Monday, November 12, 2012

Henry Lee Lucas: Portrait of a Serial Killer

So why are so many people intrigued by serial killers??? For many Americans, these modern-day ogres offer a perverse thrill. But is really the threat there?? "Some experts believe the number of serial killers is rising. "Going back to 1960, you had about 10,000 homicides a year in the U.S., and most of these were solved and very few of them represented multiple or serial killers," notes Ressler, now a forensic consultant in Spotsylvania, Virginia. "Today we're running 25,000 homicides a year, and a significant number of those homicides are going unsolved. We're seeing a great increase in stranger killing and in many of these cases, the victims are falling to serial and multiple killers." Still, the notoriety these killers enjoy is out of proportion to their numbers. The FBI estimates there may only be dozens of serial killers operating in the U.S. Yet serial murder remains a peculiarly American phenomenon: 75% of the 160 or so repeat killers captured or identified in the past 20 years were in the U.S."

In interviews for the film, McNaughton stated "We didn't try to lay in a very specific them, only that it's a crazy, dangerous world. These people, killers, are out there, and if it's your turn..." So the fear and effectiveness of this film is built upon are intrigue with these animalistic freaks and the chance that they in fact could be the "boy next door".

Let me conclude by saying, that this page is not presented in any way as a tribute to the foul deeds of Henry Lee Lucas. Rather it is provided as a source of information to help illustrate the underlying inspiration that Lucas has had on the film. Although a fictional representation of Henry's life, it does demonstrate some truths in it's examinations. There was an Ottis and Becky. Henry did in fact have a relationship with Becky which lead to her ultimate demise.

HENRY LEE LUCAS
Henry Lee Lucas might be America’s most prolific serial killer. On the other hand, he might be the biggest liar since Baron von Munchhausen. After experiencing a self-described "religious conversion" in prison, he decided to bare his soul and confess to an astronomical number of murders. Later, however, he recanted most of his testimony. Among law enforcement officials, the exact number of his crimes remains a matter of debate. Still, even if Lucas’s final body counts falls far short of the five hundred victims he originally claimed, he nevertheless ranks as one if the most depraved serial killer in history.
Subjected to untold horrors by his insanely abusive mother, Lucas began indulging in sadistic depravity while still a child. By thirteen, he was engaging in sex with his older half-brother, who also introduced Henry to the joys of bestiality and animal torture. One of their favorite activities was slitting the throats of small animals, then sexually violating the corpses.

Early in his childhood, Lucas was compelled to dress as a girl by his mother. She would curl her little boy’s stringy blond hair into ringlets and sent him off to school in girl’s clothes.

One year later, he committed his first murder, strangling a seventeen year-old girl who resisted his efforts to rape her. In 1954, the eighteen year-old Lucas received a six-year prison sentence for burglary. Soon after his release in 1959, he got into a drunken argument with his seventy four-year-old mother and stabbed her to death. He also confessed to raping his corpses, though he later retracted that detail.

Receiving a forty-year sentence for second degree murder. Lucas ended up in the state psychiatric facility. In spite of his own protestations—"When they put me out on parole, I said I’m not ready to go. I told them all, the warden, the psychologist, everyone that I was going to kill"---he was release after only ten years. Eighteen months later he was back in prison for molesting two teenage girls.

Lucas was discharged from the state pen in 1975. Not long afterward, he met Ottis Toole, a vicious psychopath who became Lucas’s partner in one of the most appalling killing spree in the annals of American crime. For the next seven years, this deranged duo roamed the country, murdering and mutilating an untold number of victims. Like Lucas, the profoundly depraved Toole also had a taste for necrophilia. He also indulged in occasional cannibalism, an atrocity that Lucas tended to shun, since he found human flesh too gamy. For much of their odyssey, they  were accompanied by Toole’s preadolescent niece, Frieda "Becky" Powell, who became Lucas’s lover and common-law wife. She would later become his ultimate victim, when at age fifteen she was found dismembered, stuffed in pillowcases, and strewn over a field.

Lucas was picked up on a weapon charge in 1983. A few days later, after apparently being stricken by an uncharacteristic attack of bad conscious, he summoned his jailer, "I done some pretty bad things," he muttered. With that he began spilling his guts admitting to a staggering number of murders. Some of these have been confirmed, others have proven false (like the Virginia schoolteacher he alledged killing who was later found to still be alive or his claimed to have committed murders in Spain and Japan even though he never left the country or being a hitman for the Satanic cult, the "Hand of Death),many remain open cases. Lucas even confessed to have carried the poison to Guyana as a favor to his good friend Jim Jones.  Many investigators still believe that Lucas was responsible for just a couple of murders and the real criminals were the officers who fed him information on unresolved cases and coerced confessions. Serial killer expert Robert Ressler believes Henry might be responsible for as little as five killings. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. At a 1985 trial, he was convicted of ten homocides---more than enough to get him the death sentence.

