Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?

World's Most Dangerous Killer

After Thanksgiving in 1983, the Texas Rangers spearheaded the Henry Lee Lucas Task Force. In a one-day event sponsored by the Texas Department of Public Safety, on December 7, Texas lawmen questioned Lucas in the hope of closing their open cases. At this time, Lucas had taken credit for around 126 murders, and the Rangers believed that 35 were clearly associated with him. However, they were also aware that Lucas had lied about some and had said he was unclear about details of others because he'd been under the influence of alcohol of drugs. While they collected information and contacted other agencies, they filled in gaps about Lucas's whereabouts as best they could during his murdering years.

Then for three days in January 1984, 107 officers from eighteen states and the District of Columbia filled the Holidome in Monroe, Louisiana for a second conference about the homicides allegedly committed by Henry Lee Lucas (the first one, drawing not quite as many, had been in October). At that time, it was announced that 72 cases had been cleared on Lucas and Toole, and they were suspects in 71 more cases. He was going to be allowed to book interviews by phone or in person until his murder trial in March for the Orange Socks murder. He had two court-appointed attorneys looking after his rights. The Rangers urged officers not to give Lucas too many details or photographs, because they wanted to be certain that cases that were cleared stayed cleared.

Lucas did appear to close cases and accurately lead investigators to crime scenes. He knew details about murders to which he confessed that had not been published in the press. In a case in Kennewick, Washington, he described the murder of a woman in impressive detail, and his blood was matched to blood on a towel — which he said he'd used to wipe his hand after cutting himself with the murder weapon.

"I had no feelings for the people themselves, or any of the crimes," he stated. "...I'd pick them up hitchhiking, running, and playing, stuff like 'at. We'd get to going and having a good time. First thing you know, I'd killed her and throwed her out somewhere."

Finally, he faced his most serious charge.


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