twenty-seven known victims - the worst killing spree in American history at the time.

Henley initially insisted that there were two more bodies to be found inside the boat shed, and also that the bodies of two more boys had been buried at High Island Beach in 1972. At the time, the killing spree was the worst case of serial murder (in terms of number of victims) in the United States, exceeding the 25 murders attributed to Juan Corona from California, who was arrested in 1971 for killing twenty-five men. The 'Houston Mass Murders' , as they became known, hit the headlines all over the world: even Pope Paul VI commented on the atrocious nature of the crimes and offered sympathy to relatives of those who had died. Police were inundated with inquiries regarding missing boys from parents across the United States.

Families of Corll's victims were highly critical of the Houston Police Department, which had been quick to list the missing boys as runaways who had not been considered worthy of any major investigation: The families of the murdered youths asserted that the police should have noted an insidious trend in the pattern of disappearances of teenage boys from the Heights neighborhood; other family members complained the police had been dismissive to their adamant insistence that their sons had no reasons to run away from home. The father of the Waldrop brothers complained that the Houston police chief had simply told him "You know your boys are runaways." The mother of Malley Winkle stated: "You don't run away (from home) with nothing but a bathing suit and 80 cents."

By April of 1974, twenty-one of Corll's victims had been identified, with all but four of the youths having either lived in or had close connections to Houston Heights. Two more teenagers were identified in 1983 and 1985: one of whom, Richard Kepner, also lived in Houston Heights. The other youth, Willard Branch, lived in the Oak Forest district of Houston.



Victims

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Homer Garcia, aged 15.

Dean Corll and his accomplices are known to have killed a minimum of 28 teenagers and young men between September 1970 and August 1973, although it is suspected that the true number of victims may be 29 or more. To date, a total of 26 of his victims have been identified, and the identity of a 27th victim whose body has never been found is conclusively known. All of the victims had been killed by either shooting, strangulation or a combination of both.

1970

  • September 25: Jeffrey Konen, 18. A student at the University of Texas abducted while hitchhiking from Austin to the Braeswood Place district of Houston. He was buried at High Island Beach.
  • December 15: Danny Yates, 14. Lured with his friend James Glass from an evangelical rally by David Brooks to Corll's Yorktown apartment.
  • December 15: James Glass, 14. An acquaintance of Corll who also knew David Brooks. He and his friend were strangled before being buried in Corll's boat shed.




1971
  • January 30: Donald Waldrop, 15. Vanished on his way to visit a bowling alley. According to Brooks, Donald's father, who was a builder, was working on the apartment next to Corll's at the time that Donald and his brother were murdered.
  • January 30: Jerry Waldrop, 13. The youngest of Corll's victims. He and his brother were strangled and buried in Corll's boat shed.
  • March 9: Randell Harvey, 15. Disappeared on his way home from his job as a gas station attendant; he was shot in the head and buried in Corll's boat shed. Remains identified October, 2008.
  • May 29: David Hilligiest, 13. One of Henley's earliest childhood friends; he was last seen alongside his friend Malley Winkle climbing into a white van.
  • May 29: Gregory Malley Winkle, 16. A former employee of Corll Candy Company and boyfriend of Randell Harvey's sister. He disappeared on his way to visit a local swimming pool.
  • August 17: Ruben Watson, 17. Left his home to visit the cinema on the afternoon of August 17. Watson later called his mother to tell her he was spending the evening with Brooks. He was gagged, strangled and buried in Corll's boat shed.


1972
  • February 9: Willard 'Rusty' Branch, Jr. 17. The son of a Houston Police officer whose father died of a heart attack in the search for him; Branch was castrated before he was shot and buried in Corll's boat shed. Remains identified July, 1985.
  • March 24: Frank Aguirre, 18. Aguirre had been engaged to marry Rhonda Williams, whose presence in Corll's house sparked the fatal confrontation between Henley and Corll. He was strangled and buried at High Island Beach.
  • April 20: Mark Scott, 17. A friend of both Henley and Brooks who was killed at Corll's Schuler Street address. According to Henley, Scott was strangled and buried at High Island; although his remains have yet to be found.
  • May 21: Johnny Delone, 16. A Heights youth who was last seen with his friend walking to a local store. He was shot in the head, then strangled by Henley.




