Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?

Some Bad Things

Henry Lee Lucas
Henry Lee Lucas

In Stoneburg, Texas on July 11, 1983, a drifter named Henry Lee Lucas was arrested for the illegal possession of a firearm. As a convicted felon, he was not allowed to have one. Lucas was 46 at the time, and a suspect in the case of two missing women, but thus far the leads were tenuous. Investigators were relieved to be able to lock him up for even a minor infraction, because they figured that once he was in custody they could get him to talk about the women: he had known Kate Rich, 82; and Becky Powell, just a girl at 15, had been Lucas's companion. Witnesses had seen him with Kate on the day she'd disappeared. The one-eyed drifter just looked like bad news waiting to happen. At the very least, he should be able to tell them why Becky was no longer with him.

Lucas was not happy about being locked up, especially because it kept him from coffee and cigarettes. He said that he'd been on the verge of helping to find Kate, but now they could do without his assistance. He was placed in a small cell in the Montague County jail. Lucas claimed later (probably lying) that the police had treated him badly, stripping him, denying him cigarettes, holding him in a substandard cell, and prohibiting his contact with an attorney. He'd endured it for a period of four days and then decided to get their attention.

While talking with one of the jailers, Joe Don, Lucas admitted that he'd done "some bad things." As if to mitigate it, he said that he'd tried and failed to get help. "I have killed for the past ten years," he confessed, "and no one will believe me." Clearly, he was ready to talk, so investigators were positive that they'd soon have the information they needed to wrap up these two cases. Indeed, they did... and then some.


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