Ottis got off his death sentence as he was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic. His death sentence was commuted to six consecutive life sentences. In prison Ottis confessed and later recanted killing 6-year-old Adam Walsh, whose 1981 disappearance outside a Hollywood, Florida, mall set off a nationwide manhunt and launched the TV career of his father, John Walsh, as the creator and host of the Fox television series "America's Most Wanted." In the autumn of 1996 Ottis died in prison of liver failure.

Whatever the actual total, the horrific nature of Lucas’s life of crime was summed up in one statement: "Killing someone is is just like walking outdoors. If I wanted a victim, I’d just go and get one."

After confessing to over 300 hits, Hank recanted it all only to confess again when he became born-again.

On March 31, 1998, Texas State District Judge John Carter set June 30 as the execution date for Henry Lee. Although his many confessions, he was sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of a female hitchhiker known as "Orange Socks" for the only item of clothing left on her body. During many of his detractions Lucas claimed that he was working as a roofer in Florida when the hitchhiker was killed. No execution date had been set for Lucas until now. He was granted a stay in September 1995 so his claims of false confessions could be investigated. The stay was lifted a year later.

On June 27, 1998 Governor George W. Bush spared Henry's life because of overwhelming evidence proving that Henry was not in Texas when "Orange Socks" was murdered. Although Lucas confessed to killing her, work records and a cashed paycheck indicated he was in Florida at the time of the murder. Bush issued the reprieve on the recommendation of the state parole board. "I can only thank them for believing the truth and having guts enough for standing up for what's right," Lucas said from death row.

"Henry Lee Lucas is unquestionably guilty of other despicable crimes which he has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison," said Bush, in Brownsville for a conference of U.S.-Mexico border state governors. "However, I believe there is enough doubt about this particular crime that the state of Texas should not impose its ultimate penalty by executing him."






Henry Lee Lucas
Classification: Serial Killer & Serial Confessor
Born: August 23, 1936, Blacksburg, Virginia
Arrested: June 15, 1983
Died: Natural causes, Huntsville Prison, March 11, 2001
No. Victims: 3-600
Active: 1947-1983
Victim Profile: Random women, men, young girls, hitchhikers
Fetishes: Necrophilia, bestiality, necrophilic bestiality, child molestation, arson.
Location: Michigan, Texas, and possibly 20 more states.
Ottis Toole
Classification: Serial Killer - Cannibal
Born: Jacksonville, Florida
Arrested: 1983
Died: Liver failure, September 15, 1996
No. Victims: 2-65
Active: ?-1983
Victim Profile: Random women, men, hitchhikers, young boys
Fetishes: Cannibalism, arson, cross-dressing.
Location: Texas, Florida, and possibly many more states.


The Tag Team from Hell: the Sadist King and the Generalissimo of Pain. The numbers speak for themselves, or maybe not. Lucas and Toole could either be the deadliest team of killers in the Archives, or the greatest hoaxers in crime history. No one can be quite sure how many people they killed even if they confessed and recanted up to 600 murders. Once labelled the "most infamous man on death row", Lucas, at the time of his death, was remembered by prison authorities as "the best" working the prison sewing machines. With his death the night of March 12, 2001, Henry Lee Lucas took to his grave either a far-reaching confession hoax, or a lethal cross-country rampage of random serial killing. 

As a kid, Henry was the poster child of the dysfunctional "Future Serial Killer Club". Though had eight brothers and sisters whom were farmed out to institutions, relatives, and foster homes, he managed to stay at home where he was mistreated and abused. In true hillbilly fashion, Henry was uneducated, malnourished, beaten, and forced to watch his uncaring, bootlegging, prostitute mom -- Viola Lucas -- turn tricks. His alcoholic father, called "No Legs" because of a chance encounter with a freight train, killed himself after repeatedly being humiliated by his abusive wife. Henry was often forced to go to school barefoot and wearing a dress and curlers. Not surprisingly, he dropped out by fifth grade and remained semi-literate for the rest of his life.

