Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?

The House of Prayer

John Walsh
John Walsh

In the meantime, Lucas had wandered around Texas with his "child bride," finally settling with Kate Rich. However, relatives disliked them and kicked them out, according to the American Justice documentary. They found a new home near Stoneburg in a Pentecostal commune (a former chicken ranch) known as the House of Prayer. The head of the group, Ruben Moore, was both a lay minister and a contractor, so he gave Lucas and Becky, who claimed to be husband and wife, a shack to live in (Egger says a trailer) and hired Lucas for some odd jobs. Max Call indicates that Lucas left Florida when he did to avoid implication in the murder of a female school teacher, and he also writes that the new digs in Texas had connections to the Hand of Death cult in which Lucas was supposedly a member. Call also described Kate Smith as a member, suggesting that she paid Lucas for activities involving organized crime. There is no reason to suppose any of that was true.

According to the story Lucas told, Becky eventually tired of the living conditions and wanted to return home. On August 24, 1982, the day after Lucas's birthday, Becky argued with him, saying she missed her family, but Lucas was afraid that he would lose her if they went back, so he resisted. He also knew he faced a warrant for stealing a truck. But Becky would not give up. She pouted and cried, so he finally relented and told her to get ready to go.

Because he had no license plates on his car, he decided they should hitch-hike, and they got a ride as far as Denton, Texas, north of Dallas. Lucas then got a six-pack of beer and tried again to persuade Becky to give up the idea. She argued back, which reminded Lucas of his mother, and then Becky slapped him. He'd reacted by killing her with a meat-carving knife, shoving it straight into her chest. He was angry, he later said, that she just would not take responsibility for herself. To his horror, she died quickly: "She was gone before I knew it."

Then right next to the Interstate, on a blanket that Becky had spread for them to sleep, he raped the corpse. He thought it was the best sex he'd ever had with her. He then removed her head, dismembered her (removing her hands with special care), and cut the trunk of her body into two large pieces. The person who once had been Becky now lay there in nine pieces. These he placed into a pillowcase, but then removed them and just scattered them around a nearby field. He also dumped Becky's purse and small suitcase.  No one knew them around these parts, he figured, so no one could trace it. Later he expressed regret, because he claimed that he'd truly loved Becky. Once he'd cleaned off her blood, he hitched a ride back to the House of Prayer and told Moore and the others that Becky had gotten into a truck and left him. Then a couple of weeks later, he returned to the area to bury some of the remains in a shallow hole near a copse of trees. Within another week, he was contemplating another murder.


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