Elmer Wayne Henley
American serial killer
Elmer Wayne Henley
Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. is a convicted American serial killer, incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) system. Henley was convicted in 1974 for his role in a series of murders in Houston, Texas between 1970 and 1973 in which a minimum of 28 teenage boys were abducted, raped and murdered by Dean Corll. Many of the victims were lured to Corll's home by Henley or Corll's other teenage accomplice, David Brooks.
Elmer Wayne Henley's personal information overview.
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  • 2016
    Age 59
    As of early 2016, both Henley and Brooks are still serving life sentences.
    More Details Hide Details Henley, who is assigned TDCJ #00241618, is currently incarcerated in the Mark W. Michael Unit in Anderson County.
  • 2010
    Age 53
    In a 2010 interview, Henley stated: "I couldn't leave anyway. If I did go, I knew Dean would go after one of my little brothers, who he always liked a little too much." Nonetheless, between June and July 1973: he, Brooks and Corll had killed a further seven victims between the ages of fifteen and twenty, at least six of whom Henley participated in either the abduction of or murder.
    More Details Hide Details On June 4, a 15-year-old friend of Henley's named Billy Lawrence was abducted and, after 3 days of abuse and torture at an address Corll had moved to in Pasadena, strangled with a ligature and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn. Less than two weeks later, a 20-year-old hitch-hiker named Raymond Blackburn was likewise strangled and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn before a 15-year-old South Houston youth named Homer Garcia was shot and buried at the same location after his July 7 abduction. Two additional youths, John Sellars and Michael Baulch, were killed on July 12 and July 19 and on July 25, Henley lured two friends of his named Charles Cobble and Marty Jones to Corll's apartment where, two days later, Cobble was shot and Jones strangled before the youths were buried in Corll's boat shed. On August 3, Brooks and Corll - without the assistance of Henley - abducted and killed a 13-year-old boy named James Dreymala. Dreymala was strapped to Corll's torture board, raped, tortured & strangled before being buried in Corll's boat shed.
  • 1999
    Age 42
    In 1999 the city of Houston expressed interest in building a monument to victims of violent crime, which Henley said he would be willing to help pay for with part of the proceeds from a second art show.
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  • 1997
    Age 40
    A pen pal with whom Henley has corresponded has also organized several exhibitions of his artwork. In 1997, the Hyde Park Gallery in Houston's Neartown area hosted Henley's first art show.
    More Details Hide Details This exhibition drew outrage from some victims' relatives.
  • 1994
    Age 37
    In 1994, at the suggestion of a Louisiana art dealer, Henley began to paint as a hobby, in part as a means of generating income for himself and his mother.
    More Details Hide Details Henley refuses to paint or draw any images of a violent or exploitative nature: many of his works depict serene imagery such as landscapes, buildings and flowers and the majority being created using acrylics and graphite. In interviews, Henley has stated that he suffers from a severe color deficiency in his eyesight that makes it impossible for him to clearly distinguish between reds and greens. To compensate, any portraits Henley draws of humans are in black and white; with his other works usually being drawn or painted in color.
  • 1980
    Age 23
    Henley first became eligible for parole on July 8, 1980; on this occasion—and each successive parole hearing to date—he has been denied parole.
    More Details Hide Details Henley's next eligible parole date is October 2025 when he will be 69 years old.
  • 1979
    Age 22
    He was tried for a second time in June 1979 and was again convicted of 6 murders and again sentenced to six consecutive life terms.
    More Details Hide Details In February 1975, David Brooks was tried for the June, 1973 murder of Billy Ray Lawrence. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on March 4.
  • 1978
    Age 21
    Henley's conviction was overturned on appeal on December 20, 1978.
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  • 1974
    Age 17
    Henley was brought to trial in San Antonio in July 1974, charged with the murders of six teenage boys whom he himself lured to Corll's apartment between March 1972 and July 1973.
