Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?


The letter went to Toole in prison. He had heard about Lucas's confessions, and he readily backed them up, adding gruesome details of his own. Toole offered details that seemed to clear some two dozen murders in 11 states, and he agreed that he had participated with Lucas in over one hundred killings.

In one disturbing phone call they were allowed to make (their first contact in two years), Toole urged Lucas to go ahead and "spit it out" if there was a crime that he'd had a hand in. Toole also tried to goad Lucas into admitting to cannibalism. On a documentary made for American Justice, he was quoted in a taped conversation as saying, "Remember one time I said I wanted me some ribs? Did that make me a cannibal?" He indicated that they both had "fileted" some meat from the bodies and mentioned that he'd poured out some blood so he could see what the male victim tasted like. Lucas responded, "I've seen bodies cut up worser than you've ever seen bodies cut up." Ottis ignored this one-ups-manship and indicated that with bar-b-que sauce it tasted like real meat. Lucas said that he'd abstained from that behavior because he did not like the taste of barbecue sauce. He did tell Toole that they had a devil in them that made them do these things that most people didn't. "You and I have become the same thing that people look at as animals," Lucas stated, as quoted in Cox's book.

After about half an hour, they said good-bye to each other, apparently having thoroughly enjoyed the repulsive show they'd put on for law enforcement. Bob Prince, from the Lucas Task Force, spotted the game and believed it decreased their credibility. Despite Lucas's claim to want to do the right thing, he simply took too much delight in what he was doing. Later the "partners" were brought face to face when Lucas was taken to Jacksonville to talk with officers there, but said nothing of substance. Toole forgave Lucas for killing Becky, shrugging it off as her time to die.

With new information supplied by Lucas, Toole received a death sentence when it was determined that one of the fires he had set had killed a man. He received a second death sentence for the murder of an elderly woman, but both were commuted to life.


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