  • May 21: Billy Baulch, 17. A former employee of Corll Candy Company. He was strangled by Henley and buried at High Island Beach.
  • July 20: Steven Sickman, 17. Sickman was last seen leaving a party held in the Heights. He suffered several fractured ribs before he was strangled with a nylon cord and buried in the boat shed. Remains identified April, 2011.
  • October 3: Wally Jay Simoneaux, 14. Abducted while walking to Hamilton Junior High School: Simoneaux attempted to call his mother at Corll's residence before the call was disconnected. He was strangled and buried in Corll's boat shed.
  • October 3: Richard Hembree, 13. Last seen alongside his friend in a white van parked outside a Heights grocery store. He was shot in the mouth and strangled at Corll's Westcott Towers address.
  • November 12: Richard Kepner, 19. Vanished on his way to call his fiancee from a pay phone, he was strangled and buried at High Island Beach. Remains identified September, 1983.


1973
  • February 1: Joseph Lyles, 17. An acquaintance of Corll who lived on the same street as Brooks. He was seen by Brooks to be "grabbed" by Corll at Wirt Road and was subsequently buried at Jefferson County Beach.
  • June 4: Billy Ray Lawrence, 15. A friend of Henley who phoned his father to ask if he could go fishing with "some friends." He was kept alive by Corll for four days before he was killed and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn.
  • June 15: Ray Blackburn, 20. A married man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who vanished while hitch-hiking from the Heights to see his newborn child. He was strangled at Corll's Lamar Drive residence and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn.




  • July 7: Homer Garcia, 15. Met Henley while both youths were enrolled at a Bellaire driving school. He was shot in the head and chest and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn.
  • July 12: John Sellars, 17. An Orange youth killed two days before his 18th birthday. Sellars was shot in the chest and buried at High Island Beach. He was the only victim to be buried fully clothed.
  • July 19: Michael 'Tony' Baulch, 15. Corll had killed his older brother, Billy, the previous year. He was strangled and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn.
  • July 25: Marty Jones, 18. Jones was last seen along with his friend and flatmate, Charles Cobble, walking towards Corll's apartment in the company of Henley.
  • July 25: Charles Cary Cobble, 17. A school friend of Henley whose wife was pregnant at the time of his murder. His body, shot twice in the head, was found in the boat shed.
  • August 3: James Dreymala, 13. The son of Seven-day Adventists, Dreymala was last seen riding his bike in South Houston. He last called his parents to tell them he was at a "party" across town.


Footnotes

  • At Henley's trial in 1974, the Harris County medical examiner raised questions as to whether John Sellars was actually a victim of Dean Corll. Sellars, a U.S. Marine who had been reported missing on July 12, 1973, had been killed by four gunshot wounds to the chest fired from a rifle, whereas all of Corll's other known victims had either been shot with the same pistol that Henley had used to kill Corll or strangled. Moreover, Sellars' car had been found burned-out one week after the youth had disappeared. However, Henley and Brooks had led police to Sellars' grave on High Island Beach, and the youth's body was bound with rope as other victims had been.


  • In June 2008, Dr. Sharon Derrick, a forensic anthropologist with the medical examiner's office in Houston, released digital images of Corll's three still-unidentified victims. The unidentified victims were listed as ML73-3349, ML73-3356 and ML73-3378. Two of the unidentified victims were found buried in the boat shed and were estimated to have been killed in 1971 or 1972. ML73-3378 was buried at Lake Sam Rayburn just 10 feet from the body of Homer Garcia, who had disappeared on July 7, 1973. The victim was estimated to be in a slightly more advanced state of decomposition to Garcia, leading investigators to estimate that he had been killed in mid- to late-June 1973.


  • On October 17, 2008, ML73-3349 was identified as Randell Lee Harvey, a Heights teenager who had been reported missing on March 11, 1971 - two days after he had disappeared. Harvey, who had been shot through the eye, was wearing a navy blue jacket with red lining, jeans and lace-up boots. A plastic orange pocket comb was also found alongside his body.


