Henry Lee Lucas was an American serial killer most known for falsely confessing to over 600 murders, earning the moniker ‘The Confession Killer’. Despite his prolific claimed body count, criminologist credit Lucas for killing at least (confirmed) victims, including his own mother, Viola Lucas. Lucas received the death penalty, but Texas Governor George W. Bush changed the sentence to life in prison. Lucas died in his cell on March 12, 2001 of natural causes.
Little Henry Lucas spent most of his childhood nights sleeping on mounds of dirt and chicken excrement in the family’s chicken coop. Henry popped out of his worn-out mother on August 23, 1936. He was disdained and unwanted, one of thirty something kids born into the squalor existence.
At 50, his mother, Viola Lucas, still worked as the town’s cheapest prostitute. Henry Lee Lucas was her last child born.
Henry’s father, a paraplegic alcoholic, would push himself around in a wheelchair with the help of a broken broomstick, occasionally whacking anyone who came too close. The father’s somewhat comical reality was of his own doing, once working as a railroad man, but his excessive drinking led him to sleep on the tracks, one morning waking up with two severed legs.
As a teenager, his peers, his family, his teachers, and even the entire town of Blacksburg, Virginia ostracized Henry Lucas.
As there wasn’t enough food for Henry, that or his mother refused to feed him, he would gnaw on the lead-based painted wood inside his chicken coop. The result brought the manifestation of many poison-related ailments such as lead and cadmium poisoning. The cadmium poisoning being from the chicken droppings, which he may have been eaten as a child.
All through his life those unfortunate enough to know Henry Lucas often complained about his stringent smell, which seeped from his filthy pores. Sitting by an open window only worked for a short time, and eventually fresh Virginia air couldn’t cover up the disgusting odor.
After faculty demanded his mother to wash her son, Henry saw the complete hatred that she had for him. Viola dragged her smelly boy down to the local creek, stripped him, and held his head underwater.
The next day, Viola forced Henry into a woman’s dress as he sat in class. He was bullied and sobbed while running back home.
Viola loved emasculating both her worthless husband and her burdensome son. Both father and son got front row seats as Viola sexually serviced her clients. Sometimes she would make her son wear a dress and force him to watch up-close as the random man pushes inside of her. Henry’s father tried his best to imagine himself in a happier place, but soon Viola took away his booze, and began planning his escape.
His plan worked.
It was in the wee hours and in the winter of 1949 when the crippled man pushed open the screen door with his broken broomstick. He no longer had a need for his wheelchair since now he only needed to crawl fifty feet in the snow. Just far enough so he couldn’t be seen, at least until the next morning when he was found by some of the Lucas boys. He never regained conciseness.
The constant sights and sounds of his mother’s flesh being pounded surely distorted any view of consensual sex that Henry may have once had.
Henry had his first sexual experience when he was 14-years-old, but not with a girl, but rather on small animals, such as squirrels and rabbits. The horny teen figured out that his best orgasm came right after slitting the varmints throat and having the creature buck around.
On his first date, with a girl in his class, Henry gave her an ultimatum to either have sex with him, or else. His date refused, so Henry had to figure out what “or else” meant. He wrapped his fingers around her throat and squeezed.
Henry didn’t mind killing the girl, although that’s not where his satisfaction came from, but in having sex with her still warm corpse in the backseat of his car. This girl remains unknown, most likely carried off by the Virginia mountain critters.
It is important to note that Henry Lee Lucas preferred his women dead rather than alive, and although he occasionally has sex with men, especially Ottis Toole, he is not a homosexual as Toole wished him to be.
Henry Lee Lucas derived his pleasure from sexual intercourse (rape) and not the killing, which is unlike his crime partner Ottis Toole, who preferred the act of killing over anything else.
When word got around to Henry’s tyrannical mother about his marriage to his prison pen pal, a “repulsive” woman named Stella, she hopped the first bus to Michigan.
Viola was determined to kill the little slut trying to snatch away her youngest child. Not that Viola Lucas gave any shit about her son Henry, but now pushing 60-years-old, and with a dwindling prostitution business, she was desperate for a man, even a weak-willed one like Henry Lucas, to provide for her.
In the book Trust Me, by true crime author Ryan Green, there is an entertaining dialogue between mother, son, and son’s future wife. As Viola shouts at her son, that “ain’t no woman ever going to marry you. Once they know what you are, ain’t nobody is ever going to love you.”
“Momma, please” “Please? I don’t remember you never saying please to me before. Don’t remember you saying please to none of them animals or them children you put your dirty little pecker into neither.”
Unfortunately, Henry’s future wife, although “repulsive”, runs out, unable to deal with the mother issues.
That night Henry stabbed his mother in the neck with his pocket knife, severing her artery. She bled out, drip by drip, until her old burlap skin was cold and stiff.
A judge sentenced Henry Lee Lucas to 40 years at Southern Michigan State Prison.
Henry despised himself for killing his own mother. Multiple times he tried, unsuccessfully, to take his own life, but they caught each time during the act.
He claimed to hear his mother’s voice talking to him, a result of his “schizoid delusions”.
Despite his 40-year sentence and the voices in his head, the system released him after ten years into his sentence due to prison overcrowding. Henry pleaded with the prison psychiatrist to let him remain a convict and even threatened to kill again as soon as they released him. “If you release me, I will leave a body on your doorstep,” they reported him as saying to his psychiatrist.
His pleas went unheeded, and on August 22, 1970, Henry Lee Lucas was a free man. Within 24 hours he would kill two women just miles from the prison walls. The identities of these two women remain unknown, if it even happened at all.
Out of prison, the homeless and constantly drunk Lucas would eat at a local Florida soup kitchen. It was here that Henry he met his lifelong partner standing directly behind him.
This odd couple, Ottis Toole stood 6 foot 8 inches, would be inseparable until they were both arrested for the multiple murders they committed together.
If you like this story, you may also like The Murdaugh Family Murders Are Getting Ridiculous