As a teenager he enjoyed sex with his half-brother and dead animals. The future serial confessor said he first killed and raped a girl at the age of 15. When he was 17, Henry sliced open his eye while playing with a knife with his brother. His left his gashed orb unattended for days until it eventually withered and had to be removed by a doctor and replaced with prosthetic glass. Once he was beat so severely with a piece of wood that he lay in a semi-conscious state for three days before one of Violet's boyfriend decided to take him to a local hospital. All this explaining why Lucas spent most of his youth in and out of correctional institutes until January 11, 1960, when, in a drunken binge, Henry stuck a knife in his mother's back and proceeded to rape her dead corpse. Later, like on many other occasions, he recanted his act of incestuous necrophilia.

He got 40 years for matricide and was sent to Jackson State Penitentiary in southern Michigan. A social worker there met Lucas and observed "a very inadequate individual with feelings of insecurity and inferiority." After two attempted suicides, Hank was transferred to a mental facility for the criminally insane, where he was diagnosed as a suicidal psychopath, sadist, and sexual deviant.

Inexplicably he was out after serving only 10. After his release things didn't get any better. He had an unsuccessful marriage which ended when his wife discovered he was having sex with her two small girls. Then he lived with his sister Wanda, leaving when she accused him of sexually abusing her young daughter.

In 1978, after a chance meeting in a Jacksonville soup kitchen, he joined up with a part-time transvestite and deeply psychotic retard, Ottis Toole, to carry out numerous murderous escapades. Ottis was erotically stimulated by arson and had a taste for human flesh. Henry, however, was not a cannibal because, he said, he disliked the taste of Ottis' barbecue sauce. He was more of a sadist and a necrophile, preferring sex with mutilated bodies and dead animals: "I enjoy dead sex more than I do live sex."
The consummate killer couple, they enjoyed picking up hitchhikers to satisfy their lust for blood. Sometimes, when they didn't want to go through the hassle of killing and disposing of their prey, they would just run over the occasional hitchhiker and continue on their merry way. These lethal lovebirds parted ways after Ottis' mildly retarded 12-year-old niece, Becky Powell, shacked up with Henry. One day the unfortunate lassie lost her temper and struck Henry in the face. Not Mr. Nice Guy, Lucas grabbed a carving knife and stabbed her in the heart killing her instantly. After raping her post-mortem, he dismembered her, stuffed her in pillowcases and left her remains strewn over a field.

Lucas was arrested in June 15, 1983, for a minor weapons charge. Within days he confessed to the one-year-old murder of 82-year-old Kate Rich, a Montague County woman who had taken Becky Powell and him in when they moved to Texas. Then he confessed to murdering and dismembering little Becky and led detectives to the field where he dumped her body. During the Powell trial he confessed to having sex with her after her death: "I had sex, intercourse with her. It's one of those things that I guess got to be part of my life, having sexual intercourse with the dead."

After he was sentenced to life in prison he congratulated the prosecutor for a job well done and continued confessing to the tune of 600 murders throughout the United States. Lucas' highly publicized confession spree prompted detectives from 40 states to visit him to talk about an estimated 3,000 homicides which in turn led to one of the greatest mockeries of the U.S. legal system with cops clearing their books of unsolved murders and Lucas parroting whatever information he was fed. "I've killed by strangulation. I've killed by hit-and-runs, by shootings, by robberies, by hangings. Every type of crime, I've done it. I've got more female population hating my guts, more than any other place in the earth."

According to his confession Lucas claimed he and Toole would pick up most of his victims along the interstates: "Just about everyone I pick up, I kill 'em. That's the way it always turn out." Toole, who at the time was incarcerated in Florida on an arson murder, confirmed many of the claims, adding his own details. According to Ottis they picked many more hitchhikers when he wore a dress. Not surprisingly the confession became morbidly bizarre with episodes of necrophilia, dismemberment, and cannibalism on account of Toole's taste for human flesh.

Later, when he recanted his confessions, he said he wanted to make police "look stupid", which after all is said and done, he did. "That's just a bunch of garbage I put together," Lucas said of the confessions in a 1998 interview with The Associated Press. "I'm not some kind of saint, but I do believe I'll go to heaven. And I do believe those who did the killings will be punished by God." He blamed the confessions on a steady diet of tranquilizers, steaks, hamburgers and milkshakes fed to him by investigators, along with crime scene clues he said he parroted back to detectives. Unfortunately for the victims and their relatives, many of those murder cases were never reopened.

Lucas toured the country as a star killer looking for evidence of his handiwork for avid police departments. Curiously, not a bit of evidence was uncovered by the excursions. But as Henry continued rambling on about murders another police department invited him to their jurisdiction hoping to pin whatever they could the garrulous confessor. In 1985, Dallas Times-Herald journalist, Hugh Aynesworth, claimed their reign of terror was a hoax and that overzealous detectives fed the would-be killers many details of their crimes. Henry and Ottis confessed to a huge amount of murders in 26 states. Henry even claimed to have carried the poison to Guyana as a favor to his good friend Jim Jones.