  • On September 13, 2010, DNA analysis was able to confirm that the unidentified victim known as ML73-3378 was actually Michael Baulch, who had incorrectly been identified as case file ML73-3333: the second victim unearthed from the boat shed. Michael Baulch had disappeared en route to a barbers on July 19, 1973 - a year after his brother Billy had been murdered by Corll. Henley had stated in his confession to police that he and Corll had "choked" Michael Baulch and buried him at Lake Sam Rayburn. The unidentified victim mistakenly identified as Michael Baulch had been killed by two gunshots to the head and buried inside the boat shed. Three factors had helped lead to the mis-identification of the unidentified victim as being that of Michael Baulch: Michael's parents had previously filed a missing person's report on their son (who had previously left home to search for his older brother) in August 1972 - precisely the same time as the unidentified victim buried in the boat shed is estimated to have been killed. This was the only missing person's report on file for Michael Baulch. In addition, the unidentified victim was of a similar height and age to Baulch and circumstantial dental fractures had also helped incorrectly facilitate the mis-identification of the second body unearthed as that of Michael Baulch. The unidentified body buried in the boat shed and initially mistakenly identified as Michael Baulch is estimated to have been killed on or about August 21, 1972.


  • A body found on a beach in Jefferson County in August of 1983 is strongly believed to be a 28th victim of Dean Corll. The body was identified November 11, 2009, through DNA analysis as 17-year-old Joseph Allen Lyles, a Heights teenager who had disappeared on February 1, 1973. Lyles is known to have both visited Corll's apartment and to have lived on the same street as David Brooks. He was listed as a possible victim of Corll after the other murders were discovered in 1973. At the time of his disappearance, Corll resided in an apartment at 1855 Wirt Road, where he lived between January 20 and March 7 of 1973, when he moved to his father's Pasadena bungalow. Brooks had specifically stated Corll had "got one boy by himself" during the time he lived at this address. In addition, at the time that Lyles disappeared, Henley had temporarily moved to Mount Pleasant, which leaves a strong possibility that Corll had killed Lyles without the assistance of Henley.




  • In the confession given by Elmer Wayne Henley on August 9, 1973, the youth had stated that victim Mark Scott had been strangled and buried at High Island. David Brooks had also stated in his confession that Scott (who was well known to both of Corll's accomplices) was likely buried at High Island. The body of the fifteenth victim disinterred from the boat shed was mistakenly identified by Dr. Joseph Jachimczyk as being that of Mark Scott in January, 1994. In 2010, Henley disputed the identification of a victim buried in the boat shed as being Mark Scott and reiterated his claim to the interviewer that Scott had been buried at High Island "in the sand: fetal position; head up." As a result of Henley's claims, DNA tests on the body identified as Scott were tested against samples of DNA taken from Scott's family. In March, 2011, DNA analysis confirmed that the victim known as ML73-3355, had also been misidentified and in April, the victim was identified as Steven Sickman, a 17-year-old youth who was last seen walking down West 34th street shortly after midnight on July 20, 1972, and who was murdered at Corll's Westcott Towers address. Sickman's mother had reported her son missing shortly after his disappearance, but police had been unwilling to conduct a search for the youth, telling the mother that the youth was 17-years-old and that unless they found a body, there was nothing they could do to assist her. Had Henley not been adamant in his assertion that the body of Mark Scott had been misidentified, Sickman would have never been conclusively confirmed as a victim of Corll.


  • All six bodies directly linked to the Houston Mass Murders found at High Island have been identified. As Henley's claim that the victim known as ML73-3355 was not Mark Scott has been proven to be correct, a strong suspicion remains that the body of Mark Scott remains buried on High Island.


More victims?

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David Brooks (right) talking with a detective during the search for bodies buried at High Island on August 10, 1973.

Forty-two boys had vanished within the Houston area since 1970. The police were heavily criticized for curtailing the search for further victims once mass killer Juan Corona's macabre record for having the most victims had been surpassed. After finding the 26th and 27th bodies, tied together, at High Island Beach, the search was called off. A curious feature about this final discovery was the presence of two extra bones (an arm bone and a pelvis) in the grave, indicating at least one additional victim awaiting discovery. The search for more bodies at the beach was abandoned on August 13, 1973, despite Henley's insistence that there were two more bodies buried on the beach in 1972.

The two bodies that Henley had insisted were still buried on the beach may have been those of Mark Scott and Joseph Lyles. In light of developments relating to the identifications of victims, the body of Mark Scott still lies undiscovered at High Island and the victim Joseph Lyles was only found by chance in 1983. Had the search for bodies continued, the two victims would have likely been discovered.

