Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dean Corll

Victim or Victimizer?

Dean Corll
Dean Corll

As police dug into Dean Corll's reputation and past, early returns suggested that the 33-year-old man was the victim not the monster that Henley made him out to be. This sentiment was summed up in comments like this:

All my friends knew him,
and my friends' folks knew
him, and they never thought anything [bad] about him...
They always thought Dean
was a good dude. He'd
help me; he'd help them, anything.

Then an old girlfriend, Betty Hawkins, a divorcee with two small boys, came forward. She had known and dated Dean for five years or so, and said only good things about him:

Dean was one of the kindest men I ever knew. If he had something and someone needed it, he'd give it to them. So far as I know, he didn't have any special hobby, unless it was helping other people. That guy must have gone through 15 TV's in the last five years. Every time I turned around, his TV would be gone. Somebody would come up and say they needed one and he'd give it to them.

He made me feel like I was somebody, and the biggest majority of men seemed to want to make me feel so much lower than them, and all they wanted was to take me to bed. In five years, Dean and I never really had sex. Sometimes we would hug and kiss. There were times that we came close, but we never did it. He believed that you should be married. There aren't very many like that.

He'd say things like, 'You know I been thinking lately I ought to settle down and get married.' But all of sudden, he would change his mind. And later he'd say he couldn't afford to get married. And I'd say, 'Well I can work, you know.' But he'd say, 'No way. If we got married, you wouldn't work. Definitely not."

Then some information started to leak out that suggested a different picture. A teenaged homosexual who called himself "Guy" claimed that Corll made a sexual pass at him in a public men's room. "I just wasn't interested at all," Guy said. "We became extremely close friends." He said that Corll was extremely gentle and kind to him, but he had in his house a bedroom that was off limits to Guy. "I'll never take you in there," Corll told him.

Guy claimed that Corll was very critical of openly gay bars and bathhouses. There was a barrier that Dean had set up between himself and an overtly gay lifestyle

He was sort of like a cloud of mystique; he was just there. Seemed like he had another life he would go to and I was not a part of it, and I never wanted to infiltrate his other domain. He seemed to set up a barrier and wanted me to stay on one side. The other aspects of his life were taboo. I knew he had a friend named Wayne, but every time I'd bring up his friends, he'd more or less just cut them off... he never wanted me to meet them.

Corll was afflicted by the anxieties that gave rise to the adage, "nobody loves you when you're old and gay." In sub-culture that, perhaps, intensifies the angst of Western culture in general, puts a premium on youth and looks, Guy saw Corll as less than self-confident:

He felt like an outcast, especially age-wise. He was hypersensitive about his age, how he looked, if he was young looking, if he had maybe something a little bit wrong with his hair. He'd always want compliments, or he'd want constructive criticism.

At times he would be totally childlike and rambunctious and crazy. He wanted to be in with the youthful crowd; he'd show it by his actions. Someone who is around 35, you don't want to see him wading in a pond. You don't want him taking off his shoes, rolling up his pant legs and go skipping down the street.

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