Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?

Meeting of Deviant Minds

When Toole met Lucas at the soup kitchen, they went home together to have sex and soon became regular lovers. Apparently they recognized the kindred soul in each other, so they traveled the country from 1978 until 1982. Lucas gave an interview in which he said that he had to re-educate Toole in the art of murder (which became the basis for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). Having studied prison records of how men were caught, he wanted to be certain the Toole could follow directions and avoid detection. "He was doing his crimes all one way," Lucas said. "I started to correct him in his ways, in doing the crime where he wouldn't leave information."

Toole & Lucas
Toole & Lucas

They traveled together from one state to another (reportedly 26 states and D.C.), and their favorite prey were female hitchhikers for Lucas, or males for Toole. But they also slaughtered people they robbed. Lucas indicated that he had no feelings for any of the people they picked up. He'd have a good time with them and then kill them and dump them out along the side of the road. One time he'd even ridden across two states with the head of a victim in his backseat before he realized he'd kept it.

During that time, Toole is mentioned in some accounts as having introduced Lucas to the "Hand of Death" cult, telling him how they killed children for sacrifice to Satan. Max Call describes what they did in service to this cult, supposedly learning to use rape as a tool of punishment and murder as part of the cult's overall plan. They trained people like Ottis and Henry to become killing machines. However, there was no corroboration of this story, so law enforcement dismissed it as the imagination of a loser trying to seem more special than he was.

In 1977, Toole married a woman 24 years his senior and insisted that she share him with Lucas. According to interviews she later gave, he told her he could not perform with a woman unless he also knew he could get a man, so the following year they separated.

Lucas's story is equally sordid and it bears some odd similarities.


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