Fellow workers at the Corll Candy Company recalled Corll doing a lot of digging in the years leading up to 1968, when his mother's third marriage was deteriorating and the firm was failing. Corll stated he was burying spoiled candy to avoid contamination by insects. He subsequently cemented over the floor. He was also observed digging in waste ground that was later converted into a car park. Former employees also recalled that Corll had rolls of clear plastic of precisely the same type used to bury his victims. The suspicion is that Corll may have begun killing much earlier than 1970, and may also have been abusing youths prior to this date.

During a routine investigation in March, 1975, the Houston police discovered a cache of pornographic pictures and films depicting young boys. Of the sixteen individuals depicted within the films and photos, eleven of the youths appeared to be among the twenty-one victims of Corll who had been identified by this date. The discovery raised a disturbing possibility that the statements Corll had given to both Henley and Brooks prior to his murder that he was associated with an organization based in Dallas catering to pedophiles which "bought and sold boys" may indeed have held a degree of truth. The discovery of the material in Houston in 1975 subsequently led to the arrest of five individuals in Santa Clara, California. No direct link in these arrests to the Houston Mass Murders was proven, as the Houston authorities declined to pursue any possible link to the serial killings, stating they felt Corll's victims' families had 'suffered enough'.

It should be noted there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that Corll had ever solicited any of his victims in this manner; not only because the Houston authorities chose not pursue this potential possibility, but also because neither David Brooks nor Wayne Henley have ever mentioned either meeting any individuals from the "organisation" Corll had claimed he was involved with. In addition to these facts, they have never mentioned ever having seen the victims either filmed, photographed or released from Corll's torture board until after their torture and murder. The arrests in Santa Clara do, however, indicate a possible validity into Brooks' statements to police that Corll had informed him that his earliest murder victims had been buried in California.



Moreover, Brooks names Corll's first murder victim as a youth killed at an apartment complex on Judiway Street, where Corll had lived prior to September 1970. The earliest victims Brooks had initially confessed to having known Corll had killed were two teenage boys killed at 3300 Yorktown, an address Corll had moved to after he had moved out of his Judiway Street apartment. The earliest double murder Corll is known to have committed is the double murder of James Glass and Danny Yates in December of 1970. Glass and Yates were actually killed at Corll's Yorktown address, as was Corll's earliest known murder victim, Jeffrey Alan Konen, killed in September of 1970. A possibility exists that the earliest double murder victims were Glass and Yates; however, Brooks specifically named James Glass, a youth he knew, in his confession to police and described the youth as being killed in an altogether separate double murder to the first double murder Corll is known to have committed. In addition, Brooks only knew the location of Konen's body at High Island Beach due to the fact that Corll had shown him the location. It is possible that the initial double murder Brooks had discovered Corll in the process of committing occurred after the murder of Konen and before those of Glass and Yates. These details, alongside the fact two additional bones were found with the 26th and 27th victims discovered, indicate a minimum of two and possibly four more unknown victims.

There are two suspiciously long gaps between known victims in the chronology of Corll's known murders. Corll's last known victim of 1971 was Ruben Watson, who disappeared on August 17. The first victim of 1972 was Willard Karmon Branch, Jr., who disappeared on February 9, meaning no known victims were killed for almost six months. Moreover, Corll is also not known to have killed between February 1 and June 4 of 1973. Of Corll's two confirmed still-unidentified victims; both were in an advanced stage of decomposition at the time of their discovery, leading investigators to deduce each of the victims had likely been killed in 1971 or 1972. One of these victims (the second victim unearthed from the boat shed) is estimated to have been killed on or about August 21, 1972. The other known unidentified victim, the 16th body found in Corll's boat shed, was found wearing swimming clothing, leading investigators to conclude that he was likely killed in the summer months. The body was found near the entrance to the boat shed between the body of Ruben Watson and the body of Steven Sickman, whereas the bodies of the victims killed between December of 1970 and May of 1971 were found buried at the rear of the shed. It is likely, though not conclusive, that the unidentified 16th victim may have been killed in the late summer or early fall of 1971.



Regardless of the dates when the unidentified victims buried in the boat shed had been killed, there still remains a gap of four months between February and June of 1973 when no known victims had been claimed by Corll. In March of 1973, a Mr. and Mrs. Abernathy had reported to Galveston County authorities that they had observed three men carrying and burying a 'long, wrapped bundle' at Galveston Beach. The couple identified two of the men as Corll and Henley. The third individual had long, blond hair - like Brooks. As the couple watched the trio, one of the men (whom they later identified as Henley) advanced upon the car with such a menacing expression that the couple felt compelled to drive away.

