Spanning the years of 1970-73, a small town in Texas experienced a horror-filled reality that no one ever believed they would face. With a series of at least twenty-nine confirmed homicides, the town was in panic as they aimed to capture the murderer.
The culprit was an unlikely one, as a thirty-three year old military man, Dean Corll, was shot in the chest and back by his fifteen year old accomplice, Wayne Henley, who would later confess.Dean Corll, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1939, was born a privileged child praised by his mother, and an heir to a family candy factory. His mother, Mary, never had a single bad thing to say about Dean, she admits she believed his solitary attitude came from an incident at a friend’s birthday when younger, which could have been the beginning of a huge snowball in Dean’s life regarding his violence. At a young age, Dean’s parents also got divorced leaving his family broken and causing his mother, his brother, and himself to move to the modest town of Vidor, Texas. While living with his mother, she explained that she saw no need in giving Dean a sex education lecture, giving the reasoning that Dean was “not interested” in sex. Dean grew up an inexperienced, father-figureless child until his mother remarried and she and Dean’s step dad moved to Houston where the family business thrived.
However, Dean and his brother stayed behind to finish school. This was the beginning of it all. 1963 was the first incident Dean encountered in regard to male harassment. It was in this year that Dean’s mother and his step dad has divorced leaving his mom to make the decision of opening her own candy store where Dean would soon work.
Not long after starting his job, a male employee made complaints to Mrs. Corll that Dean had made “sexual advances” towards himself. However, still in awe of her son, she fired the employee rather than Dean. After this occurrence, Dean believed it would smart to join the military which he did from 1974-75. In this short span of a year, he would come to realize that he was in fact, a homosexual. Upon returning home from the military, he resumed working at the family candy store where he would earn the nickname of “Candy Man” because he favored the younger boys and would hand out free candy to them.
In 1967, Corll buddied up with a young boy by the name of David Brooks who came from a broken, unstable family. The relationship first started out innocent but escalated as Dean asked for sexual favors in return for money. However, Dean’s family soon moved to Colorado along with the family business so he was forced to find a new job, as an electrician, so he could stay behind with David. And in 1970, he and David would commence on a new kind of endeavor: murder.Corll used the same tactic for each victim.
Brooks, the trustworthy accomplice would lure boys into Dean’s car, who would later promise them the fun of a party at his house. Dean certainly delivered as he provided alcohol and drugs to the underage boys. After becoming unconscious or woozy, he would strap his victims to a “torture board” that was two feet wide by eight feet long. They were raped, tortured, and eventually killed by Corll who would finish the job by either gunshot or strangling. He would then dispose of the bodies in one of four separate locations. In 1971, Corll added another young boy to his collection of accomplices.
Fifteen year old Wayne Henley would provide services for Corll in return for a promised $200 for each victim they supplied to him. In 1973, however, Dean moved to the city of Pasadena due to the fact that an alarming number of children were disappearing and people were starting to notice. For a number of months, he didn’t kill until in the summer of 73′ when he, Brooks, and Henley would go on a killing spree of seven young boys. A few days after his seventh kill, Henley brought over his friends Tim Kerley and Rhonda Williams to enjoy a “party” with Corll. However, being that all of his murders were boys, Dean was infuriated that Henley brought a girl into his house, yet he let it slide. Not long after the argument the three teenagers and Corll found themselves drinking, smoking and huffing fumes until they were unconscious.
Despite Henley thinking the argument was over, when they awoke, all three were tied up by Corll who said he was going to murder Henley for bringing a girl into his house. Henley begged to be released, and eventually was after assuring he would help Dean kill both Tim and Rhonda.Henley and Corll brought the kids into a bedroom where they proceeded to beat and de-clothe the victims. While being undressed, Rhonda woke up causing Henley to exclaim that he was not able to kill anymore people and he wouldn’t allow Corll to kill anymore of his friends. Soon after he grabbed a gun and shot Dean Corll to death and then called the police to whom he confessed about every murder of the past three years. Both Henley and Brooks were sentenced to life in prison where they still serve today.
Dean Corll was killed on August 8, 1973 in Pasadena with an impressive 29+ murders. He held the record for the most confirmed kills and put the small communities of Texas in shambles. Although Henley was arrested, the his moral beliefs became the demise for a now notorious serial killer and the once undisturbed town of Houston was renewed to its prior, undisturbed state.