Many investigators still believe that Lucas was responsible for between three and twelve killings and the real criminals were the officers who fed him information on unsolved cases and coerced confessions. Serial killer expert Robert Ressler believes Henry might be responsible for as little as five killings. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

To many investigators' surprise one of Henry's earliest alleged victims, a Virginia schoolteacher, was found alive and kicking after he was charged with her murder. Not one to hold back his most outrageous boasts, he claimed to have committed murders in Spain and Japan even though there's no evidence suggesting he ever left the United States.

Some of the crimes, he said, were committed under orders from the Satanic cult, the Hand of Death, who recruited them to help out with the human sacrifices. "They take a live girl and put her on the table and split her open and take all of her organs out," he told police, adding that sometimes they would take the entrails and "put them in a pot and cooked 'em." The Hand of Death has also been mentioned by Charles Manson and New York's infamous Son of Sam as the true masterminds behind their crimes. It is unclear if the group actually exist or its mythical reality has become transcendental.

Meanwhile back in Florida, Ottis was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and his death sentence was commuted to six consecutive life terms for an arson murder. Ottis too got the confession bug and claimed to have killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh, whose 1981 disappearance outside a Hollywood, Florida, mall set off a nationwide manhunt and launched the TV career of his father, John Walsh, as the creator and host of the Fox television series "America's Most Wanted."

On September 15, 1996, Ottis died in a prison hospital of liver failure. Walsh, who repeatedly criticized the police handling of his son's case, questioned why investigators did not try to interview Toole on his deathbed or try for another confession. Speaking from prison after Ottis' death, Lucas said Toole killed Adam and later showed him the remains of the boy in a shallow grave. "I got sick about it. I said let's get the hell out of here."

On March 31, 1998, Texas State District Judge John Carter set June 30 as the execution date for Henry Lee for the 1979 murder of an unidentified female hitchhiker known by law enforcement as "Orange Socks". The victim was so named because the socks were all she was wearing when her body was found in a ditch off Interstate 35 near Georgetown, north of Austin.

On June 27, 1998, the then Governor (now president) George W. Bush spared Henry's life because of 
overwhelming evidence proving that the drifter was not in Texas when "Orange Socks" was murdered. Although Lucas confessed four times to killing her, work records and a cashed paycheck indicated he was working as a roofer in Florida at the time of the murder. Bush -- who as governor executed 152 inmates -- issued the only reprieve in his career on the recommendation of the state parole board. "I can only thank them for believing the truth and having guts enough for standing up for what's right," Lucas said from death row. After the commutation, Lucas predicted that there was an "80 percent chance" he would walk free someday.

"Henry Lee Lucas is unquestionably guilty of other despicable crimes which he has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison," said Bush, in Brownsville for a conference of U.S.-Mexico border state governors. "However, I believe there is enough doubt about this particular crime that the state of Texas should not impose its ultimate penalty by executing him."

Besides the life term for the Orange Socks killing, Lucas was serving five other life sentences and 210 years in prison for three other slayings. The district attorney who prosecuted the Orange Socks case, Ken Anderson, said Tuesday he believes Lucas killed anywhere from three to a dozen people. "I don't think he knew exactly," Anderson said "He had no reliability. He had such a chaotic life. It's difficult to imagine you can rely on anything he said, but the fact remains he was a serial killer even though we're unable to pinpoint the exact number."

In 1999, Henry made it in the news again when he told reporters he had become fascinated by drifter Angel Maturino Resendiz, the Railroad Killer who has been connected to at least eight slayings in Texas, Kentucky and Illinois. "If this was 1983, I'd claim these murders, too," Lucas told the Houston Chronicle. He told the paper he admired Resendiz and thought he was playing a "brilliant" cat and mouse game with the FBI agents trying to track him.

In Death Row in Huntsville Henry became born-again and spent the last 18 years of his life making guard uniforms. According to prison personnel, he was model prisoner and an ace on the sewing machines. Henry died the night of March 12, 2001 in Huntsville Prison's infirmary. He was pronounced dead of natural causes at 11:16 p.m. Lucas was a chain smoker and had a history of heart disease. He had recently complained of breathing difficulties and spent two nights in the prison hospital. Officials said he will be buried in the inmate cemetery if no family members claim his body. He was 64 at the time of his death.
  

taken from mayhem.net

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