On August 8th, 1973 the Pasadena Police Department receives a phone call from a man saying “Y’all better come here right now! I just killed a man!”. What the police didn’t know is that the man that had been murdered was about to be outed as a serial killer, his name was Dean Corll and he had just been murdered by one of his teenage boy accomplices named Elmer Henley.
Corll got the nickname candy man because his mother ran a candy factory and he would give out free candy to the neighbourhood kids. The factory was actually across the road from the local high school so a lot of the students would hang out there with Corll and do odd jobs at the factory which led to Corll furnishing the factory with couches and a pool table to entice kids to hang out there. One of the teenagers he hired to do jobs around the factory accused Corll of making sexual advances toward him, his mother fired the teenager. Corll had also fitted out his van with carpet, cushions and tv so that he could drive the teenagers to the beach.
After his mother left Texas, Corll ran the candy factory for a few years before it went broke and then he found work as an electrician. He moved around a bit after leaving the factory but he always had a group of teenage boys hanging around him and he would often buy them weed and alcohol.
During his time at his mother’s candy factory, he met 12-year old David Owen Brooks who viewed Corll as a father figure but that soon changed. When Brooks was 15 years old Corll started sexually abusing him and in payment, he would give Brooks money and gifts.
In December of 1970, Brooks walked into Corll’s bedroom and found two boys naked and shackled to the bed. He saw Corll sexually assaulting the boys but he didn’t do anything about it, he just left. Later on that day, Brooks went back to Corll’s home where he explained that the boys were a part of a pornography ring and he offered to buy Brooks a car if he kept quiet. Corll bought him a green corvette and Brooks kept quiet.
For the next 3 years, Brooks along with another teenage boy that Corll was sexually abusing Elmer Henley would bring victims to Corll so he could rape and torture them, then the boys would help him kill the victims and dump their bodies.
Then one morning in 1973, Henley invited his friend 19-year-old Timothy Kerley over to Corll’s home where all three of them drank alcohol and sniffed paint. Then at midnight Henley and Kerley went to buy snacks, once there they ran into another friend of theirs, 15-year-old Rhonda Williams and she went with them back to Corll’s home.
Corll was annoyed that the boys had brought a girl back to his home but after Henley calmed him down they all continued to drink until they passed out. The next morning Henley woke up to find Corll handcuffing him with his mouth taped and ankles bound. He also saw that Kerley and Williams were shackled to his bed. Corll then pointed his gun at Henley and told him that he was going to kill all of them but not until he has had his fun.
Henley convinced Corll to untie him so that he could help him torture and kill the other two. He was ordered by Corll to take a knife and cut Williams’ clothes off and rape her whilst he rapes Kerley. Williams looked Henley in the eyes and asked “is this for real? Aren’t you going to do anything about it?” And that question “flipped a switch” according to Henley, he grabbed the gun and told Corll that he can’t have him killing all of his friends and he shot him until there were no bullets left.
Once the police arrived they found a shocking crime scene. The bedroom floor was covered in plastic with numerous sex toys around, a knife, ropes and handcuffs. After a more extensive search of the property, police discover a casket style box with holes in the side, bags of limes, eight pairs of handcuffs, ropes, more sex toys and glass tubes. The police also searched his van which had blacked-out windows, the walls were covered with pegboards, hooks, dirt-stained carpet and another casket style box with strands of human hair inside.
Once at the police station Henley confessed that he and Brooks had helped torture and murder 6 of Corll’s victims but that they never took part in sexually assaulting the boys. Henley tells police that he can take them to a “warehouse of bodies” where police found 17 bodies.
The next day Brooks goes to the police station with his father and gives a similar story to the one they got from Henley. Then Henley and Brooks take police to a fishing cabin where authorities find 6 more bodies in and around the property. The boys then take police to High Island Beach where authorities find another 6 bodies.
In total authorities discover 27 bodies but they suspect there are a lot more they haven’t found yet. The victims they found were Jeffrey Konen, Danny Yates, James Glass, Jerry Waldrop and his brother Donald Waldrop, Randell Harvey, David Hilligiest, Gregory Malley Winkle, Ruben Watson, Willard ‘Rusty’ Branch Jr., Frank Aguirre, Mark Scott, Johnny Delone, Billy Baulch, Steven Sickman, Wally Jay Simoneaux, Richard Hembree, Richard Kepner, Joseph Lyles, Billy Ray Lawrence, Ray Blackburn, Homer Garcia, John Sellars, Michael ‘Tony’ Baulch, Marty Jones, Charles Cary Cobble and James Dreymala.
Henley stood trial on July 1st, 1973 for the murders of Charles Cobble, Marty Jones, Frank Aguirre, Johnny Delome, Billy Lawrence and Homer Garcia. He was found guilty and sentenced to six life terms.
Brooks was originally indicted for 4 murders but ended up only being charged with the murder of Billy Lawrence. He was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years. Brooks died in May of 2020, after contracting COVID-19.