    More Details Hide Details Throughout his trial, Henley was represented by Will Gray and Edwin Pegelow. The State of Texas presented a total of 82 pieces of evidence throughout Henley's trial, including the written confession Henley had given on August 8, which was read to the court in which he admitted killing or assisting in the abduction and murder of several youths, including the 6 teenagers for whose murder he was on trial. Other pieces of evidence presented included the wooden box used to transport the victims' bodies to the various burial sites and the plywood body board upon which many victims had been restrained. Within the wooden box, investigators had found several strands of human hair which examiners had concluded came from Charles Cobble. A total of 25 witnesses testified as to Henley's involvement in the abductions and murders, including Detective David Mullican. At one point during the trial, Mullican testified that Henley had informed him that in order to restrain the youths; he, Brooks and Corll had "handcuffed (the victims) to the board and sometimes to a wall with their mouths taped so they couldn't make any noise".
  • 1973
    Age 16
    On August 8, 1973, Henley brought a further potential victim, 19-year-old Timothy Kerley, to Corll's home upon the promise of a party.
    More Details Hide Details Before Corll was able to manacle Kerley to his torture board, the pair left Corll's home to purchase sandwiches. Henley and Kerley later returned to Corll's home - in the company of a 15-year-old girl named Rhonda Williams. Corll was furious that a girl had been brought to his house, telling Henley in private he had "ruined everything." Externally, however, Corll remained calm: he waited until Henley and the other two teenagers fell asleep from a night of drinking and smoking marijuana before binding and gagging them. Henley woke to find Corll placing handcuffs upon his wrists, Kerley and Williams had each been bound and gagged and lay alongside Henley on the floor. Corll then dragged Henley by his cuffed hands into his kitchen and placed a .22 caliber pistol against his stomach, threatening to shoot him. Henley pleaded for his life, promising to participate in the torture and murder of the other youths if Corll released him. Corll agreed and untied Henley, then carried Kerley and Williams into his bedroom and tied them to opposite sides of his plywood torture board: Kerley on his stomach; Williams on her back.
    In the spring of 1973, Henley attempted to enlist in the U.S. Navy, but his application was rejected due to the fact he had dropped out of high school and possessed a limited education.
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    On August 13, 1973, a grand jury convened in Harris County to hear evidence against Henley and Brooks.
    More Details Hide Details The jury heard evidence from both Rhonda Williams and Tim Kerley, who each testified to the events of August 7 and 8 leading to the shooting of Dean Corll, plus the testimony from various police officers who recited and discussed the written statements each youth had made and described how both Brooks and Henley had led them to each of the burial sites. The assembled jury also heard the testimony of a youth named Billy Ridinger, who had been abducted by Corll, Henley and Brooks in 1972 and who testified as to his torture and abuse at the hands of the trio. After listening to the evidence presented, the jury initially indicted Henley on three counts of murder and Brooks on one count. Bail was set at $100,000. Henley was not charged with the death of Dean Corll, which was ruled self-defense.
    However, Henley and Brooks had led police to Sellars' body on August 13, 1973 and the youth's body was found bound hand and foot and buried in a manner similar to Corll's other known victims.
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    The youth, who vanished on July 12, 1973, had died of four gunshot wounds fired from a rifle, whereas each other victim of the Houston Mass Murders had either been strangled or killed with the .22 caliber pistol Henley had used to kill Dean Corll.
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    By the time Richard Kepner had been killed and buried at High Island, Henley had assisted in the abduction and murder of a minimum of nine teenage boys. On February 1, 1973, Corll abducted and killed a 17-year-old youth named Joseph Lyles, apparently without the assistance of Henley, who had temporarily moved to Mount Pleasant in early 1973.
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  • 1972
    Age 15
    The identity of this first victim Henley assisted in the abduction of is not known, although it is possible the youth was 17-year-old Willard Karmon Branch, who disappeared in February 1972 and was found buried in Corll's boat shed.
