Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dean Corll


Elmer Henley heading to court.
Elmer Henley heading to court.

Wayne Henley delivered justice to Dean Corll on August 8, 1973, when he shot him in self-defense. Wayne and David Brooks had been planning to kill Corll because they were afraid of him and afraid that he had gone crazy. They had always considered themselves potential victims and worried that they might not see it coming fast enough to escape. Also, Dean had been acting very strangely and they feared that his increased need for new victims and intensified savagery with the latest victims posed a threat to their collective security.

Despite their confessions of murdering and torturing a number of victims, neither Henley nor Brooks were likely candidates for the newly defined Texas guidelines on capital punishment. The Legislature did not provide that murder committed during just any felony could be punishable by death only kidnapping, robbery, burglary, forcible rape and arson.

In 1974, Wayne Henley was convicted of murder in the deaths of six boys and was sentenced to six consecutive 99-year terms. In 1975, David Brooks was convicted of murder in the death of one 15-year-old boy and was sentenced to life.

Every three years by law, they come up for a parole hearing, but each time it is rejected. Mr. & Mrs. Walter Scott, whose son was murdered in the serial murder case, attends each parole review to ensure that the parole board does not forget their crimes, which topped the list of the worst crimes in the past 100 years in Houston history.

One of Henley's paintings
One of Henley's paintings

Wayne Henley has taken up art in prison and paints flowers and other nonviolent subjects. The offering of his paintings and other personal items on e-Bay has caused a stir of protest in the city of Houston and elsewhere. Unlike some states, Texas does not have a "Son of Sam" law that prevents criminals from profiting from books, paintings, etc. that become popular because of criminal notoriety.

Another Henley painting
Another Henley painting

Marilyn Bardsley is available for media and documentary interviews. Please contact Mike Wild at to make arrangements.

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