Two women had also observed three men digging at the beach in May of 1973 - one of whom they positively identified as David Brooks. However, police were again unwilling to extend the search.

Indictment

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On August 13, a Grand Jury convened in Harris County to hear evidence against Henley and Brooks: the first witnesses to testify were Rhonda Williams and Tim Kerley, who testified to the events of August 7 and 8 leading to the death of Dean Corll, another witness who testified to his experience at the hands of Dean Corll was Billy Ridinger. After listening over 6 hours of testimony from various people, the jury initially indicted Henley on three murder charges and Brooks on one count. Bail was set at $100,000.

The District Attorney did request that Henley undergo a psychiatric examination to deduce whether he was mentally competent to stand trial, but his attorney, Charles Melder, opposed the decision, stating the move would violate Henley's Constitutional rights.



By the time the Grand Jury had completed its investigation, Henley had been indicted for a total of six murders, and Brooks for four murders. Henley was not charged with the death of Dean Corll, which was ruled self-defense.

Trial, conviction and incarceration

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Wayne Henley, pictured at his appeal against his initial conviction in December, 1978.

Elmer Wayne Henley and David Owen Brooks were tried separately for their roles in the murders. Henley was brought to trial in San Antonio on July 1, 1974, charged with six murders committed between March of 1972 and July of 1973. The prosecution called dozens of witnesses, including Tim Kerley and a youth named Billy Ridinger, who had been lured to Corll's Schuler Street address by Henley, Brooks and Corll in 1972. Ridinger testified that at Corll's home he was tied to Corll's torture board and assaulted repeatedly by Corll before he was released.

Other incriminating testimony came from police officers who read from Henley's written statements. In one part of his confession, Henley had described his luring of two of the victims for whose murder he had been brought to trial, Charles Cobble and Marty Jones, to Corll's Pasadena house. Henley had confessed that Jones was tied to a board and forced to watch Charles Cobble be assaulted, tortured and shot to death before he himself was raped, tortured and strangled with a venetian blind cord. The two youths were killed on July 27, 1973, two days after they had been reported missing. Several victims' parents had to leave the courtroom to regain their composure as police and medical examiners described how their relatives were tortured and murdered.



Throughout the trial, the State introduced a total of eighty-two pieces of evidence, including Corll's torture board and one of the boxes used to transport the victims. Inside the box, police had found hair which examiners had concluded came from Charles Cobble. Upon advice from his defense counsel, Henley did not take the stand to testify. His defense attorney, Will Gray, did cross examine several witnesses but did not call any witnesses or experts for the defense. On July 16, 1974, Henley was sentenced to six consecutive 99-year terms — a total of 594 years — for each of the murders for which he was charged.

Henley appealed against his sentence and conviction, contending the jury in his initial trial had not been sequestered; his attorneys' objections to news media being present in the courtroom had been overruled and citing that his defense team's attempts to present evidence contending that the initial trial should not have been held in San Antonio had also been overruled by the judge. Henley's appeal was upheld and he was awarded a retrial in December of 1978. He was tried again in June of 1979 and was again convicted of six murders on June 27, 1979, and again sentenced to six consecutive 99-year terms.

David Brooks was brought to trial on February 27, 1975. Brooks had been indicted for four murders committed between December of 1970 and June of 1973, but was brought to trial charged only with the June 1973 murder of 15-year-old Billy Ray Lawrence. Brooks' defense attorney, Jim Skelton, argued that his client had not committed any murders and attempted to portray Corll and, to a lesser degree, Henley as being the active participants in the actual killings. Assistant District Attorney Tommy Dunn dismissed the defenses contention outright, at one point telling the jury: "this defendent was in on this murderous rampage from the very beginning. He attempts to inform you he was a cheerleader if nothing else. That's what he is telling you about his presence. You know he was in on it."

David Brooks' trial lasted less than one week. The jury deliberated for just 90 minutes before they reached a verdict. He was found guilty of Lawrence's murder on March 4, 1975, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He showed no emotion as the sentence was passed, although his wife burst into tears.

Brooks also appealed against his sentence, contending that the signed confessions used against him were taken without his being informed of his legal rights, but his appeal was dismissed in May of 1979.

As of 2011, both Henley and Brooks are still in prison.

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Corll


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