    More Details Hide Details On March 24, Henley, in the company of Corll and Brooks, persuaded an 18-year-old friend of his named Frank Aguirre to accompany him to Corll's home on the promise of smoking marijuana with the trio. At Corll's home, Aguirre was plied with marijuana, then persuaded to handcuff himself. Corll dragged Aguirre to his bedroom and secured him to his torture board where he was raped, tortured and strangled before being buried at High Island Beach. Henley later claimed that he attempted to talk Corll out of raping and killing Aguirre, but Corll adamantly refused. At this point, Corll told him the youth he had previously assisted in the abduction of had been killed and that Aguirre was to suffer the same fate. Later, Corll and Brooks told Henley that his childhood friend, David Hilligiest, had also been killed and buried in his boat shed along with his swimming companion Malley Winkle.
    Henley later told police that, for several months, he completely ignored Corll's offer. However, in early 1972, he decided he would "help find a boy" for Corll as he was in dire financial circumstances.
    More Details Hide Details At Corll's home, Corll and Henley devised a ruse in which they would lure a youth to Corll's home and Henley would then cuff his hands behind his back, release himself, then con the victim into placing the handcuffs upon himself. The pair then drove around Houston Heights and, at the corner of 11th and Studewood, Henley persuaded a youth to enter Corll's GTX. The victim was lured to Corll's Schuler Street apartment on the promise of smoking some marijuana. At Corll's address, Henley helped con the teenager into donning the handcuffs, then watched Corll pounce on the youth, tie his feet and place tape over his mouth. Henley then left the youth alone with Corll, believing he was to be sold into the homosexual slavery ring. The next day, Corll paid Henley $200.
  • 1971
    Age 14
    In the winter of 1971, when he was 15, Wayne Henley was again taken by David Brooks to meet Corll.
    More Details Hide Details In his confession given almost two years later, Henley told detectives Brooks lured him to Corll's home on the promise he could participate in "a deal where I could make some money." At Corll's home (where he was possibly taken as an intended victim), the youth was told by Corll that he belonged to an organization based in Dallas which recruited young boys for a homosexual slavery ring. Henley was offered the same fee as Brooks ($200) for any boy whom he could bring to Corll.
    Henley was friends with two of the youths, David Hilligiest and Malley Winkle, who disappeared on May 29, 1971 on their way to a local swimming pool.
    More Details Hide Details Henley actively participated in the search for them.
    Nonetheless, in 1971, Henley also began spending time in Corll's company.
    More Details Hide Details Corll told Henley that he was involved in organized theft, and he, Brooks and Henley burglarized several addresses, for which Henley was paid small sums of money. On one occasion, in an apparent test of character, Corll asked Henley if he would be willing to kill if required, to which Henley replied, "Yes." The same year, Henley became aware of an insidious pattern of disappearances in his neighborhood: Since the previous December a total of eight boys age 13 to 17 had disappeared.
  • 1970
    Age 13
    The couple divorced in 1970 when Henley was 14.
    More Details Hide Details Henley's mother retained custody of her four sons. Initially, Henley was an excellent student at school; but after his parents' divorce he took a series of menial part-time jobs to help his mother with household finances, and his grades dropped sharply. At the age of 15 Henley dropped out of high school. Prior to his leaving high school, Henley became acquainted with a youth one year his senior named David Brooks. The two became friends and often played truant together. Through his acquaintance with Brooks, Henley became aware that his friend spent a lot of his free time in the company of an older man with whom he himself gradually became a casual acquaintance: Dean Corll. Initially, Henley was oblivious to the true extent of Corll's and Brooks' relationship. He later stated that though he admired Corll because he worked hard, he also suspected that Corll was homosexual, and concluded that Brooks was "hustling himself a queer."
  • 1956
    Henley was born May 9, 1956, in Houston, Texas, the eldest of four sons born to Elmer Wayne Henley, Sr. and Mary Henley (née Weed).
    More Details Hide Details His father was an alcoholic and a wife-beater who also physically assaulted his sons. His mother was nonetheless protective of her children and strove to ensure her children received a good education and stayed out of trouble.
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