Sunday, May 22, 2011

Facebook Page of Houston Serial Killer Elmer Wayne Henley Taken Down


A Facebook page dedicated to the notorious Houston serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley has been taken down on behalf of the state of Texas and the sister of one of Henley's victims, Cindi Yates, according to KHOU.

Yates' brother, Danny, was one of the victims of a serial killer ring that consisted of Henley, a teenager at the time of the killing spree; David Brooks, another youth; and Dean Corll, a man in his 30s at the time. Henley and Brooks are serving life sentences for their participation in a series of rape/torture/murders that took place between 1970 and 1973 in Houston, Texas.

Inmates in the Texas prison system are not allowed Internet access, so it is presumed that the offending Facebook page was put up by a friend or admirer of Henley.

According to "The Man with the Candy," an account of the murders, Henley and his friend Brooks met while in high school in 1970. Brooks introduced Henley to Corll, perhaps as an intended victim. Instead Henley joined Brooks in luring young boys to Corll's apartment where they were bound, raped, tortured, and murdered. Most of the bodies were buried in a boat shed owned by Corll near the childhood home of this writer.

The killing spree ended on August 8, 1973, when Henley shot Corll dead during an altercation involving the presence of a girl in the Corll apartment. Henley subsequently confessed to the police that he and Brooks had been paid $200 to lure boys to Corll's apartment. Some 28 boys were eventually found to have been murdered by Corll.

Henley was convicted to a life sentence in 1974 of the murder of six boys he had personally lured to Corll's apartment. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 1978. Henley was retried and reconvicted in 1979 to six life sentences. Though he was first eligible for parole in 1980, it is very unlikely that he will ever breathe free air again.

The Cori/Henley/Brooks murders were one of the most celebrated serial killing cases of the 20th century predating both Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. The idea of people committing murders, especially with a sadistic sexual aspect, was a new phenomenon for the public in the 1970s. The story was covered by Houston media for many months, with every gory detail examined.

In the 21st century, serial killers are now just part of the media and cultural landscape, with TV shows like "Criminal Minds" and "Dexter" devoted to the subject. But people who kill to satisfy some dark, twisted urge are real, as is the suffering of their victims. Elmer Wayne Henley helped to bring that reality to public consciousness almost forty years ago.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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